Throwing My Loop…
By: Michael Johnson
AN OLD FAMILIAR TUNE
It is now. An old familiar
tune, I mean. For the longest time, I couldn't hear it
'cause I didn't know it was there or where to look. Like
that old Don Williams song, I suppose - wasted a lot of time
looking in all the wrong places. Now, it seems I hear it
everywhere I go. It's all in the listening and watching, you
know – knowing what to listen for. Been looking for it so
long. Haunts me – “What makes us rise? What helps us? How do
you reach the kid? How do you reach the horse?” And so many
times, I've wondered about my obsession with that. What was
it in me that made me look so hard? Now I know...'cause when
I started finding it – knowing what to listen for – the
music was just so sweet. So sweet sometimes it made your
I saw the young fellow the other day – standing in the
parking lot of the local Feed and Seed surrounded by kids,
all of whom were waiting to sign up for the dummy roping.
The store was having one of those customer appreciation days
with burgers and games. I waited for a time, then approached
him during a break. “Do you go to school here?” I asked.
“No sir,” he said, offering his hand and a smile. “I
graduated from Oklahoma State a few years ago. I'm a
salesman. I have the Mid-South Region, and I mostly make
“How did you get in this business?” I asked. I always
ask that of every salesman I meet. I'm fascinated with
salesmen. You can learn so much from them...even the young
“Certainly because of my degree in Ag from OSU,” he
said, “but mainly because of one class. I took this class
called Ag Sales, and it changed my life.” (I heard a few
“And what did you do in Ag Sales that was so helpful?”
“The class had a good deal of information,” he said,
“but it was the teacher, Dr. Kim Anderson, who made such a
difference.” (Now all the band was warming up.)
“Tell me about that teacher,” I said.
“Just so many things,” he began. “I was a shy kid,
nervous and all that when I began, but this teacher – he
made the class enjoyable. He looked at us, called us by our
names, and seemed to have some kind of faith that we could
do well. He wasn't what you would call “easy,” but he could
make you want to do your homework. You just knew if you did
what he said, it would help you in life. As the year went
on, I felt myself 'coming out of my shell' so to speak. I
became more comfortable giving presentations. I guess you
might say he helped me 'open up,' and believe in myself. I
began to see what sales was really all about – it's not so
much about 'selling' people things as it is helping others
get what they want and need. My confidence grew and next
thing you know, here I am traveling all over the southern U.
S. earning my daily bread doing what I love.”
As I sat there in that sunny parking lot, I could
hardly hear that young man sharing his story...because the
band was in full swing now - playing that same old tune I've
heard so many times. That same tune special teachers in my
life played for me.
Here are some of the notes...
“Here's what we are going do now,” they say. Next thing
you know – because they believe in you - you're doing it.
They are always glad to see you. Teachers who don't
know the tune never see you at all.
They are not easy – but they can create a desire in you
to do the work, because you know the work will help you.
Some play for humans, some for horses, and some for
working dogs. But they are all playing the same song. Their
music convinces us that we can.
Maybe I was a little harsh when I said earlier I was
looking for it in all the wrong places.
Maybe I should have read Freud and Jung and all those
others when searching for what really helps us, but how I
wish I had listened for the music earlier in life. That song
I hear when someone starts to tell me what changed their
life. It's always the same story about...
Someone who included them.
Someone who liked them.
Someone who believed in them.
Someone who took the time to work with them.
Someone who caused them to feel differently about
Someone who made them more.
At least after all these years, I hear it now. Every
time I ask some person, “How did you get here? How did you
get all this?” the band starts to play. And such sweet music
Now I hear it everywhere I go.
-- Michael Johnson
Sharon and Rowdy