Slice of Life Day 8 of 31: Journeys (my theme for March)
On February 22, 2022 when I returned from Texas Hill Country, I set out for the San Antonio Rodeo. This event held a wonderful new adventure – one that brought back rich memories of my children’s childhood horses and our experiences going on camping trail rides with their grandparents.
Growing up, my children loved camping along the Buffalo River in Tennessee, where the campground offered daily trail rides. Before our third child, Ansley, was born, our son Marshall and daughter Mallory would go out on long, hot days of trail riding with their grandparents – Mallory on her horse Sugarfoot and Marshall on Slick, and come back for kids’ barrel racing and pole racing in the evenings after taking a cooling afternoon dip in the river. One afternoon, their grandfather killed a huge rattlesnake and a fellow camper grilled it and offered rattlesnake tasting. We politely declined. Those days, so long ago, came rushing back as I watched the Xtreme Bullriding events at the AT&T Center Stadium.
These young adult men were mostly second and third generation cowboys well-trained in the ways of overtly flirting with belligerent bulls and then managing somehow to avoid the consequences of that kind of danger. Just watching them get their hands roped down tightly to an angry bull and then slung around like a rag doll brought my recent Epsom salt bath to mind to numb the phantom pain I felt for the riders. And the longer I watched, I concluded they’d need some straight shots of whiskey for what they’d be dealing with the next day.
I thought of my son, particularly, when the Mullet cam started panning the stadium and Achy, Breaky Heart began to play. I thought he’d been joking when we were visiting in January and he’d told us that mullets were coming back in style and that he was growing one. But he was serious, and I wished he had been sitting with me to stand to the crowd’s wild applause for all the guys all sporting mullets underneath their cowboy hats. These guys are serious about their hair!
Since the event center did not allow cameras with detachable lenses, I managed to fully recharge my cell phone between Hill Country and the rodeo and concert and to conserve just enough power to get an Uber back to the VRBO in Blue Star at the end of the evening, following the rodeo and the Three Doors Down concert. I prayed so hard that I would feel safe as a solo female traveler alone at night, and the good Lord answered by sending Richard, who’d graduated high school in 1978 and who talked music from the good old days all the way back – from Pat Benatar to Earth, Wind, and Fire, Styx, Boston, Kansas, the Commodores, and the Atlanta Rhythm Section. I can’t explain it, but I felt less likely to be murdered with an ax and dismembered by someone who had just sheepishly confessed he’d taken his wife to a Barry Manilow concert the previous decade.
I said a prayer of gratitude when I locked my deadbolt and headed to bed – happy to be back in my VRBO home safely. I counted my blessings for another day of travel and fun as I made new memories.
Job 39: 19-25
Are you the one who gave the his prowess and adorned him with a shimmering mane? Did you create him to prance proudly and strike terror with his royal snorts? He paws the ground fiercely, eager and spirited, then charges into the fray. He laughs at danger, fearless, doesn’t shy away…He quivers with excitement, and at the trumpet blast races off at a gallop.”