Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Most of even our tiniest towns have at least one comfortable bench where a weary traveler may sit down and rest. And where the local old-timers can gather and talk over all of the current events including all local, county, state, national, and international happenings.
Such benches are often located in a shaded, park area. Other times we may find them right on the sidewalk of the town’s main street. And just outside the front door of a local pharmacy, restaurant, pool hall, or tavern. When the older natives gather at the bench, we can often benefit from some of their high-level conversation. We can glean a lot of their hard-earned knowledge and wisdom, provided we can winnow the chaff from the facts. We may find that many of their old tales have been altered and contaminated by years of retelling and by dimming memories. Also deliberately distorted by exaggeration, politics, religion, prejudice, good humor, and/or just plain orneriness. Also the love of being able to tell and get away with a good lie now and then.


The old cowboy sat and whittled
On a stick of soft white pine.
He said, “Though the world’s changed, your life
Will be much the same as mine.

“You will wake up lots of mornings
Kind of dreading the new day,
But it’s best to face up to it.
Don’t let time just waste away.

“When you go to work, remember
You’re not a boy, but a man –
Know exactly what’s required, then
Do the best job that you can.

“Don’t just shy away from troubles
Or new problems that you fear.
You will have to face them sometime,
Such things don’t just disappear.

“If you ask for my advice, Son,
This is what I have to say,
There just ain’t no substitute for
Doing today’s tasks today.

“Life’s like a badly spoiled bronco
When it hits its bucking stride.
We really don’t have much choice but
To just hang right on and ride.

“Whether we’re alive and kicking
Won’t concern the world a lot.
It will keep right on a-spinning
Whether we’re aboard or not.

“Now, when you’re dealing with others –
The Good Book says what to do –
Treat folks to the honest kindness
You would like them to show you.

“Never put too much importance
On just who you think you are.
“Sure, you’re no pro football player
And no famous movie star.

“But don’t ever get discouraged
By your lack of strength or size.
Focus on the whole picture, not
You, as seen through your own eyes.

“Avoid things foolish and stupid
As you travel down life’s way.
Mix your work and progress with a
Bit of pleasure every day.

“You can’t hide behind a bottle –
I’ve tried that out and I know –
Problems wait around to greet you
When you’ve lost that rosy glow.

“The next morning, when you’re sober,
Those troubles still lie ahead.
it ain’t easy coping with life
When you have an aching head.

“Of things I tell you, this may be
The most important of all –
Mountains have been moved by the faith
Of folks who were weak and small.

“Oh, sure, you’ll feel unimportant,
At times, in this wide world’s scheme,
But you can make a real difference
If you hang on to your dream.

“Live so that one day you’ll look back
On these bygone days, and smile
At a lifetime filled with living –
One that’s really been worthwhile.