LESSON FROM THE DUKE

“Courage is being scared to death…and saddling up anyway.”

 John Wayne, actor

 

Once upon a time The Ohio State Football team had a mammoth player called, The Pancake.” he was given that title because everything that got in his way ended up, you guessed it, “Flat as a pancake.”

Since time began, all great philosophers have come to the same conclusion, “No matter how flat you make a pancake, it still has two sides.”

Those great philosophers also agree it doesn’t matter how tall you are, how much money you have in the bank, who your friends are, where you went to school, or what kind of car you drive –  without a trace of discrimination, life will pull your name out of the hat and squash you and your dreams – “Flat as a pancake.” It’s part of the trade-off for life on this planet.

Your “Pancake Experience” may come in the form of an accident, illness, financial setback, broken relationship, drug addiction or war. It could be all the above or a whole lot more. The point is, it will happen. When it does, remember those great philosophers, “A pancake always has two sides.”

You can flip it to whichever side you choose. The spatula is in your hand. You can make the experience work for you. It can make you smarter and stronger. Your other choice is to let that same experience make you bitter, angry, and even flatter.

Enter John Wayne known as “The Duke.” With the magic of video, he rides on. Forty years after his death, you’ll still find his name on the list of favorite actors. He was tough. His image is often the yardstick used to measure manhood. On my first day of boot camp in the Marines, the platoon lined up to meet our drill instructors.

“How many John Waynes do we have here?” Gunnery Sergeant Newman wanted to know. “We want more John Waynes not Gomer Pyles.”

The Searchers is one of favorite films staring John Wayne. In one scene, “The Duke” offers some sage advice. His family has been killed by Indians. At the funeral, the preacher drones on and on. John Wayne, ready to go after the Indians, interrupts the service with these immortal words, “Put an amen to it.”

Then he rides off to fight the good fight. That’s the lesson. “Put an amen to it.” “Amen to what?” you say.

Remember that pancake experience. You’re hurt. You’re lonely. You’re sick. You’re tired. You’re broken. That’s okay. Be those things. Grief is important. Don’t deny it. That side of the pancake has to cook too. Would you sit down to a breakfast of pancakes that had only been cooked on one side? My guess is no.

There is a time to cry. There is also a time to flip the pancake. “Put an amen to the hurt.”

Life is waiting. Saddle up your horse. Fight the good fight.

 

Visit me at www.buddybloomwildflower.com

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FIND IT AND USE IT

“If you are not doing what you love, you are wasting your time.”

 Billy Joel, musician

 

Guess who I car pooled with this week?

Waylon Jennings.

Yes, I know he passed away in 2002.

By way of “Books on Tape” Waylon told me his life story.

I heard about his friendship with the legendary rock and roller, Buddy Holly. I heard about his problems with drugs and the dark days in Nashville when he was searching for acceptance. I heard about the poverty of his early years and of love lost and love found. He also told me about the cotton fields of Littlefield, Texas.

His whole family had to pull cotton. The work started at four in the morning. It was hot. It was dirty.

It was three-quarters of a mile down the row to get a drink of water. Hunched over, gnats in his eyes, dodging snakes, back aching – he hated it. But it was in that cotton field that Waylon Jennings’s star began to rise.

“You know there is nothing I’ve ever heard in my life as mournful as the whistle of an old freight train in the distance when you’re kneeling down in a field. It sounds like death.

Now I’d be in the cotton patch, dragging a 12 foot sack about half full, kicking dirt clods in there to make it weigh more and I’d hear that lonesome old howl. It goes right through you. I was sure that train was on its way to somewhere and I wasn’t on it. I knew there was a better way somewhere. I didn’t know where, but all I had to do was go looking for it. The last time I was pulling cotton, I was 16. I said, ‘I didn’t plant this shit and I ain’t gonna pull it up no more.’ And I quit. I left that sack right in that field. It may be there to this day as far as I know.”  – Waylon Jennings (Time-Warner Audio 1998)

Did success come to Waylon Jennings the same day he left the cotton field?

No, and not the next day either. Leaving that bag lying in the field and walking away was only the beginning. He worked a lot of jobs. He made mistakes. He moved on. He followed his dream. It was not an easy road but he knew it was the right road. In time, his records found their way to the top of the charts. He was a success. He was a star. He was a country music legend.

If you’re happy pulling cotton, shining shoes, or making doughnuts – by all means keep at it.

If you feel there is something else, the world is waiting. Better throw down that cotton sack and get at it.

Listen to your heart.

Find that gift.

Use It.

 

 Visit me at www.buddybloomwildflower.com