Sunday, December 21, 2008

Ghosts of Christmas Past

Was at the HEB the other evening waiting to check out. The store was uber crowded because it was cold with possible freezing precipitation in the forecast and down here if the weather even looks questionable everyone runs to the store to stock up on food enough to last them thru the next Ice Age.

There was a young man in line in front of me and we struck up a conversation. He had one item, I had four and the line was slloow. After going over every other topic, I asked him if he rodeoed. Us cowboys got an innate sense of each other. Just like in poker, rodeo cowboys got “tells”, too. He said he had, and I guessed (correctly) that he was a roper.

Having something in common with each other we opened up a little bit more and he ventured that his family used to have a Western Store out on the old highway. I asked him if it was Koonsman’s and he said: “Yes, it was.” His Grandad was Rudy Koonsman who died about 6 years back. He was wearing his Grandad’s ring. I remember Rudy well, used to buy clothes and hats from him, ran with his son Tommy Koonsman (a trick rider who with his mother Mary billed themselves as the Comanche Fireballs) and considered them friends. The young man was not 21 years old but said he wished he could have known his Uncle Tommy. You see, his Uncle Tommy died of cancer sometime in the late 60’s or early 70’s at a very young age, not more than his early twenties, long before this young man was born.

Later it got me to thinking about that time close to 40 years ago when I cowboyed and ran with others of the ilk. The next noonday I was at the Post Office and bumped into another friend, whose Dad also had a Western Store, where I could occasionally be found. We also talked about the good old days and people long since passed. The day after that a friend from High School & College who I hadn’t seen in ten or so years dropped by the office.

Don’t know exactly what I’m supposed to take from these "ghosts of yore"; but possibly, like the first apparition who visited Scrooge, that trip down memory lane was for me to recollect the carefree times of long ago and maybe realize not to take life too seriously. That’s a tough thing to accomplish. As time goes on, we get caught up in an accumulation of responsibility towards others and it’s hard to cut loose and be that carefree person we were created to be; comfortable being only ourselves, and going with the flow instead of molding ourselves into another’s perception of what we are supposed to be or even what we have caused ourselves to be turned into rather than who we were created to be.

I think it’s about time I slowly reread Charles Dickens immortal Christmas Carol.

Y’all have a Happy Holyday Season, ‘ya hear?