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James: When luck is just luck

Tom James

Do you ever think about luck? Man I do. It’s always there, mashed somewhere between love, snuff, horses and coffee.

Good luck, bad luck, lot’s of luck, no luck, it seems there is no end.

After as careful a review of my life up to now, as a brain-damaged old cowboy can make, I’ve come to terms with bein’ damned lucky. I’ve heard it said “you make your own luck” and I won’t argue that, but there are those times when luck is just luck.

Like when the horse falls over on ya’ and the saddle horn unbuttons your shirt instead of crushing your chest or when the car in front of ya’ loses it on the ice and spins around to face you and at just the moment of impact it slides out of the way. Luck!

Many years ago I did a pull in the “Nervous Hospital” (I’ve softened it up a little because a friend told me “Insane Asylum” made him uncomfortable) and while there, I met some folks who had not been quite as lucky as me.

For whatever reason the universe sees fit, it had dealt these folks a mighty poor hand. Mental illness is a terrible thing, it robs those affected of life at its fullest, it robs the families of those affected many times of the love and companionship of a family member. The people affected don’t choose it, it’s just bad luck.

My diagnosis was

not mental illness but rampant stupidity. Treatable by a lifestyle change. That’s pretty damned lucky.

I try to keep my life as simple as I can but life is still life, ups and downs. At those times when I’m feelin’ a little “short changed” I’ve learned to look back at just how lucky I really am and be grateful for it.

As David Gilmour sings, “We’re just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl, year after year, running over the same old ground, what have we found? The same old fears, wish you were here.”

Tom James was riding horses before he could walk. He currently hangs his hat in Ignacio. Reach him at outlivedthemallsofar@gmail.com. The topknot, by the way, is the last knot tied on a pack saddle.

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