Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Long Rider Ghosts & Michelle's Bull Pen

Michelle greeted me with a friendly hello when I walked in the door at her tack shop I had wanted to visit for about the last 8 or so years! Finally, I made up my mind to commit to a visit.  Her website is cute right now... she has all things horse, her horses are her kids and amazing joyful countenance about her spirit!  Love to be able to stay with her by horse if given the chance on some ride sometime in the future - maybe Ok to FL re-ride???  Please visit often.  She is in the middle of an update at this web address..but is happy to help you with tack, etc. Click here to visit the info for her store

Michelle and I both are senior horse and Tennessee Walking Horse fans.   Her horse, Andy, passed at the remarkable age of 44!!!  She has an amazing picture of the two of them under saddle at the age of 39. 

I mentioned to her that I was "taking a 1000 mile ride by horse around the perimeter of Louisiana".  We got to chatting and there was the ghost...right there in front of me..verbally appearing from her mouth when she said, "A man who was riding across country came through here about 8 years ago". I said, "Do you remember his name?"  She said she couldnt' remember.  But one of her vendors....a young Mr. Adams said, "You know, someone stayed with my dad in Kentucky a long time ago and he had already ridden several thousands of mile up until he stopped by our house."  I said, "I reckon that would be Gene Glasscock".  The Second Ghost appears.

He makes a call to his dad, Jerry Adams - A Tenn Walker afficienado himself, and a few minutes later the phone rings back and it  was Gene. The elder Mr. Adams had been contacted by Gayle Gerber to stay with them on Gene's trek like she had done for him for so many times before that.

I said to the younger, "I know both of those people" and to Michelle, "If you can remember, let me know".

The ghosts of United States long riders are everywhere. You just never know when you will run into someone who has met up with one of "us".    I directed them to the Long Riders Guild and also to my sites so they could see others who have been in the saddle in this fashion.

The phone rings.  "Hmmm...505 area code.  I have no idea who that is!". I didn't answer it as I was on the other line...and listened to a subsequent message comes in,"Hi Megan, this is Phil Moore."  That's all I had to hear to call him back.  Phil and I missed each other in Oklahoma on our rides in 2009.  He was passing through Lawton on Sept 23rd, 2009. and I was in Blair, just 'up the road' that day on my first attempt.  We had a great chat (thank you Phil) and can't wait to follow his next adventure that makes my ride look like a block long! is his site. Please take a peek if you have a minute.  Phil plans to follow a Native American Trail of tears through MANY different states!  "Keep in touch".  Oh, I will Phil.  Thanks for the call.  Ghost number three disappears over the phone lines.

But when the last ghost appeared and I shed a tear.  The song on the radio was Ronnie Dunn's "Cost of Livin".   The Pensacola bay is about a mile long.  The old Interstate bridge  is now a footbridge.  The interstate bridge runs parallel to the old one where cyclists and pedestrians cross daily.  I take a peaceful look over the bay and through some humid fog I see an apparition of  a man walking on the bridge.  Very faintly, leading a horse perhaps a wagon.  I blinked to shake it free. "I got steel toes, a strong back,  I rarely call in sick.  I work weekends, a good truck"...

I realized that this ghost cannot technically be categorized as a long rider in some ways, but a hero in others.  The vision stuck in my head and Ernest Nunley's pass over this pedestrian bridge with his horses right around 2008 stared me in the face.  He called me that day as he was crossing, to wish me well and see how I was doing.  I called him friend.  He passed away three weeks ago in the middle of his wagon ride across the country.  

What I don’t know, I catch on real quick, I work weekends,If I have to..."

These ghosts of long riders are everywhere as a human testimony of a dedication to history, equestrian travel and a sense of individuality  that is inexplicable.  They are, not matter how long it has been, remembered.  No matter what they were to other people, past or present, no matter their behavior after the fact of their ride....for a brief moment, they were someone' s inspiration, someone's dream come try by horse and perhaps someone's sanity.  Maybe someone's reason to live, I dunno.  The mutual inspirational synergy between long rider and host is also unique.

This brings me great comfort with each ghost I run into.  

" Give you 40, And then some, Whatever it takes, Three dollars and change at the pump, Cost of livin’s high and goin’ up."

500 miles today in the space of 9 hours by car... whizzing by the landscape as though you can cross the country by interstate and never see a thing.

Thank you Long Riders past and present.... yep....the cost of living is high... and going up.. 

Thanks to CMT for allowing me to embed this video.

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