I have been asked a million times – give or take a few – If I think that print magazines are a thing of the past. I always answer with an emphatic NO, and here is why..
It is no secret that this last year has been a challenging one for me. Well, if I were honest I would have have to admit that the last couple have been that way. Searching for answers to nagging health issues, trying to find my way in the church and in my career, adjusting to kids leaving the nest and on and on it goes. It seemed that things were only made worse by the state of the world itself…. well my world at least. Wondering if anyone really walked in integrity any more, or if that too had become one of the ‘heirloom arts’ that I love so much, too.. and if so, how do you save it? I wondered.
Finding myself retreating more and more inward, I struggled. For the first time in my life, writing didn’t seem to be my escape. How could it be that this time, writing didn’t fix what was wrong for me? Instead, I wanted to purge. So, I did. I began with the purging the collection of “stuff” I had crammed into my writing den – a 1967 Aladdin named Dusty. It is truly amazing how much “stuff” one can hide in there. She is 80 square feet of cowgirl charm and every little inch of her covered in leather and lace.
Box after box was dragged in and dropped on my living room floor so that I could go through it and sort it out, each item bringing back floods of memories of events or friends that have shared in my adventures and misadventures in the last five years. But even those precious memories couldn’t drown out the question that seemed to have consumed me – Where are the heroes?
I think of people like my grandpas who with a hand shake and their word made promises that they would never walk away from. Community leaders from my past who believed that being a public servant was just that… a servant-hood… not a stepping stone to whatever the ego was driving for. People in leadership that believed leadership was not just a “Do what I say, not what I do” premise.
I could sense my mind wondering, even crying out for answers as I went into automatic, cleaning out box after box. With piles of trinkets all around me, I pulled out a stack of magazines from an old apple crate that I used to stage Dusty at some of my sister on the fly events…..
Something about the stack grabbed me back… perhaps it was the cowboys on the front cover or maybe it was the word LEGENDS banner across the top that caught my eye. I am not really sure what broke through the fog of thoughts, but I spent the next few hours finding the answers I had been looking for.
Ever feel like you just couldn’t find the answers, only to discover that you had been looking in the wrong place. That was me on this particular day.
I have affectionately titled myself a “Cowgirl Interrupted.” Many of you know the story, born to a single mom who worked honky tonks, rescued by a family down the road who introduced me to horses – and it was love at first sight. Both with the horse and with the cowboy way of life.
There is a simplicity with cowboy living that works well for me. I am not particularly eager to engage in politics, although I can certainly hold my own and feel that it is my responsibility to be informed with things that I think affect me and or my family and community. I don’t do well at “mind games” or social games, or games in general. If you don’t want my opinion, it is best not to ask, as I don’t feel the need to change it based on who is doing the asking. And, when it comes to ‘horse thieving” or other such shenanigans, I just as soon strap them up, then to talk about it.
I love the honesty of a cowboy…whether their lives are perfect or not, they own their choices and I admire that. And, most cowboys that I know accept that there is a God, and even if their life doesn’t always reflect the church, they understand that there is a day of reckoning, and that knowledge guides their walk.
While I currently don’t have a horse of my own (something I am working on changing), nor do I live on the ranch – (something else I am working on)…. My heart longs to get back to it. I long for a life of simplistic-hardship. It isn’t an easy life I long for, but rather a more simplistic one where folks are just who they say they are, their actions tell you all that you need to know about them, and their code of conduct stands the test of time.
I was reminded on that day, sitting on my living room floor, pouring over the American Cowboy Magazines, that there is a world out there that still lives like this, I was just looking in the wrong places. I’ve known it. I attend all kinds of cowgirling events, cowboy gatherings, Cowboy church, and so one. But, I had gotten so caught up in suburbia that I couldn’t see the forest for the trees.
I have rediscovered that there is no need really to hold out for a hero, as they truly are everyone, once you refocus your lenses.
So no, I say emphatically one more time, I don’t think that print magazines are going anywhere, as they still sooth the soul in ways that electronic ones can’t. They are tangible reminders that the life we want is still within reach, it is just up to us to “rope it in.”