Happy Trails, Mr. Jimmy Bill Buffett.

preview-image This is Barbara's horse, but the spirit of this picture reminds me of my horse, Mr. Jimmy Bill Buffett. He died this winter. I haven't had the courage to tell hardly anyone - simply because it doesn't feel real, or like anyone would really understand in New Jersey. Truth is, though, I knew if I did, I'd just start slobbering and I do enough of that as it is. The day my dad died, nobody knew at work. I was 17 and he was in his early 50's. His heart gave out on a Brooklyn street playing with an orphan that he was taking to the Norwegian Christian Home, an orphanage. I was up all night, and went to my waitressing job at the ice cream shoppe the next day. I remained composed the whole time because nobody knew. Then my friend Hank walked in. His father had died that year, and he showed compassion toward me by saying with genuine concern, "Oh Linda, I'm so deeply sorry to hear about your dad." I lost it. I'm even losing it now as I type this. There's something so powerful about authentic kindness, isn't there?

I sure do miss my dad, and I miss Jimmy Bill too. Jimmy Bill carried me through some very hard times. Happy Trails, Jimmy Bill. Thank you for making my life so much richer. This poem by cowboy poet, Jay Snider, says it well.

Some are blessed with tranquil passing
While others met a tragic end
Truth is, it's never easy
When you've lost a trusted friend

As horses go, it's sometimes told
In simple words that cowboys use
He darn sure was a good one
He’s the kind you hate to lose

He’s the kind you'd ride the river with
Roam the canyons and the breaks
In rough country and wild cattle
He’d be the one you’d take

His efforts weren’t ruled by stature
With him you’d finish what you’d start
His limits were governed only
By the dimension of his heart 

His expectations were simple
Merely fairness from a friend
But when he’d feel the need to run
Don't try to fence him in 

Pure poetry in motion
As across the plains he’d fly
A tried and true compadre
In a seasoned cowboy’s eye

His courage was unmatched by mortal men
From conquistadors to kings
Cowboys sing his praises
At roundups in the spring 

Ain’t it strange how thoughts of horses lost
Mirror those of men passed on
And though they’ve gone to glory
Their spirit’s never gone 

Sometimes simple words seem best
When final words we choose
He darn sure was a good one
He’s the kind you hate to lose

© 2004 Jay Snider   All rights reserved