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