When I was about nine years old, one of my uncles had a serious heart attack and wasn’t expected to survive. My parents took me to the hospital to visit him and I was amazed at how terribly sick he looked. We had never really been close – I had a lot of uncles, and this one had a reputation for being volatile – but for some reason he looked slowly toward me and extracted a promise. “If I get out of this hospital,” he whispered, “will you get back on a horse?”
I had been thrown from a pony, and then stepped on by it, when I was four. I hadn’t been in a saddle since. Mind you, this was Mississippi-style riding: we got on and hung on. I had loved it. But that big bruise on my little leg had thrown me, too. It kept me from doing something I wanted to do.
My uncle survived. So I had to start riding again, nervously at first. I spent many hours at my grandmother’s farm with one cousin or another, riding as far as the horses would let us go, until they got hungry and headed for the barn.
My Uncle Bobby came to mind this morning as I was arguing with myself about getting back to writing here. Nothing dramatic, like being thrown from a pony, has happened. But I’ve been wondering for far too long if Cultureburg is the right thing – if it can ever have the impact I envision, or reach the people that I want it to reach. Time has clarified direction.
So, as of today: Tighten the cinch. Let’s ride.