Your Number

When I was a teenage cowboy wannabe (instead of a middle age cowboy wannabe) the old rascals I used to hang out with would share their “wisdom” with me.

Picture a scrawny leather faced hossman sitting cross legged with one skinny leg dangling down with the pants cuff turned up being used for an ashtray. He tapped ash off his hand rolled Bull Durham into his cuff, and took a deep breath, and pontificated:

“ya cain’t kill a man til his number’s up! Hit don’t matter if’n yore a’ Layin’ up in yer bedroll, er forkin’ a green eyed owl headed bronc. When yer number’s up the Boss is gonna call you home!”

Well, now we hear about folk rushing the beat. One that passed from us this week was a man I admired much, Anthony Bourdain.

They say he took his own life. I was really sad to hear it. But I am also dumbfounded. Partly because I’m way too chicken to do myself in.

It’d probably fail, anyway. Then I’d be a cripple, even more than I am.

But, we’ve lost a guy who tried to stitch a torn world back together with food and drink.

His medium was TV and he was so genuine and straightforward. He went to “parts unknown” places we rarely hear about.

Some of his destinations were those that we call “enemies”. He ate their ethnic food, and drank with them, and recorded their stories.

He opened our minds, and our hearts. We saw ourselves in people we may not have otherwise known even existed.

I can see his smile and hear his narrative even now. Even though I never knew him personally, I felt like he was a friend. Warts and all, he just put himself out there like he was.

I feel like we need more of him. But he’s gone. His example can live on, however, because we can look at others the way he did.

Like my mamma said “we’re all just folks, more alike than different.” Anthony showed us that. Thanks pard, adios!

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