I guess one of my favorite musical groups is, and has always been, “the sons of the pioneers.”
They sang the good ol’ cowboy songs,with voices that had the bitter-sweet echoes of days gone by, of the open range, the sweet mountain wildflowers, and the cattle and horses.
Those songs are a balm to my soul.
Those men have kept an agrarian culture and lifestyle preserved for an over populated, fenced in, mechanized, and even frenetic modern world.
Then, this morning, as I was cleaning a cast iron skillet, I realized that the method that I was using was taught to me by a “daughter of a pioneer.”
Theo Richardson, a mother, an artist, a business owner, and a horse-woman, was the daughter of a tough “pine-knot” of a Mississippi farmer, mule skinner, named Earl Richardson, who was indeed a pioneer.
I learned many lessons from Theo. One of those lessons was self preservation, when she asked me during a period of “burnout” “Haven’t you paid your dues?”
I began right then to understand the importance of taking time with my family and taking time for myself.
She had preserved a culture of mental toughness from the same generation as the pioneer western musical group.
I owe great heartfelt gratitude to my dear friend and mentor Theo.
We lost her this year, but her spirit, her tough love, and her teachings live on in us her students. Her puckish smile and her penetrating views of reality tempered by a wonderfully unexpected twist of humor will always be in my thoughts.