Tuesday, October 11, 2011

End of the trail

When you read this I have come to the end of the trail, rode off into the last sunset, cashed in my chips, however you want to say it. I’m history … gone from this world.

I started writing this in August 2011 when I went from being on the liver transplant list, hopeful and waiting for that phone call, to the doctor telling me the cancer had come back big time. They told me the transplant was no longer an option and said, “You should get your ducks lined up, boy.”

Well, I am prepared for when the end of the trail comes and when it forks, I’m taking the high road. I have always wondered what was over the next hill. Now I’m going up the biggest hill and I won’t need any brakes as I won’t be going down the other side.

As you would imagine, I have been a lot closer to God the last couple years. I have been a believer for a long time. How could one not be after roaming around this country for 68-plus years, 45 of them in a truck admiring God’s handiwork? I believe Christ died on the cross for all, and my sins were forgiven. I think about an old song recorded by the Carter family called “Fifty Miles of Elbow Room.” What I take away from it is – if you don’t hit the gate to heaven dead center, there are 50 miles on either side. I hope so. A few of us who are not perfect could probably use a little wiggle room.

I’m going to miss family and friends, especially my wife Geri. We married in ‘74, but I will see her again plus all the others who will come along and those who have gone ahead.

I’ve had a good life, did what I was meant to do, be a trucker. Not to worry about me. I’ve been in hospitals – mostly for outpatient treatments, including the VA near my home in Lafayette, IN, and Riley Children’s Hospitals – and I would have to be blind not to see people worse off than me. I’ve even had a retirement gig writing for Land Line Magazine using a talent (so they tell me) that I didn’t know I had. God given is the only explanation and it’s been a joy.

A few regrets, mostly not completing my “bucket list.” Geri for years has wanted to go to the Holy Lands. I wouldn’t because I was afraid of flying over there with all the unrest in those countries. I regret it now.

Another on this list was getting a 30-day Amtrak pass so I could be bored and visit friends around the country. I also wanted to go down the Grapevine on a skateboard.

Recapping a lifetime in a blog is impossible, so by the time you read this I’ll be swapping stories of life on Earth and have eternity to do it.

We are all travelers on this Earth, passing from one eternity to the next, from the sweet grass to the packing house. So, for now, so long.

Bob Martin aka “Cowpoke”

Editor’s note: Cowpoke passed away on Tuesday, Oct. 11. Bob’s closing lines were from a TV miniseries called “Broken Trail” starring Robert Duvall as Prentice Ritter.