Streamline - Spring 2012 - (Page 34)
BY MICHAEL JOHNSON
Be Not Afraid!
BACKING INTO THE box, I fought my nerves, and they were winning. Over to my right, sat my friend and great heeler, Bronc. Try as I might to keep him quiet, Self One barked inside me. “Okay, don’t screw this up. Get out clean, ride your horse, get to the spot, throw it, get the dally, don’t go too fast, but don’t be slow…”
“Hey, Hey!” said Self-Two. “Hold on. How many instructions are you going to give me? This little below average I.Q. can only handle so much input.” “Okay, okay,” said the devil on my shoulder. “The guys on the chute are looking at you. You can’t take all day.” We had roped all the steers the night before, and they could run. I’m on my fastest horse, prepared for every conceivable problem. I nodded for the steer. The gate opened, and he came out like greased lightning…if greased lightning could trot. Shine jumped on top of him like a starved coyote who just spotted a sick chicken on the side of the highway. Prepared for every possible situation, it just never occurred to me that there is always a chance that sometimes things can go perfectly. Because I was afraid of all the things that might go wrong…I missed him. I’ve been thinking lately that sometimes a bit of cynicism creeps in when writing about my education. I don’t intend for that to be so, but if I’m honest with myself, there is some disappointment there. It all began in 1965… I remember sitting with my Daddy at the kitchen table in that little house I grew up in – the one that gave birth to all the memories that swirl around and through me now. After a few false starts, I had informed my father that I had seen the light, and was ready to go to school. His lack of formal education had led to a lifetime of blue collar hard work as a heavy equipment operator, and like all men of their generation, he lived in hope that his son would have something better. He was delighted as we sat at that table reading through all the course offerings listed in the college catalog. “College is the key to success,” he said using the line that all our mothers and fathers used
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in those days, and as he thumbed through the pages, he added, “…college teaches you how to be successful.” “What should I take?” I asked. “Well, let’s see,” he said adjusting his reading glasses. “There are so many choices, but I’m thinking…” and as he continued to look, finally shook his head, and said, “That’s strange.” “What?” I asked. “All these courses, English and Math, Science and History, Chemistry and Biology, Psychology and Sociology, and yet…” “What? What?” I asked. “There’s not a single college course about how to be successful.” I’ve thought about that night and that conversation countless times. Even though my father never lost his faith that I should attend the university, he was always puzzled about the lack of any mention in that catalog regarding “how to be successful.” Yet that’s what every parent wants for their child. Did you ever hear of any parent dropping their child off at school, and saying, “Okay, now go in there and make F’s!” No, you didn’t, did you. We all want our children to do well, and we assume higher education will help that come about. We not only want and expect that for our children, but ourselves as well. We too attend college, sometimes later in life, and have no doubt that “they” will teach us the ways, means and methods to become more and do better. And to some extent perhaps they do. I still have great fondness for so many of my professors, and for the most part, they were kind, caring Christian people who tried their best. It’s just that now as I grow older sitting at the north end of my barn in the cool of the evening watching the steers, horses, dogs and cats have their supper… something haunts me. And that something is – I
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Streamline - Spring 2012
From the President
From the Executive Director
Where is Virginia’s Groundwater?
Basic Management Skills
Planning or Piecemeal?
CPEs and YOU
The Sludge Bag
Fracking Rapidly Becoming Unpopular
Amazing We All Learned English!
Springtime Safety – Outdoor Hazards
Spotlight on Western Virginia Water Authority’s Blue Ridge Brawler
VRWA’S 24th Annual Exposition Agenda
Throwing My Loop
Do You Know What Your VRWA Benefi ts Are?
Rural Water Review
Welcoming New Members
Board Of Directors
Index To Advertisers/Ad.Com
Streamline - Spring 2012