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A Bio…of Sorts

It’s good. Not fitting in a box. Or at least I think it is, but I’ve never actually had much experience with the alternative. I mean the kind of box that you find on a paper form, not like a container. I know I definitely would not like being in a container…

Growing up and through college, every conversation involving some bureaucrat and a piece of paper went something like this:

FORM:

“Street Address?”

ME:

“Rural Route 1
Box 444
Alpine, Texas 79830”

BUREAUCRAT:

“I’m sorry. We only accept physical addresses.”

ME:

“That is my physical address.”

BUREAUCRAT:

“You live in Alpine?”

ME:

“No. Alpine is 70 miles from my house.”

BUREAUCRAT:

“What town is closest to your house?”

ME:

“Marathon.”

BUREAUCRAT:

“What street do you live on in Marathon?”

ME:

“Marathon is 35 miles from my house. I don’t live in Marathon.”

BUREAUCRAT:

“Well, what is the name of the street you live on in Marathon?”

ME:

“I don’t live on a street. I live on a gravel road with no name on private property.”

BUREAUCRAT:

“Well, what is the closest street address to you?”

ME:

“Rural Route 1
Box 444
Alpine, Texas 79830”

BUREAUCRAT (eyes rolling):

“Just fill this form out the best you can….”

And moving on…

FORM:

“What high school did you graduate from?”

ME:

“University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska”

BUREAUCRAT:

“I’m sorry, we need your high school, not college.”

Me:

“That’s where my high school diploma is issued from. I was homeschooled. It was a correspondence program. I did not live close enough to a school to attend.”

BUREAUCRAT:

” Someone call 911- I think I’m having a heart attack!”

No fooling. That is the way it has always been. I slay bureaucrats by my mere existence. It’s not intentional. It’s not even my fault! I guess the culpability for the problem lies with my grandfather.
Sometime around 1960 he loaned a fella some money. The collateral was just under 40, 000 acres of rocks 18 miles north of the Rio Grande River in the Big Bend of Texas. The fella skated on the debt and my family ended up with a pile of rocks and greasewood. That’s where I grew up.

My parents devised various versions of education for us until we matriculated and exasperated the bureaucrats into allowing us college entrance. In high school I excelled at starting colts, fixing leaking pipelines and was a star on the mountain lion trapping team. Try putting that on a scholarship application…NOT!
I did manage to get a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Communications from Texas Tech University with only two box-defying transfers-one involving dual credit hours from high school and the other a case of sophomore wanderlust and a Rocky Mountain sabbatical at the University of Montana.

After Tech, I moved to Alpine and actually lived lived on a street with a street address while I completed a Master’s degree with research in equine locomotion, equine nutrition and histology of the equine digital cushion.

I’ve had a few “in-the-box jobs. I worked in the Texas House of Representatives clerking for a committee and as a legislative aide. I worked in a vet clinic. I designed equine textiles for a private label company manufacturing horse products in the Pacific Rim. I taught ninth and tenth grade science in our local high school and managed a welding company, but mostly I’ve made an “out-of-the-box” living of some kind or another with horses.

Jumping horses, eventing horses, dressage horses, ranch horses, polo horses, endurance horses…Chris Ledoux described my thoughts on them pretty well when he sang:

Well I owe everything that I’ve got the the Lord he’s delt me a mighty good hand
And I owe a lotta people in a lot of different ways for making me what I am
But the one thing that I’m most thankful for I guess it was a stroke of good luck
Is when the Lord looked down on this great big world and made those horses that buck

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