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Irons in the fire: ‘May We All’

Paul Marchant for Progressive Cattleman Published on 24 November 2017

Over the years, I’ve argued, debated, conversed and commiserated with my kids over myriad subjects and themes, ranging from the length of my daughters’ dresses and my sons’ ability to tuck a shirt in to presidential politics, the price of October fat cattle and serious social issues like racism and sexual violence.

Generally, we end up somewhere close to the same page. Occasionally, in the rare instance I might not have been 100 percent correct to begin with, I may even soften my stance and allow my opinion to evolve. Such has been the case, a time or two, in discussions about music and my offspring’s taste therein.

My youngest sons have musical taste that, I suppose, could best be described as eclectic. While they generally, instinctively, gravitate to the country genre, I’ve had to force myself to tolerantly listen to their defense of their musical and lyrical crushes on Eminem and Drake.

I mean, really – chocolate with a hard candy shell and a duck? I’ve also been less than impressed with their infatuation with some of the new age country acts. My irascible intolerance notwithstanding, I try to hear them out before I pass too harsh a judgment on their choices.

Such was the case when my 20-something son was recently gushing about a song by the country duo Florida Georgia Line. I’ve been to south Georgia, so I thought I’d give the ditty a chance. The song is called “May We All” and is based on the nostalgic reminiscing of the songwriters and their rural upbringing.

While the lyrics may be somewhat predictable in their magnification and celebration of the virtues of growing up and living in a small town, the song also deserves to be pondered for its deeper inspection of idyllic living.

To me, the value in the song isn’t from its praise of the good things gained from a life in the country but for its recognition of the hardships and disappointments that inevitably hit each one of us, regardless of our hometown or social status.

“May we all do a little bit better 
than the first time

Learn a little something 
from the worst times

Get a little stronger from the hurt times
May we all get to have a chance 
to ride the fast one

Walk away wiser when we crashed one
Keep hoping that the best one 
is the last one

Yeah you learn to fly and if you can’t then
you just free fall…

May we all…”

I like the “May we all” idea. I wish I could claim it as my own. I think it’s an idea worth perpetuating. I wouldn’t necessarily wish my life on anyone else – not because it’s been a bad life, but because it is uniquely fitted for me.

There have been, however, situations and events in my life, just as with anybody else who has graced this world with his or her presence, that have brought me joy or happiness or pain or misery or disappointment or peace of mind or just plain peace.

I can’t actually give my actual experiences or emotions to anyone, but I can wish for everyone they could gain the same rewards, satisfactions or defeats from their own respective experiences.

May we all:

  • Tag the first calf of the season while his mother blows snot down your neck.

  • Ride through the first few jumps on a green-broke colt without breaking an arm.

  • Finish the chores on Christmas morning before the kids wake up.

  • Smack your shin on the trailer hitch.

  • Gather a herd of surly cows in a blizzard.

  • Feel your newborn granddaughter’s hand grip your finger.

  • Watch your son score 25 against Raft River.

  • Feel the crush of disappointment when his brother doesn’t make the team.

  • Buy a bull at a bull sale.

  • Get a puppy that’s the pick of the litter out of “good working parents.”

  • Put down your favorite old dog.

  • Carry your daughter off the track when she’s too hurt to finish a race.

  • Get a call from the sheriff’s office when your cows are on the highway.

  • Smell rain on sagebrush.

  • Get the last bale in the stack before it rains.

  • Never miss a heel loop at the neighbor’s branding.

  • Regret an argument with your wife.

  • Pay too much for a horse.

  • Sell your calves at the top of the market.

  • Lose 25 percent of your calves to a scours epidemic.

  • Sprain an ankle.

  • Find the pliers you lost last summer.

  • Say I’m sorry.

  • Forgive someone who will never say it.

  • Do your best and win.

  • Do your best and lose.

Most of all, may we all know and feel someone loves you and cares for you, no matter how many times you succeed or how often you fail. And may we all do our best to share that feeling.

Merry Christmas.  end mark

Paul Marchant
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