Saturday, February 06, 2016

Vern Woodbury...We'll miss you

A friend of mine went on his last ride today.  Vern was an incredible entertainer, both funny and serious.  He was a great father, husband and friend and will be missed.
Vern was won of the most popular members of the Cowboy Poets of Idaho and I was always happy to see him at any show.  I was thrilled that he was able to come to Townsend for a couple of our shows and I just wanted to post a video of his performance from a few years ago.
The following is a passage from a novel I've read a few times; John D. Macdonald's "Pale Gray For Guilt"  Since I first read this, I've always remembered it.  It's such a great analogy of our life on this earth.
     "Picture a very swift torrent, a river rushing down between rocky
walls. There is a long, shallow bar of sand and gravel that runs
right down the middle of the river. It is under water. You are born
and you have to sand on that narrow, submerged bar, where everyone
stands. The ones born before you, the ones older than you, are
upriver from you. The younger ones stand braced on the bar
downriver. And the whole long bar is slowly moving down that river of
time, washing away at the upstream end and building up downstream.

     Your time, the time of all your contemporaries, schoolmates, your
loves and your adversaries, is that part of the shifting bar on which
you stand. And it is crowded at first. You can see the way it thins
out, upstream from you. The old ones are washed away and their bodies
go swiftly by, like logs in the current. Downstream where the younger
ones stand thick, you can see them flounder, lose footing, wash away.
Always there is more room where you stand, but always the swift water
grows deeper, and you feel the shift of the sand and the gravel under
your feet as the river wears it away. Someone looking for a safer
place can nudge you off balance, and you are gone. Someone who has
stood beside you for a long time gives a forlorn cry and you reach to
catch their hand, but the fingertips slide away and they are gone.
There are the sounds in the rocky gorge, the roar of the water, the
shifting, gritty sound of sand and gravel underfoot, the forlorn cries
of despair as the nearby ones, and the ones upstream, are taken by
the current. Some old ones who stand on a good place, well braced,
understanding currents and balance, last a long time. A Churchill,
fat cigar atilt, sourly amused at his own endurance and, in the end,
indifferent to rivers and the rage of waters. Far downstream from you
are the thin, startled cries of the ones who never got planted, never
got set, never quite understood the message of the torrent."
Vern is gone from us now and our world is a little less enjoyable because of that.  Goodbye my friend.


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