Get Back On The Horse

When I was 17 years old, I was arrested when for underaged drinking at Ann’s Rib Shack in north Mississippi. I was taken to the Hernando DeSoto County Jail where I was placed in a cell with another offender. Me cell mate was incarcerated for possession of marijuana. He was serving a 90 day sentence. I asked him what he planned to do when he was released. His response was, “I’m going to roll a joint and smoke it.” Though his activity choice was dubious, he was getting back on the horse, or not giving up.

I just returned to Memphis again for a couple of repairs. Yesterday I decided that it would be reasonable to drive my rig around the city to run errands. I was wrong. When parallel parking, my awning struck a telephone pole that I didn’t see. The pole survived just fine but the extension arms for my awning were smashed. I was ready to throw in the towel. The internal messages that I heard included, “I’ve aged out of driving a motorhome that requires hyper vigilance,” “I’m an accident waiting to happen,” and “This is too hard.”

Ultimately I heard the wiser voice beneath the mental noise of the moment. It said, “Get back on the horse.” Mistakes are not character defects. My action of striking the pole was an unintentional error. I made light of it by telling someone that the pole jumped out at the side of my rig, and that I’d planned to enter a plea of innocence. State Farm Insurance will unquestionably enjoy my plea and take mercy upon me by not inflating my rates once the damage amount is tallied. At the time of the event I was psychically reduced to pulp. The magnitude of the injury was far greater for me than either the telephone pole or State Farm.

Today I got back behind the wheel and drove my rig to Southaven for its repairs. I experienced sweat droplets and a quivering lip, but I made it. I have a rig mentor that I call at times like these so I can process the experience out loud. He and I discussed options including trading my vehicle in for a smaller unit that wouldn’t be as wide. We discussed my purchase of a small Jeep that I could pull behind my rig. It would enable me to easily run errands, drive to trail heads without concern for parking or turning around, or banging into telephone poles, and sightsee if that tickled my fancy. At the moment, I’ll do nothing more than put my derailment behind me and get back on the horse. The cure for my situation isn’t rolling and smoking a joint like my cell mate from fifty years ago, but to parallel park with allowance and awareness for my awning that sticks out four inches off the side of my vehicle. And I’ll be on the outlook for moving telephone poles. My next repair trip will restore my awning to good as new. I welcome the day when my calendar is without a scheduled repair.

Getting back on the horse is the antidote to this momentary fracture in the amenities of my life on the road.


Published by jmlewisjr

Hello. This is Jimmy Lewis. I'm in Memphis, Tennessee. My golden doodle, Lola and I are leaving on a North American tour in May, 2021. We'll be traveling in a 2021 Jayco Melbourne 24L motorhome. We have neither time constraints nor exact destination specifications. We'll spend May in Virginia, North and South Carolina, and then head north through New York, Maryland, Massachusetts and Vermont. If Canadians resume the practice of putting out a welcome mat for Americans, then we'll cross the border.  The seed for this journey began after my wife, Sarla passed away in May, 2020. Sarla was a yogi. An early yoga teacher of hers implored her to "Have what you need, and use what you have." As I prepare to close on the sale of our home on April 30, 2021, I'm deciding what I need based on the likelihood of using what I have. I give some things away without a flicker of feeling. When more meaningful items like the piano I inherited from my parents leave the premises, I feel like I'm saying goodbye to an old friend for the last time. Sarla's death lessened my attachment to the home we had enjoyed for 15 years and life as I knew it. I didn't need and couldn't possibly use a house that could satisfy the needs of a family with four children. I'll no longer experience residence, a concept identified with staying in a specified place, as I've heretofore known it. Life will never be the same, nor do I want to attempt to shape my future into a likeness of what I once knew.   I've set my sights on adventure. I want to be challenged by not knowing who or what I'll meet on the road. The outdoors is one of my default antidotes for stress. Other than my rig, I won't have an indoors base. Whereas others might opt to downsize so that they have the stability of a landing spot, I won't be able to go "home" as I've known it. I'm jazzed about the prospect of being at the whim of the muse, to go where my finger lands on turning pages of the Rand McNally atlas. My dog, Lola is indifferent even though I've been talking to her about the journey every day. She looks quizzically at me when I enthusiastically say we're hitting the road together. I'm confident that she'll do well. We've previously driven together to and from a destination 12 hours from home. She curiously gazed out the window and occasionally snoozed in the passenger seat. She didn't express displeasure about the podcasts and music selection that I chose to entertain and inform me while driving. This trip isn't driven by personal goals. Will I learn more about myself? Will I take advantage of the opportunity to reflect? Will I be lonely? Will I be uneasy? I'm motivated by a curiosity to follow the questions.

3 thoughts on “Get Back On The Horse

  1. Shelley and I catching up on your last 3 wonderful tales while watching the sunset from southwestern tip of Africa.
    Cold, blustery and dramatic the prevailing Northwester has brought more than its fair share of rain. One of Greg’s playlist plays in the backgound – the folksy one, and your stories and pictures warm our hearts.

    We are with you on this journey


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