Nailing Jello To The Wall

Author Jim Hinckley shares his morning walkabouts on Unstagram with the daily Decade With Jim posting.

Am I the only one that feels like they are trying to nail Jello to the wall? Is it my imagination or is frustration becoming simply an accepted part of daily life?

Five windows manned by two employess with a line that stretches out of the lobby and down the front of the post office. An ATM that is out of cash. A long line for the single cashier, and a herd crowded around the self check out registers. Customer service that isn’t. After being on hold for 45 minutes being told that the next available date for an appointment is March, 2023, nearly five months later. And don’t ask me about the challenges of trying to get an estimate for home repair.

With varying degrees of success I end the day with a smile and a bit of optimism about tomorrow. I accredit that to lessons learned during the years of living a hard knock life. The lyrics of The Ride by Chris LeDoux sum up that chapter of my life, provide inspiration needed to survive the age of frustration, and conjur up memories thart make me smile.

“He said “Sit tall in the saddle, Hold your head up highKeep your eyes fixed where the trail meets the skyAnd live like you ain’t afraid to dieAnd don’t be scared, just enjoy your ride”
I went up a kid with shaking handsAnd I came down a full grown man
It was like he’d cast some Voodoo spellThings were different for me now, I could tell”

At the time it seemed like a dream job. I couldn’t imagine anything better than the life i was living. Every day was a grand adventure of epic proportions. That was before the big wreck and being forced to face a hard reality. This was a great way to make a living, especially if I didn’t plan on living long.

A frosty morning in Jim Hinckley’s America

That dream job required long hours spent polishing leather on the tree with the seat of my pants under a blazing sun, or in the rain, or on a face numbing frosty morning. I was riding for the brand on a spread headquartered along the lower Mimbres River near Faywood, New Mexico. Riding for the brand was an ideal, a code of ethics that t took serioously. So did most of the fellows that I rode with.

Cowboy poet Red Steagall summed up that code in a poem when he wrote, “Son, a man’s brand is his own special mark that says this is mine, leave it alone. You hire out to a man, ride for his brand and protect it like it was your own.”

Well, that chapter of my life was written nearly a decade before the publication of my first feature article and the receipt of a check for $250. Still, I hold fast to that code. I am still a dreamer, just as I was when riding fences down toward the Mexican border.

When I got my first check, childhood dreams were renewed. And when that dream was fulfilled with publication of my first book, new dreams were born. That proved to be the case with every milestone on my journey toward becoming a writer when I grow up.

This chapter commenced with receipt of that first check. It continues to this day. So do the dreams that keep me smiling at the end of day plagued with frustrations.