Momma, we all grew up to be cowboys…

Oh, I know your dream was for us to be “Doctors and Lawyers” and such. For whatever reason, we became cowboys. No, we did not ultimately choose that 9 to 5 existence. While most of the people we take care of are eeking out a living Monday through Friday, we opted for the on call, possibly 24/7 lifestyle. It is true that we don’t have that guaranteed paycheck, but we don’t have that “boss” looking over our shoulder either.

There is no other group, in America, as large as ours, operating on the same playing field. We compete with one another one day and work with one another the next. Of course, we try to play nice and fair, because everyone of us is armed and trained to do the same job. Maybe we should have listened to you momma. Living a life as a cowboy is often lonely and difficult. There are times when we go long periods without any pay. Our predecessors at least had a chuck wagon preparing them three squares a day as they moved from Texas to Illinois. We are often searching for loose change to grab a happy meal while on the road.

But momma, we love being a cowboy.

We will readily admit, most folks just don’t understand us. How can we go day to day, week to week and even month to month with no guarantee of a paycheck? Well, I suppose the answer closest to the truth is ….. momma, that is who we are! It is not about the guarantee, it is all about doing our job. The risk involved leads to greater rewards.

Every newspaper published can use banner headlines that our industry is in trouble, we believe in what we do. Stories can be shared casting aspersions on our motivation, we believe in who we are. Rumors can be exchanged that the need for our services is fading,we believe in our purpose. And in order for us to function and for the system to continue working, you have to know that for the most part, we believe in each other!

We are cowboys…you know.

The group that drifts through this venue may only be 5% of our total membership. Recently, word spread like wild fire that our meeting spot was for sale. Those that own this little piece of turf, were somewhat surprised at the response from our posse. Sure, there are technical considerations and everyone one of us believes in their right to sell their property. They just didn’t understand that we are cowboys spread across this nation and this was “our” meeting place. O.K., technically it is theirs but it feels like it is ours.

You can not touch the interweb. You can not see the megabytes drifting through the air from one computer to another. We know it is there, because we are here. We just can’t put our finger on “active rain”, but we sure can feel the results of every shower. We are cowboys, guided by a desire to do a job very few people are willing to attempt. We are cowboys, corralled here, sharing life, love, professional tips, angst and joy. People outside our circle may not understand that fact.

When the enemy attacks, we can circle our wagons here. If one of us struggles, that can be shared and the rest of us can come to their aid. If one of us finds a better way of getting the job done, they can share here and we are all better. We become stronger and better and more seasoned for our time here.

That is what this meeting place is to us. We do benefit from it’s existence. We agree, whoever owns the property, should benefit as well. We have found comfort on the trail in the past. We have sat around virtual campfires on other sites and swapped stories, told lies and laughed and cried with one another. This one just turned out to be real comfortable.

So momma, we did grow up to be cowboys. We just found the comfort of one of your home cooked meals here. We just found the comraderie of being at your table here. If the corral disappears or the new landlord doesn’t realize…..we are cowboys, we may end up packing our things and riding into the sunset.

Most of us hope that this place remains. It is marked on our map of daily trips. When we leave, we know our way back. We are cowboys and it is our nature to make the best of every situation. Momma understands the way a cowboy feels and thinks. We are not your everyday users. We are each loners that have found comfort in the group.

There will be other campfires and other places to greet. The thing about a cowboy is we never forget the places we’ve been or the people we meet.

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