This life it seems is all a dream
But here I am to dream it.
In another year,
When I say it, I mean it.
I know there's a girl
Somewhere in the world
That somewhere there's me.
When our paths become one
We'll sit in the sun
Together, we'll set our son free.
I wrote those lyrics when I was about seventeen years old in North Vancouver. I made up a country western style song with those lyrics and sang it from Mexico to Squamish for anyone who would listen. When I passed through Texas and played it for my grandma she said I would be on the radio one day.
I remember getting a ride with a man from Ontario once when I was hitch-hiking in B.C. He was about thirty and had an old Rambler Station Wagon full of his carpenter tools, a pretty raven-haired wife and a little boy just about big enough to start school. I told them I didn't have any money to chip in for gas but I'd sing them down the highway if they wanted.
The man said yes and his wife took the boy out of the back seat and snuggled him in up front. I piled in with my Yamaki and Somewhere There's Me was the first song I played for them. The woman clapped hands with her son and I could see the Papa smiling the most satisfied smile you ever saw. The little fellow asked his Dad if he could get a guitar someday.
I carried on with all the songs I knew and we sang together the ones they knew. I remember that the man had the same big hands like my Grandpa. He only used one to steer with. The other one was for smoking the Export 'A' rollies his wife twisted up for him from time to time.
I was sad to leave this family when they dropped me off at their exit. I felt like they were confirmation that my song was real. As I hauled my guitar out of the back the fellow turned to me and said, “Mike, that girl in your first song, you'll find her. I know you will, just like I did.”
Well, it was a mighty long road until I did find her. I always knew I would but I didn't know when, where or how. I went through two marriages before I did. When I thought I had found her, I was like a horse old enough to be saddled but young enough to buck. I was skittish and my two marriages had taught me not to trust a woman. Though I never lost my song, I sure did doubt my own judgment of females.
The Creator helped me to see that everything I had ever done was necessary in order to put me in the right spot. I learned not to regret anything. I learned the wisdom of patience. I was sent a powerful dream to give me courage. I dreamed of a water buffalo with a woman's voice from across the ocean. Turned out, my gal was born across the ocean on the same day as me and had grown up riding on water buffaloes. I tucked my shirt in and married her. Without her, you wouldn't be reading this now.
I had one son when I married the third time and a look at the fine honest man he has become would teach anyone that it was a wisdom greater than my own that guided my path to and from his mother. I was later blessed with another son. I saw a big male raccoon dead outside the hospital as I paced the grounds during the long labor. He was uninjured and had a beautiful coat. He was just starting to freeze up.
My new boy was born premature but healthy and strong. We brought him home three days later to our ground floor apartment in New Westminster. He weighed only four pounds and we had to feed him from those tiny bottles like they feed baby animals with on TV. That first night at home, a mother raccoon came with her three cubs and stayed for two weeks under his bedroom window.
The first natural outdoor sound he ever heard was the mama raccoon churring and fussing at her brood. The boy grew up left-handed and taught himself to play guitar right-handed. He started writing songs and playing for bigger and bigger audiences. He calls himself Raccoon Eyes and is a better guitar picker than yours truly. The Hand is always at work through everything. The illusion of Time exists only for us to spread our learning out, so we don't puff up like bullfrogs.
I saw movie once about a cowboy and a lady. It was adapted from a book by an author I have admired since childhood. The woman was a wife and a mother, who found herself suddenly widowed. She began unburdening her heart on leaves of paper. She lived in a remote area and tied the letters to tumbleweeds for the wind to take. She wrote many.
The old cowboy kept finding these words way out in the mountains where he worked and he came to know this mystery woman as intimately as any husband could hope for. Their paths crossed several times before he discovered that she was the writer and she discovered that he was the reader.
Being a cowboy, the man always stuck to his guns and did the right things. The woman, being a mother kept her dignity and accepted her responsibilities. Their own individual codes kept those two apart physically for a mighty long time. Those same codes eventually brought them together under one blanket.
We can all learn a lot even from an old cowboy novel. Anything shared with the world from your heart is a tumbleweed letter. Great Spirit reads em all. Anything not from the heart, well, coyote gets to play with that business. All we have to do is ride our fences and weed our gardens. A week ago Thursday, I was allowed to broadcast on Radio Lillooet CHLS 100.5 FM. Grandma, that first one was for you.
Michael Hawes was born in Texas, raised in Louisiana and lives in British Columbia.