Imagine If You Can…

Bonnie Johnson's PostImagine if you can…you are a young person and you’ve fallen in love.  In every waking moment all you can think of is the person who has captured your heart.  Even your dreams are sweet scenes of passionate moments together.  Every thought is consumed by how much you want to be with them.

Imagine then, that you are lucky enough to marry this person.  You are only in your twenties and you have so much to learn about life and even about yourself.  You know passion intimately at this stage.  It is alive when you make love and also when arguments arise.  You begin to grow up together.  You have no choice.  You now have babies to love and raise together.

The next two decades have you side by side working to raise your children and carve out a comfortable life.  You both are working so hard that sometimes you forget to notice each other and then suddenly you stop what you are doing.  And you see them again like it’s the very first time.  Every cell of your being tingles with love and appreciation for this person.  The one.

Your children have moved on now.  Life slows down a little.  Together you marvel at how quickly those previous years flew by.  You slowly get reacquainted with each other and fall into comfortable patterns of routine.  You are best friends.  Words are not always necessary.  The love you share is solid.  Neither of you doubts the other in any way.

The years seem to accelerate now.  You have shared so much laughter and joy but there has been some terrible sadness too.  One of your children has passed away after a battle with cancer and it almost kills you too.  On the days you felt you couldn’t tread water any longer and you just wanted to stop moving and sink below the surface, your loves hand was under your head holding it up. You took turns then propping the other up.

Time goes on.  Many things change.  Your children’s children are now having children.  You live together in a small space because you realize it’s all you really need.  The days seem endless at times but then why does Christmas seem to come around faster every year?  Each of you has body parts that ache and some parts have even stopped working altogether.  You take turns complaining.  You are pretty sure your ailments are worse than theirs are, but you worry about them too. Your friends and relatives are dying regularly now.  It makes you stop and take stock of how far you’ve come and again, how grateful you are to have shared this journey with your love.

You have been married now for sixty eight years.  Sixty eight years!  You have been together almost everyday for all of those years.  The health of your partner has declined to the point that you cannot look after them by yourself any longer.  They are moved to a facility where doctors and nurses can care for them.  You are left alone.  They are left alone.  You each worry about the other one because you know they are so lonely and afraid.  You want to be the one to prop them up again.  You know how to be there for them better than anyone else.  The rules of the facility don’t allow you to be together though.  You both have to be equally and identically incapable before they can put you together.  When does that ever happen?

Imagine if you can…a full happy lifetime spent with your love but in the end you are not “allowed” to be together.  It’s against the rules.

It’s just not right.  Something is very wrong with our system and how we care for our elderly.

Bonniegrowing old together

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I Want to Marry a Cowboy

Bonnie's PostWhen I was a little girl I told my grandparents that I wanted to marry a cowboy.  Amused, they told me that I better be prepared for a really tough life full of long hard days of work with never much to show for it.  Oh, well never mind then.

I was reminded of that thought this past weekend while in Prince George to honour our brother in law, Gil Bowe, who recently passed away.  I want to share with you a small part of his story:

Gilly BoweGilbert Bernard Bowe   October 17, 1930 ~ May 2, 2009

A Country gentleman and legend passes onto greener pastures……

At the Kamloops Cowboy Festival in 2003 Gil Bowe was inducted in to the BC Cowboy Hall of Fame in the Competitive Achievements Category:

Gilbert (Gilly) Bowe was born in 1930 and raised at Springhouse, near Williams Lake, BC – one of eight children born to Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert Bowe. Gilbert Sr. was the son of Henry Bowe, and the grandson of Herman Bowe who founded the Alkali Lake Ranch in 1860. Gil began riding broncs as a youngster and began his rodeo career when he was in his early teens, riding steers and bareback. As an adult he competed in most events, from bronc riding to the infamous mountain race. He topped the steer decorating and won the saddle bronc at the 1957 Williams Lake Stampede. In Chelan, Washington, in 1960, Gil scored a 94 in saddle bronc – a score unchallenged anywhere in Canada or the US  for many years.

In 1961 he entered 6 main events at Burnaby Lake and won every one – plus the all-round buckle. He was ranked in the top three in all of Canada for all-round cowboy. For seven years he rode on the pro circuit in saddle bronc, calf roping, bare back, bull riding, and steer wrestling. Gil always was more than willing to help out at the drop of a hat. He was one of the founding members of the Interior Rodeo Association, which later became the BCRA. Gil also operated his own leather and saddle shop – the “Rodeo Shop” where he hand built saddles, producing as many as 20 saddles a year. He built many trophy saddles for the different rodeo associations of BC. Since Gil retired from rough stock he spent much of his time competing in team roping as a header or heeler and continued to host BCTRA events at his home arena in Red Rock. Gilly spent years on the amateur and professional rodeo circuit as a competitor and a judge.

I realized after this weekend what it was that made me think I wanted to marry a cowboy all those years ago.  To me cowboys are masculine and as tough as it gets but with a really soft kind side to them.  That is how I saw Gil too.  You had to lean in to hear him when he spoke and you wanted to hear every word because you knew he always had a good story to tell.

Gilly

I did finally marry my cowboy by the way.  He had long ago hung up his chaps but the essence of “cowboy” that I was looking for is still prominent.  (I plan on getting him in those chaps again one night…I mean day… too!)

Bonnie

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