Thursday, December 20, 2007

Ride to Glory

Brett Favre's horse is ready. The saddle is polished and cinched, the stirrups are fixed. His chaps are drawn up and tightened, and he is beginning to slap the 17 years of field dust from his hat.

His gun-belt still rides menacingly on his hips. Inside his holsters rides a deadly pair of chrome six-shooters, their chambers packed with custom-made precision cartridges. When they are in his hands, every outlaw knows, they are true; they are money. And you don't bet against them.

It is getting to be afternoon; late afternoon. Many figured that he would not have made it this far, that like all the others, he would have been worn down, shot down, or just laid down to rest. But there ain't no lay-down in this one. There is just grit, desire and determination. And, oh yeah, those blazing guns.

For it is these things that have brought him to a place further than any other gun-slinger has ever been, deeper into the badlands. And it has been a shoot-out the whole way. Many he has fought with have fallen, been turned-aside, have been side-lined. He himself has been hit countless times, but has somehow kept his footing, standing on one leg, iron-will and the other leg, kiss-of-fate.

Those who ride with him now are all replacements. But when the camp-fire is dwindling on some nights, there are whispers among them of names from long ago, there are questions about how one can ride and shoot for so long, and wide-eyes wonder if maybe this man is really just a mist.

And all are amazed not only that this legend showed up to bust through these final miles, but that he did so in such spectacular fashion; mythical fashion. He has led the charge with a type of cunning, precision and skill that only a craft-master, a wizard, can wield.

They all ride together, on even footing; but secretly, when the legend speaks, each one tries to burn his words and his lessons into their minds. For they know that those words are coming from a very rare, unprecedented greatness; and they all know, also, that it is very late in the afternoon.

Brett Favre puts a foot in the stirrup, a hand on the saddle horn, and pulls himself atop the horse like he has done a million times; since he was a kid. He gets himself comfortable in the saddle; adjusts his hat. Then he takes a look around.

So many things are different now. The view has changed so much since his father first set him on top of his very first horse and taught him how to ride. He feels the toll of wounds from battles-gone by. He feels the loss of some of those with whom he started this journey.

He looks back on every mile, every trail. He cannot remember every shootout, but he knows that together, they all make up part of who he is and where he is. And he is, once again, grateful. He knows that he has dodged some bullets, but he also knows that he has never taken his good fortune for granted.

Then, for the first time, Brett Favre lifts his head and looks directly in to the sinking sun. He knows that one more mile, perhaps his final gauntlet, remains in front of him. He knows that it is a dangerous road, that there are shootouts ahead and that they could be more costly than ever.

He's heard that there are a few young, hot-shot gunslingers out there. But that doesn't bother him. For he quietly knows that he was already a blaze-busting veteran, at home in his saddle when they were wearing pajamas bearing his name.

He reaches for a six-shooter, to double-check, again, that it is ready for the gauntlet. His guns, Gutsy and Brazen, have ridden with him every mile. They were his friends when he first learned to shoot. They were his weapons when he rose to prominence. They were his slayers when he came to own such gauntlets three times. And now, on perhaps a final run, there is not a speck of rust, they look to be as fine as they ever were.

Brett Favre grabs the reigns and wraps them firmly around his gloved hand. The sun is touching the tip of the mountain in the horizon. He peers ahead looking at what will be in his path. He knows they're waiting. He knows more are coming. He is not sure if he will make it through to the end, but he knows that he is still Kiln enough to try.

He understands that very shortly the air will be filled with smoke and lead. But experience has taught him, and others, that much of that will be his own.

Brett Favre sets his chin. Then he nudges his horse with his spurs.


What a glorious sunset lies ahead.

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