My Life Builders series is a collection of blog posts where I acknowledge the people who contributed to my success in life. Most of the people I’ve written about so far have either been family members or people who have influenced or were somehow connected to my career in music. But no man’s success should ever be measured according to his career alone. Yes, my music is a big part of my life, but it is not the only part.
Hiking and Camping Buddy and Willing Adventurer
Will Wilkins and I met in Boy Scouts in the late 70’s. After I quit scouts we continued to hike and camp in the Franklin Mountains for over ten years, racking up a few hundred miles of experience. We know the area north of Transmountain Rd in El Paso intimately. During the time that we spent in the mountains, Will became someone I could trust and talk to about almost anything that was going on in my life.
Here are a couple of pictures of us on a scouting tip. This was the weekend we put flags on all of the military graves.
The Best of Friends
The truth is, I haven’t had a friend like Will since I left El Paso. Almost all of my friends have been musicians and none of those music friends share the same interests as I do outside of music the way Will and I do. When I left my home town, that part of who I am seemed to stay behind in El Paso. Most of my memories about the “outdoors man” part of who I am are memories of my time hanging out with Will.
There’s something comforting about having a friend who isn’t connected to your career. It makes the friendship seem less urgent. Does that make sense?
Don’t misunderstand me on this point. I love my music friends dearly. It’s just that music is really only about one third of my life. Even though my plans to become a full time professional player go all the way back to seventh grade, the desire to do something more rustic and adventurous with my life persisted all the way into my senior year of high school. In fact, when it came time to choose careers, I remember narrowing it down to two options. I either wanted to be a musician or a park ranger. And if there was such at thing as a park ranger musician, then THAT’S what I would have done for certain.
There’s a trend lately, on facebook, to post a picture of a quote instead of just posting the text yourself. I saw one of those pictures the other day that described a “true friend” as someone who you could go twenty years without speaking to and when you see each other again, you just sort of pick up where you left off. Well, that’s how things seem to me with Will. When Pearl and I went to El Paso over the summer last year, we hooked up with Will to take a trip back up into the mountains. I enjoyed that more than I can put into words. When I saw the picture on facebook about what a true friend is, that’s what immediately came to mind, was that recent trip to El Paso.
Here is a picture from that more recent trip:
I think I probably told Will this when we were hanging out in July, but in case I haven’t, it is my time rompin’ around in the mountains with him that I miss most about living in El Paso. Those people who don’t know this about me don’t really know me at all. Maybe that is for the better.
Thank You Will
I don’t know what my life would be like today if I hadn’t spent all that time with you in the Franklin Mountains. I’d be only half the man I am today I think. So thank you for being so ready and willing to share that with me.
When I first began writing this, I was thinking about including some of the stories from our trips. I finally decided not to do that. People don’t need to know every detail. That’s not what this is about. It’s about simply acknowledging you for the ways you have contributed to my life.