It’s a Long and Winding Road

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It was Sir Paul McCartney who wrote the haunting lyrics to “Long and Winding Road.”  The song is both wistful, hopeful, and yet also about one who is broken by what has happened in the past.  While there are many theories about what was in Paul’s mind when he wrote it, perhaps the real meaning will die with him.  Perhaps there is a clue in the fact that it was the 20th and last number one song released by the Beatles…and the last one released by the super-band.  Was it in essence a love song to their fans and their past…hoping to come home for one more time, even if for just a momentary glimpse of home?

We don’t make it through life without scars. To think otherwise is merely a pipe-dream.  Some may make it through without scars on the outside, but even they bear scars on the inside.  We all are wounded.  We all experience pain.  And as we approach the end of the long and winding road, we gain a richer perspective on the meaning of life as we come to realize that the scars themselves, are also beautiful.  They are part of our stories, our intricate weaving of lives with others as we travel the road.  Every person, every story, is beautiful in some way.  Some are tragic, but there is also beauty in tragedy.

What matters is not that we are scarred, but how we react to the woundings and whether or not we will let them shape us, teach us and grow us, or whether we become so filled with bitterness and anger that we become nothing more than a shadow of a human merely biding time until we take the last step on the road.

Today’s photo was shot at the flea market.  I don’t know how old these battered dolls are, but they reminded me of life and the Long and Winding Road.  May you journey it well!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1865, in what may be the first true western showdown, Wild Bill Hickok shot Dave Tutt dead in the market square of Springfield, Missouri.

Hollywood movies notwithstanding, the classic western showdown happened only rarely in the American West. Rather than coolly confronting each other on a dusty street in a deadly game of quick draw, most men began shooting at each other in drunken brawls or spontaneous arguments. Ambushes and cowardly attacks were far more common than noble showdowns.

Nonetheless, southern emigrants brought to the West a crude form of the “code duello,” a formalized means of solving disputes between gentlemen with swords or guns that had its origins in European chivalry. By the second half of the 19th century, few Americans fought duels to solve their problems. Yet, the concept of the duel influenced the informal western code of what constituted a legitimate-and legal-gun battle. Above all, the western code required that a man resort to his six-gun only in defense of his honor or life, and only if his opponent was also armed. A western jury was unlikely to convict a man in a shooting provided witnesses testified that his opponent had been the aggressor.

The best-known example of a true western duel occurred on this day in 1865. Wild Bill Hickok, a skilled gunman with a formidable reputation, was eking out a living as a professional gambler in Springfield, Missouri. He quarreled with Dave Tutt, a former Union soldier, but it is unclear what caused the dispute. Some people say it was over a card game while others say they fought over a woman. Whatever the cause, the two men agreed to a duel.

The showdown took place the following day with crowd of onlookers watching as Hickok and Tutt confronted each other from opposite sides of the town square. When Tutt was about 75 yards away, Hickok shouted, “Don’t come any closer, Dave.” Tutt nervously drew his revolver and fired a shot that went wild. Hickok, by contrast, remained cool. He steadied his own revolver in his left hand and shot Tutt dead with a bullet through the chest.

Having adhered to the code of the West, Hickok was acquitted of manslaughter charges. Eleven years later, however, Hickok died in a fashion far more typical of the violence of the day: a young gunslinger shot him in the back of the head while he played cards. Legend says that the hand Hickok was holding at the time of his death was two pair–black aces and black eights. The hand would forever be known as the “dead man’s hand.”

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: When a child loses a tooth in Spain, a small mouse called “Ratoncito Pérez” leaves a surprise under the pillow.

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