I don’t post on this blog much any more. All of my time has been taken up with the work that Wild Horse Education does to try and gain protections for our wild horses and burros from abuse, slaughter and extinction. Not much time for the “personal side” of things, like the blog.
Recently all of that has been compounded with my breast cancer fight. I had two surgeries in June. My radiation just finished a couple of weeks ago. I begin medications on Wednesday. My energy is low, I’m bloated and the necrotic flesh from radiation is such a joy and a smell I never thought I would know coming off my own body.
But yesterday I was given a gift. The kind of gift that is so personal you “blush” a bit and wonder if anyone will understand.
My life these last four years is basically a series of road trips strung one after another. Each trip, roundup, range survey has that perfect song that you find yourself listening to again and again. There is one band that seems to find itself in my CD player more than any other… Bon Jovi. It’s not just that “I’m a Jersey Girl,” but the music has a way of providing the right inspiration at the right time or expressing something you can only truly express by singing along as loud as you can.
Our attorney Gordon Cowan received a call from a lovely woman that works for Bon Jovi asking if we would like to be a guest at the concert in Las Vegas. He gave me her number and I called. We spent over an hour talking about horses and growing up in New Jersey. She is a huge advocate for horse welfare and had been following what I have been doing.
On Thursday we were in court all day… I was running a fever and Friday I was so far behind I felt I could not go. I got in my truck and turned the ignition… and there was that inspiration that always seems to come out of the dusty speakers… “It’s My Life,” was playing on the radio. So that sealed the trip for me.
Gordie decided he wanted to go but had to be back Sunday early. That meant if we drove down from Reno together to save gas, we would have to turn right around and head back. I gave Wild Horse Education secretary Tami Crisanti a call (Tami and her husband are both Jersey transplants, and Tamis friend made 5). So we now had our concert crew.
At 5 am we headed to Vegas. Arriving around 3 to pick up tickets at will call I got a huge surprise… Dawn met both Gordie and myself and we got a backstage tour!
I can not begin to describe how much fun this was for me. The last four years read like a concert playlist….
Lost Highway: In 2009 Elvis (my Bernese Mountain Dog), that I lost this year to Valley Fever, started our journey with nothing but a cheap drug store camera, a broken down laptop, a 1980 Scottsdale pickup truck and each other… following wild horses and burros. This song was on the CD player (not built in) as we chugged through ten states.
Dead or Alive: Silver King roundup of 2010. Beth Slagsvol and her friend had travelled down to Silver King. BLM was having one of their “access game” days and we were being held on the range and not allowed to move (even though NOTHING was happening). Beth had the theme from “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” in her deck and asked what I had. I turned on my CD player and we all sat there on the range singing “Dead or Alive” as BLM rangers watched our every move and we just sat and sang Bon Jovi songs. (Silver King has turned into a 3 year battle up and down the court system that has created new case law to First Amendment Freedoms and is back in the Ninth Circuit with more than 15 press organizations signed on through Amicus).
It’s My Life: This song blasted out the CD player of the Explorer I got at “Doc Lightenings” auto auction right before the Twin Peaks roundup and continued to keep Elvis and I company as in 2011 we did over 100,000 miles covering wild horse roundups in a non-stop marathon. In 2011 we caught the chopper pilot chasing single horses, running horses in sub zero temps until they lathered, babies being run until their poor legs gave out and even the pilot hitting a horse. In 2011 we filed the Triple B case and won the first Temporary Restraining Order in the history of the Act (later a Preliminary Injunction) to conduct. That case is still alive.
We Weren’t Born to Follow: Played during a snowstorm in 2011 on my way to meet BLM one December morning. The snow was coming down so hard, I was off road, and the thought occurred to me that if I crashed they might not even find the body come spring thaw.
Have A Nice Day: I call it the “Jersey Anthem.” This song is one that has many uses. I have one particular memory of getting ready to go out on the range at dawn with my BLM ranger escort. He put on his cowboy hat and shades… I had gone out and gotten myself mirror glasses like his and a nice hat myself. I put on my music, he tipped his hat, and off we drove into the sunrise (try it) with so much dust I couldn’t see a damn thing. And we were going 40 mph on the dirt. “Have a Nice Day.”
Someday I’ll be Saturday Night: This song (for fairly obvious reasons) has become a song I find myself spontaneously singing these days…
“Hey man I’m alive I’m takin’ each day and night at a time
Yeah I’m down, but I know I’ll get by
Hey hey hey hey, man gotta live my life
Like I ain’t got nothin’ but this roll of the dice
I’m feelin’ like a Monday, but someday I’ll be Saturday night”
Now we have a new album.
During the backstage tour I sat on the floor and we talked. I felt like I was back at mom’s house with my sister going through the “pass around bag.” (The pass around bag was a big garbage bag that you put clothes in you didn’t want anymore and took out things you might use). I was given some old clothes of Jon Bon Jovi. A wonderful sweater (that I have not taken off as it got really cold today), a neck warmer and pants. And yes… I am wearing Jon’s pants as I write this.
(Carrying the bag out of the casino actually made me blush! )
I can not begin to describe just how much fun I had last night. Made a Memory…. and that night, and the amazing music Bon Jovi has given me the last three decades, will travel with me for as long as I last on this earth and in this fight for our voiceless wild horses and burros. Jon has become such an example of the spirit of “giving back” to community and I admire the music and the man.
I don’t think they know just how special this was for me. Thank you Tami, John, Julia and Gordie for sharing the night. And I am forever grateful Dawn.