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KD MAGAZINE! 
Posted: Nov 27, 07 ב"ה     י"ז כסלו, תשס"ח                                          

 
 
 
   
 

I Haven't Run Into Any Bad People

Rabbi Shea Hecht
About the Author

 

All of us have a secret wish; as do I. I can't say it's my only dream, but being blessed with love for people I often fantasize traveling through this country and documenting the wonderful people I meet along the way. This would not only satisfy my need to be with great people, but it would also fortify a cornerstone of my philosophy that the essence of every person is good.

 

When I saw the title of an article in the news, "Cowboy Tours Country to Find Good News," I read the piece with excitement, enthusiasm and a touch of envy. I knew this was the trip I would have taken had I had the time and money. 

Bill Inman, 48, of Lebanon, Oregon, decided to show people that there's more to America than the dismal and depressing stories on the news. He began his journey after growing tired of hearing news stories about crime and war and all the difficult things that go on in this world.

 

"Unfortunately, the image they are portraying is there's corruption in every politician and there's criminals running everywhere," Inman said, referring to the stories that are widely portrayed by news and culture outlets.

He then saddled up his horse, Blackie, and began riding from his Oregon home to North Carolina, with the goal of documenting life in rural America.

Inman, started June 2 and is halfway through his cross-country adventure which he nicknamed "Uncovering America by Horseback."

"The scenery in America is changing and I'm really proud we're taking a snapshot at slow motion of this time period, because 20 years from now it will be different," he said.

His wife, Brenda, also 48, drives ahead in a pickup and horse trailer filled with water and provisions for them, their horse, Blackie, and their three dogs.

The Inman's estimate that the journey will cost them $45,000 - a good part of their life savings.

When interviewed, Inman said: "It's probably the most stupid thing I've done financially, but I truly believe in it."

 

While I can't say using up your life savings to find good news is a financially sound plan, I could say that if I had to use my money on something that would discover good in the people of my country, I would think it was used for a good cause.

 

Since they don't have national sponsors financing their travels, Inman and his team often rely on the kindness of strangers for necessities. They'll accept food, shelter, money or donated feed for Blackie, who eats about 20 pounds of feed a day.

Not surprisingly, hundreds of interesting people have greeted Inman along the way and offered various kinds of help. They include a deputy sheriff who drove 25 miles through a rain storm to bring dinner to the Inmans; and a woman who gave Bill a pair of stirrups she bought as a Christmas present for her grandson before he was killed in an automobile accident.

"The diversity he has unveiled is a lot of forgotten heritage in this country. It's a great eye opener for anybody who runs into him," one woman who met up with Inman said.

Inman has already traveled through the states of Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado and Kansas. Ahead are Missouri, Tennessee and North Carolina, where he hopes to spend some time with his wife's family.

 

Inman's trip is important to us all, because unfortunately, people in the USA are fed ten to 15 hours a week of print and electronic media that highlights negativity in the world. With all that negativity it's a miracle we talk to our neighbors at all. How are we supposed to trust and love the people in our country when people are portrayed in such a negative light?  True, good stories don't sell papers, but we should be watching and reading more positive news. 

When Inman ticked off a list of what's been bad about the trip - temperatures ranging from 108 degrees to freezing, insects, water shortages, crossing mountains and desert, and riding in a lightning storm -  it didn't include people.

The best part of Inman's trip is the positive feeling about people he's walked away with from this trip. In his own words, "I haven't run into any bad people."

 

 

Read more articles by Rabbi Hecht 

Rabbi Hecht's Website:  www.sheahecht.com  

 

 
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