One of the Best Free Range Texans I Ever Knew

Michael Shawn
Michael Shawn

My daughter, Mariah, graduated from Texas Tech with a Masters Degree in Chemistry. My son, Cody, graduated from Texas Tech and got his Masters in Athletic Training at Arkansas University. I, however, took a different path. I grabbed my high school diploma and set out to conquer the world for better or for worse. I did graduate with my master’s but I chose a different route.

The picture below was the Dean and Chief Professor of a large portion of my master’s degree. For me, going to class meant riding number two on a line-up of off road motorcycles following, watching, and observing Ben Faulkner. I learned more about different cultures, barely explored wildernesses, and general life lessons as a young adult than anyone can possibly imagine. Ben Faulkner, while being approximately 15 years older, was destined to be one of the best life-long friends that a young “wildling” could ever have.

The stories of his adventures could fill a book. He taught me that life is often like riding in the desert … be ready for anything and never go over the top of a bluff without first stopping to look. My life long love affair with the Big Bend and the Chihuahuan desert now includes knowing that I will never be able to open my eyes and see that sunrise and feel that special place without my thoughts being full of my big brother, Ben Faulkner.

Memorial Day at 7:15 a.m. Ben rode into those pearly gates without me, but I can just see the grin on his face. I know he left me here to break camp, cause like so many others of late, I expect we’ll be meeting up again across the river. Adios Uncle Ben! Enjoy the ride!

Ben and Dona Faulkner

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