In a Sow’s Ear | TheFencePost.com

In a Sow’s Ear

Gwen Petersen
Big Timber, Mont.

June has busted out all over my corner of the west and so have the Touriens. The word tourist (sightseer) and the word alien (anyone from other cultures or perhaps other planets) fuses into the expression: Tourien.

You can recognize a Tourien pretty quickly. In the local hotel and restaurant, Touriens are the ones ogling the mounted animal heads on the walls. If they are a whole family of Touriens, the toddler Tourien will have the fingers of one hand in his/her mouth and the other hand will be clinging to Mama or Daddy Tourien’s leg. Or toddler Tourien might be the more aggressive type which means he or she will bounce around the entire dining and bar room pointing at the dead heads while shrieking in baby-Tourien talk. Sometimes Daddy Tourien carries toddler Tourien from dead head to dead head and encourages tiny Tourien to repeat after him the names of the various creatures.

Many, many Touriens feel that shorts are the garment of choice for sightseeing. I sometimes wonder where the fashion police are when you need them. A large paunch hanging over a belt that holds up shorts is made even less attractive when supported by scrawny, hairy legs bearing jar-lid knee caps.

Touriens prefer clothing of a light hue such as beige, white, or any flavor of pastel. Very hippy Tourien ladies, for some reason, are especially fond of white shorts or slacks. The sight brings to mind an elephant’s hindquarters covered in a bedsheet. I can almost hear a kettle drum boom an accompaniment if I happen to spy a strolling, white-garbed Tourien. One haunch up (boom), other haunch down (boom), up (boom) down (boom). The earth trembles.

Touriens, however, usually exude admiring friendly attitudes. Sometimes it’s necessary to explain or interpret lingo to them such as what does “moving cattle” mean. Or no, cattle guards don’t wear uniforms. Or that note, mountain oysters or prairie nuggets are not fish or vegetable foods. Or that “an outfit” can mean clothing, a truck or a wilderness camp.

Tourien season opens around mid-May and ends around mid-September which is followed by hunting season which has its own idiosyncrasies. As the old joke goes, if tourists/Touriens are in season, can you buy a hunting license and harvest them?

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Touriens bring money, endless material for satire and a taste of other worlds and ways. The following was written a few years back, but some things don’t change.

When It’s Dudetime In The Rockies

(May be warbled to Springtime in the Rockies)

Now it’s Dudetime in the Rockies,

And the dudes are coming fast,

With their waders and their fly rods,

Oh, they dream of perfect cast.

In their RV’s and their trailers,

They are clogging up the roads,

Oh, they park their rigs on Main street,

And wear shoes with open toes.

And they all have little dogies

That they carry like a purse,

Or they lead big German Shepherds,

My, it’s hard to say what’s worse.

Oh, it’s dudetime in the Rockies,

And they’re coming back this way,

All the travelers from the cities,

With their credit cards they’ll pay.

And they love to spend their time at

A dude ranch far from town,

Where the horsies all are gentle,

And the saddles soft as down.

And the wranglers smile to see them

In their funny riding clothes,

For they wear their chaps with nothing,

Leaving birthday suits exposed.

When the tourists come in springtime,

They’ll be coming here to play,

Once again we’ll say we love them,

While their money flows our way.

And we’ll wave good-bye in autumn,

For we’re glad they didn’t stay,

When it’s dudetime in the Rockies,

In the Rockies far awayyyy.

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