In a Sow’s Ear 8-9-10 |

In a Sow’s Ear 8-9-10

Tourien: an amalgamation of “tourist” and “alien.” August is peak Tourien season Out West.

You know an individual is a Tourien when you see:

• A stranger wearing shorts, sandals over white socks; colored T-shirt over whale-sized paunch and a new cowboy hat on backwards.

• Families stuffed in autos – kids in back, Dad driving and Mom looking at a map.

• Restaurants featuring items seen only on summer menus … such as sushi.

• Motorcyclists – biker types wearing leather, chains, no helmet and a crust of dirt.

• Motorcyclists – bikers of the above persuasion but with added decor of tattoo art on every inch of exposed skin (and elsewhere that you don’t care to see … ever).

• Motorcyclists – senior couples driving his and her rigs. Shiny bikes. Clean clothes. Helmets. No tattoos.

• Motorcyclists – younger couples riding together, usually he is driving; she is clinging to his waist or leaning against the backrest reading a book.

• People eyeballing the mounted wildlife heads in the local hotel.

• A dad holding a child by the hand, going from one dead head to the next, informing the offspring, “That’s a moose, that’s a deer, that’s an antelope, that’s a buffalo …” The kid squeals.

• Family groups drifting in clumps along the sidewalks – the father marching slightly ahead wearing a somewhat pained expression and shorts of course, the mother wearing a tired look, shorts and a too-tight tee, two children trailing along wearing open-toed sandals, ice-cream stained garments and new kid-sized cowboy hats.

• Someone checking into the hotel; he goes to the foot of the stairs, then asks, “Where’s the elevator?” The clerk responds with: “You’re on it.”

• “Thrift” stores, “antique” emporiums and the local Mercantile experience a satisfying increase in traffic.

• A Tourien auto pull up behind a herd of sheep or cattle being trailed by a couple of cowboys along a frontage road. The tourien feels compelled to honk. The cowboys let him live.

• A Tourien asks “What kind of uniform does a cattleguard wear?” Or: “Where do they keep the cattle in winter?” Or: “Do you irrigate on Sundays, too?”

All in all, Touriens are mostly nice folks. They bring money to the community as well as providing heaps of entertainment to the locals but – waving goodbye to them in autumn is like a big sigh of relief.

As Maxine says, if there’s a tourist season, how come we can’t shoot them?

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