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I wanna’ be a cowboy

Tales from the ONO Ranch
Mad Jack Hanks
Wellington, Colo.

It has been my observation, gentle readers, over the years that most, not all, but most men admire the cowboy, his looks, his style, his lifestyle and his confidence. I have always had folks, men and women open doors for me, speak to me or give me an admiring glance. No brag, just fact!

Of course, I have always looked a little “punchy” in my cowboy costume, especially when I was a younger man. I think folks open doors for me now because I’m an old man!

I said all of that to say this: years ago down at the Texas ranch I went into town early for breakfast as we were going to ship several loads of cattle that morning. It was chilly, damp and a gloomy looking day. I had my pants stuffed down in some tall top boots, big spurs on my heels, wild rag, big coat and of course a big black hat. I was surprised to see four fellers about my age (early 40s) in suits and ties sitting in this little hole in the wall so early in the morning. They gave me a hard look as I passed their table. I nodded, retrieved me a cup of coffee and hollered at the cook to give him my order. I sat down with my back to these hombres and began to hear little whispers, “goat roper” etc. I ignored them but it was irritating me.

Finally one feller speaks rather loudly, “HEY COWBOY, I started to turn around when he finishes, HAVE YA RIPPED UP ANY CARPET LATELY WITH THOSE BIG SPURS OF YOURS?” I smiled at the moron and replied, “DON’T KNOW, HAS YER OLD LADY BEEN COMPLAINING?” I turned back around and it was dead silence expect for the giggles from his buddies and a few whispers.

“Excuse me sir, he offered, I have a 20-year-old son in college and he is disrespectful, always expects the best to be handed to him (I paraphrase) and is rude and lazy. I bet if I could send him home with you for a couple of weeks, he’d come back a different man.”

“I could almost guarantee it friend,” I responded. Then the civil conversations followed and it was as if we had been friends for a long time.

Here was a guy that wanted (in my opinion) just once to be me for a little while and see how it felt. Cowboys have, for the most part always been admired and respected. Not all are decent folks, but the majority of cowboys living and working with their families on a ranch somewhere are for sure as good as folks come. Their work ethics and moral obligations to their employer and their families are paramount. Yes, a cowboy likes to be admired and like the attention when some little kid says, “LOOK MOM, THERE’S A COWBOY.”

My intention was not to have you think that I am or was some sort of a “double tough” guy that could clean out the saloon. Nope, not a chance. I just don’t now or have ever favored a “smart mouth” or bullies. That’s the cowboy way, right?

By the way, I did find me a ranch horse that I believe will be what I need. So I’m lookin’ forward to getting some ridin’ in this summer and “playing cowboy.”

Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, play your cards close to yer chest and don’t let’um see you sweat! I’ll c. y’all, all y’all. ❖


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