The cowboy in me

I reckon he has always been there. I also believe that most folks, male or female, that are or have been “cowboys” for a good portion of their lives also had that “cowboy” in them as well. My memory takes me back to that stuffed spotted horse I had and slept with every night for years. It was at the end of WW II and my pony had hide of camouflage, and his eyes were buttons and he had that beautiful mane of mop strings. He helped me deal with the “big bad wolf” that lived under my bed.

Then it was six guns, a pair of cap pistols, much like what Roy Rogers packed around.

My little friends and I fought every bad hombre around and we lost nary a gun fight.

At 10, I got my second horse. The first horse was older than Moses and moved like molasses on a February morning in North Dakota. My dad had to saddle him for me and lead me around as I didn’t have a clue and dad hardly ever had the time. He had no desire for me to have any interest in horses or later in becoming a “cowboy.” The second hoss was a bronc, but never mind. The folks just turned me loose in the large pastures surrounding the oil field camp in which we lived. I truly learned to ride. I rode hard and fast, dodging the heavy Mesquite and cactus, and loved every minute of it. If he ran away with me, and he often did, I just assumed the Indians were in pursuit. I knew we were headed to the corrals.

I drifted away as I got older and it wasn’t until I was in my later 20s did that “cowboy” inside nudge me a little and made me aware I was missing something in my life. Martha and I had purchased 75 acres north of Amarillo and we sold our nice home in town and moved a single wide trailer out to our new place. It adjoined a four section ranch and I made myself available to the owner that I would fix fence and check windmills if I could ride my ponies on the open land. I had two horses by then and wanted to get as close to ranch life as I could under the circumstances. It wasn’t long until the ranch was stocked with yearlings and cowboys to take care of them. Of course, I rode over and said, “if you don’t mind me taggin’ along, I would like to learn all that I can from you guys.” They were happy to have the extra help when it came to gathering and working the steers. I learned a lot and I was off and running with a new desire to quit my job with Procter and Gamble and become a real man getting his hands rough and dirty. My dad was dismayed and disappointed at my decision because he had lived through the depression of the 30s and he knew I was headed into rougher seas. I didn’t care and Martha was okay with it and by then we had two little ones and I had them on ponies riding with me as soon as their time arrived. I had gone to heaven and yes it was tough and trying but so rewarding for all of us to be in the country living on our own place. There is so much more to tell, but not the space to do it in, but you already know a lot of it if you have been a reader of this column.

That cowboy is still there. I am proud of him and his war wounds and his foundation and for my good health and clear mind as it is.

A couple weeks back I had a cartoon about a pumpkin and the caption was “off in the weeds.”

I don’t know what happened there, but it wasn’t me.

Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, please be true to yourself at all cost, and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.


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