Thursday, July 10, 2008

Gone Country

When I was a little boy my Dad would tell me stories
about his time as a working cowboy and amature bull rider.
This naturally made me want to be a cowboy when I grew up.
My Mom was raised on a dairy and frequent visits to
the farm further exposed me to the country life.
I have fond memories of riding on the tractor cutting
alfalfa in a seemingly endless journey up and down the fields.
Helping my cousins feed the calves was also fun although
I'm sure it was sheer drudgery for them.
There were also mysteries on the farm.
A stainless steel keg that emitted a cloud of white smoke
whenever it was opened and as a four year old boy I could
not think of any explanation for my Uncle Newell's habit
or putting his arm shoulder deep in a cow's butt.
We lived on an acre lot and for a while we would raise a cow
for beef. It didn't take long for my parents to decide
that was more trouble than it was worth. ( cows have a habit of
getting out just as you're leaving for church) so we just started
to grow weeds on our land like most of the other urban ranchers.
The reality was I lived more in the city than I did in the
country and it didn't take long before I became more interested in
city boy things and forgot all about being a cowboy.
As an adult I've all ways had a secret respect for real cowboys
and open contempt for the urban cowboy posers.
This contempt reached it's zenith during the
great Garth Brooks country music crises of the early 1990's
It seemed like over night half the people I knew traded in
their white Nikes and Guess jeans for polished ropers
and obscenely tight Wranglers. I never was a big fan of
Depeche Mode but when they were replaced by
Billy Ray Cyrus I had to make a stand.
There was no was I was jumping on that bandwagon.
The worst thing was that every time we drove
past a dairy or feed lot all my new "cowboy" friends
would start whining about the smell.
I all ways liked the smell. It reminded me
of my childhood.
So about two years ago my good friends
David and Lana Chapman had a midlife crises
and moved to cattle ranch in northeast Oklahoma.
Well it only took about a week of visiting the ranch
seeing real cowboys doing real ranch work
and I caught the bug.
When I grow up I want to be a cowboy.
My boots aren't polished, my Wranglers aren't tight
and my western clothes from my hat to my spurs
have all been stained with mud,blood , and manure.
Yippie ki a.

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