Occasionally and at least once a week a moment of panic will pass my way with the thought “what will I write about?” Have I run out of things to say about cowboys, rednecks, life at the ranch and the good ole days?
Then some well-meaning fellow in a cowboy hat will reaffirm my belief that there is a never ending supply of stories about who they are, what they do and what in the world were they thinking?
In fact, just this week a friend of mine, a seasoned ranch wife who is still waiting for her cowboy to grow up, phoned me and the topic of Valentine’s Day came up. I ventured to ask if she had received yet another remarkable gift from her husband of 35+ years.
“Well, he did ask if I wanted something,” she said. “But after that time about my Christmas gift, I was afraid to let him think it was time for another gift.”
I asked the obvious, “What happened about the Christmas gift?”
“He brought me a cat from the pound.”
“Did you ask for a cat or even want a cat?”
“No to both. This gift just fit his budget. It was free.”
Of course it took time for him to go pick the cat out and take it home. But more than anything, that job cut into the time he was spending building his new roping arena and making room for the new roping steers due in any day.
Let it be noted that on their 35th anniversary he gave her the buckle he’d won that day and told her he was glad she had been there to watch him win it. Love at a premium.
Keep in mind this is a now over-60 years old version of the college cowboy who lived ready to ride with his spurs never off his boots and a Coors beer can as a permanent fixture in his hand.
While his wife sat on the washing machine when it was in the spin cycle to keep it from walking across the floor of the tiny trailer house, he cheered her on. He claimed he really wanted to help her but his spurs might scratch the enamel and worse yet, that washer sitting made his beer foam up.
One night some years ago, I was watching the Blue Collar Comedy Tour and laughing enough for it to be an honor to the comedians. It is very funny when you hear what is so true told in stories in which you recognize your relatives.
My son, who was 11 at time, asked after a number of Jeff Foxworthy’s “you might be a redneck” jokes, “Mom what is a redneck?”
He immediately laid his hand on his neck and started to ask the logical question. I quickly explained that it didn’t mean the color of his neck exactly. It was more about his full closet of camouflage clothing, the hunting stories he already had stored in his memory and dreams of owning bigger guns, more ATVs and better hunting hounds.
Like the at least two generations before him, he wears a tag that is supposed to explain how we think and what we like. It just seems normal to us and before they came up with the name, it had no name.
For academic failure, that same boy spent some time grounded from the television except for educational TV. When I set that parameter I had no idea how difficult it would be for this genetically disposed redneck child to decipher what was “educational.”
In passing through the room I had to point out that Country Music Television was not considered educational programming.
“Well okay then. Mom, is ‘Gunsmoke’ educational?”
Julie can be reached for comment at Redneck Headquarters or firstname.lastname@example.org.