Sunday, March 17, 2013

Thoughts on Cowboys and Facebook

“He’s the real deal”, Meredith said.  She, Barry, Cindy and I were sitting on the porch of Twin Rocks Cafe, enjoying the mid-March sun and talking earnestly about, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and a variety of other social networking sites that have developed over the past few years.  Barry and I have decided we are living in the dark ages when it comes to social media, and Meredith, a whiz at that sort of thing, has agreed to enlighten us.  The object of Meredith’s comment was a cowboy.  Not the urban or rhinestone type, but the “real deal”; part of a dying breed.

3 Cows

As the late afternoon shadows glided across the cement, a rusty 1970s era Dodge flatbed pickup, with worn-out stock trailer attached, approached from the west.  Making an arcing circle in the gravel lot, its driver parked parallel to the street.  On the back of the truck was a gray, white and black short-haired cow dog and in the trailer was a fully saddled and bridled horse.  Two calves accompanied the steed, cozying up to it like they were its offspring.

The door of the Dodge creaked open and the youthful cowboy eased out.  He wore leather chaps, a large brimmed straw hat and a sweat stained mustard yellow button-down shirt.  Standing next to the truck, he unhitched his chaps, carefully placed them on the seat and pulled up the legs of his well worn Wrangler jeans, exposing the bright red, intricately embroidered tops of his riding boots.  Tucking his trousers into the boots, he walked towards us, spurs jingling.  Barry and I concluded the only thing missing was a turquoise bracelet or two.

He was a long, tall drink of water, likely 6’ 5” or more, and a front tooth was missing.  We decided he must be in his early to mid-twenties, although the range had unnaturally aged his skin.  As he walked passed our table, he nodded his head, politely acknowledging us.

The next day I was meandering around Twin Rocks Trading Post, arranging baskets and Navajo rugs and generally doing the busy work associated with managing a small business.  As I rambled about the store, a couple walked in.  They said they were from eastern Wyoming, and he was also a real cowboy.  Though different in age and dress; he chose lace-up boots, a silk scarf around his neck and a less ostentatious hat, this older man had the same, quiet, respectful demeanor as the younger man who had visited a day earlier.  Pleasant to talk with, the older fellow told stories of working outside with the livestock in 30 degree below zero temperatures and being on the range when the wind cut like a razor.

As we talked, a 20ish woman wearing a rumpled, loose fitting dress and orange Crocks on her feet, scurried in.  Stepping between the cowboy and me several time, she interrupted our conversation with self-important comments, checked her Facebook messages on the smart phone and generally upset the peaceful atmosphere of the trading post with her frenetic personality.

The cowboy endured the interruptions, answering her inquiries with a gentle, patient and understanding air, continuing our conversations when she subsided.  Experience had taught him, hers was a temporary inconvenience.  If he could survive 30 below, he could surely survive her.  Finally his wife, having had enough of the woman’s impertinence, turned towards the door.  As the cowboy did the same, the woman decided she too needed to go and, rather than waiting her turn to exit, inserted herself between the cowboy and his wife.  He held the door, tipped his hat as she went out and gave me a knowing wink.  When the store was empty, I thought about the marketing we were doing with Meredith, the “disclose everything, look at me” attitude of the Facebook crowd and cowboy values.  Manners, respect for others, courtesy, patience and honor are all things a cowboy inherently understands, and things the Facebook generation, and those of us venturing into that realm, need to appreciate.

With warm regards,
Steve, Barry, Priscilla and Danny; The Team

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