The Cowboy Way

by Jennifer on February 1, 2008

I have a big weakness for cowboys. The kind of weakness that would make me swoon, if women still swooned. Pull up the fainting couch, and clear out. That kind of weakness.

On my drive up to Payson today, I noticed a horse and rider on the opposite side of the highway (4 lanes), escorted by two sheriff’s vehicles. Behind them, the traffic was slowed and pushed into just one lane. I was curious, of course. Cowboy sighting! I drove on to Payson, got a quick bite to eat, then turned around toward home. After quite a few miles, I looked ahead and spotted another rider, and then another. I passed a couple of horse trailers pulled by capable looking trucks, and driven by hot, strong-looking men capable looking drivers. It became evident that this was some sort of organized ride.

I began to feel a little giddy. Not 12 years old, first crush giddy, but giddy in a sort of Yeah, I’m almost 40 and married, but I’m not dead, for the love of god kinda way.

There were old cowboys and young cowboys, and all sorts of cowboys in between. There were good looking ones, and ones whose looks were more rugged and bearded. But there was one undeniable thing about all of them: they were men.

Looking at them, it wasn’t hard to imagine how things on a ranch get done. My friends may laugh at me (go ahead, girls), but every now and then I just need to see a strong man driving a big pickup truck, hauling stuff. Maybe horses, maybe hay or some farm equipment. Doesn’t really matter what it is, as long as it looks useful. Who knows, in another life I may have been a pioneer woman. Or maybe someone just like Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, bringing my doctorin’ to an outpost town, where people would pay me in chickens. Or, maybe I was a barmaid in a saloon. (Well, someone had to be one. Don’t judge.) In any case, the cowboys got my attention.

And, for reasons that escape me since I’m a soccer mom who drives an Altima, I got their attention. It might have had something to do with my being the only chick, and a blonde one, on the road at that time, but I got a few waves. Then, up ahead, I noticed that about 8 horse trailers were at the side of the road in a pull-off area. Riders milled about among the trailers and horses. And in the lane next to me, the guy in a truck (who had already waved at me twice) pointed ahead and motioned that he was pulling off there.

I can live on this next moment for a solid week, probably longer, because then he motioned for me to stop, too.

In case you all missed these important facts: There were cowboys, a couple dozen of them, wearing hats and chaps and boots. Some walking around, some on their horses, just up ahead, like a freaking supermarket of maleness and (in my book) hotness. And, because I know you’re dying to know, YES I was wearing my boots. And my great suede jacket.

I had a decision to make. I imagined what would happen if, I steered my car off the road, alighted from my car with all the confidence of Katherine Ross in any western, and walked–no, strode–over to one of those cowboys who sat atop his horse. Wordless, he looked down at me, gave me a little how-you-doin’ raise of the eyebrow, and reached down so I could grip his arm as he swung me up behind him (he was very, very strong.). We rode for two hours, talking of our dreams and how I would fit right in on his bit of land (which was no less than 4000 acres). Then, with deep sadness and regret, we rode back to the highway and he delivered me to my Altima (my Altima, for f’s sake). I never got his name. It seemed beside the point.

This is a good time for me to give a big shout-out to Mr. H, in case he’s reading this. He already knows about the cowboys. And he’s fine with it as long as I don’t exchange phone numbers or smoke signals or cowboy poetry with any of them. Love you, honey!

(Insert guitar music here, and a lonely harmonica.)

Alas, my car never even slowed down. I drove on, and called my friend Mrs. B and told her that she would need to watch my kids for a few days, since I’d be out on the trail for a while. I was joking, but she would do that. She knows about the cowboys, too. She knows, and she laughs. (Just to be clear, the trail ride never happened, except in my fertile little mind. But I’m thinking of getting in touch with Harlequin Books.)

Because I had to know what they were doing out on the trail Highway 87, I did some Googling when I got home. Turns out, these guys are the Hashknife Pony Express riders, making their yearly mail delivery ride from Holbrook AZ to Scottsdale. It’s very cool, if you ask me.

But then, I have a weakness for cowboys.

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Tootsie Farklepants February 1, 2008 at 1:34 am

Oh. wow. I have a sudden urge to ride a bull. I mean, for real.

Brenda February 1, 2008 at 2:02 am

OK, if any of them looked like Sully (sp?), then MAAAAYYYBBBEEEEE it would have gripped me. So glad you had on your boots and suede jacket! NEXT TIME, stop and get a picture. A good excuse, right?!

Landon February 1, 2008 at 2:26 am

Oh my… (insert dramatic feminine fanning…)

And you would definitely be the barmaid. You have the brains of the doctor, but you’d be the barmaid.

suburbancorrespondent February 1, 2008 at 3:33 am

It’s firemen who do it for me…..maybe because we don’t have cowboys ’round these parts.

Emily February 1, 2008 at 11:39 am

That was fantastic. Now, cowboys don’t do it for me, but I love that they can still rock your world.

cce February 1, 2008 at 12:20 pm

Wait a minute. You actually stopped and rode a horse with one of these guys for awhile? He must have been really disappointed when he didn’t get a little something, something after that friendly trot. I’m having a hard time with this one….you, alone, in the middle of nowhere stop to hang with a bunch of strange men doing their cowboy thang. Sounds a little dangerous and trusting to me. But I guess it was real horses not motorcycles so the climate was different? Gasp.

Mrs. G. February 1, 2008 at 7:24 pm

I, too, have a weakness for cowboys…and in the last year, westerns-which now that I think about it are full of cowboys. Have you ever read any Pam Houston? She likes ’em too.

Jennifer February 1, 2008 at 2:14 pm

cce, it was wishful thinking. Turns out, you can’t get in any trouble for that. 🙂 In the second to last paragraph, I noted that my car never even slowed down. The whole diorama took place in my fertile little mind! Thanks for reading, here–I’m glad you stopped by! (also, after reading your comment, I put a clarifying sentence in the post, so there’s no confusion…)

cce February 1, 2008 at 9:23 pm

Oh good… I’m glad for your SAFE and fertile daydreams.

Kellan February 1, 2008 at 9:25 pm

Yes … I do too. I married one! I even called him “The Cowboy” on my blog when I started my blog. I love cowboys too and I loved this post – so cute!! Great story!

Have a great weekend Jennifer – see you soon. Kellan

Angela February 1, 2008 at 10:37 pm

Oh…this is such a pretty new place! I love it!

HRH February 2, 2008 at 3:09 am

Oh I couldn’t agree more. I am still mad at my parents for not being Ma and Pa Ingalls. I am so relieved you were wearing the boots and maybe you need to post a pic of the cute leather jacket as well!

Mo (Un-Mainstream Mom) February 2, 2008 at 6:11 am

Cowboys are so sexy! For me though, they don’t have to be cowboys to be hot. Firemen, police officers, construction workers…all hot! My guy is a welder, so when he comes home dirty and sweaty, I think he’s gorgeous.

Thanks for stopping by my blog by the way.

JCK February 2, 2008 at 6:29 am

O.K., you! I was completely gone. I guess it was the romantic in me. I was with you pulling over. And yes, I too, have a great weakness for cowboys.

This was really well written. Forget Harlequin, you could do a novel on this. I’d buy it. Loved it!

Jennifer February 2, 2008 at 6:40 am

It had been a few weeks since I went for my drive, so I thought I’d end up with some quiet, reflective thoughts to post. But I have to say, this was so much more fun!

Thanks, everyone, for your great comments and for stopping by. I’m off to the fainting couch…

flutter February 2, 2008 at 7:54 am

So they’ll end up in my neck of the woods? rrroooowwwrrrr

Cherie February 2, 2008 at 4:04 pm

Happy trails…to you! 😉

Your story took me back to the drives we used to take back east. Back then we were smitten by scenery, serenity—and guys in general!

Always the romantic. Loved the visuals and adventure. It’s what I adore about you!

Now for some of that serenity…..sigh……

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