I love brisket and beef ribs. I love country music with a soulful groove. And I love men with a twang in their talk and a hat in their hand, bowing in my direction while calling me “Ma’am.”
So, it should be no surprise then that I also love Texas.
The three years that I spent living in Austin were some of the best of my 31 years of life. Not only was I traversing adulthood on my own accord, but I was doing so in the company of seasoned hippies, eccentric artists and handsome cowboys–at least, they looked like cowboys: Ten gallon hats, button-down shirts, starched Wrangler jeans, strategically placed belt buckles (which always captures my special attention), and boots fashioned out of some random pachyderm’s epidermis.
Yes, next to handsomely suave Hollywood heart-throbs, my infatuated heart also has a home on the range next to handsomely rugged cowboys. And thanks to my recent re-acquaintance with the handsomely talented – and heavily Texan – George Strait, my fire for cowboys has been reignited.
Last week, I watched CMT with mixed emotions as Strait sang a two hour-long goodbye to me – and his other fans – with one last live tour performance. He named the tour after his hit 1984 tune, “The Cowboy Rides Away.” Thirty years later, Strait fulfilled his song’s prophecy as the cowboy has ridden into retirement. Though I’m sad to see him go, I am happy to have observed Strait’s cowboy charm throughout the years.
Back in the day – before I became aware of the awesomeness that is country music – when I would hear the term southern gentleman, Rhett Butler would be the image that popped into my mind. But now that I’m on the country music bandwagon, Rhett has to share his once undisputed title with Strait…and Josh Turner…and Alan Jackson…and other velvet-voiced studs south of the Mason-Dixon line.
Now, of course, I don’t know any of these ‘cowboys’ personally. I don’t even know if they live on ranches, much less have ever worked as ranchers. Now that I think about it, I haven’t seen Josh Turner don a cowboy hat to date. Nevertheless, from what I have seen and heard from these country crooners, I don’t doubt their gentlemanly ways. (Politics notwithstanding.)
That’s why I vote no on Ed Bruce’s referendum to stop mammas from letting their babies grow up to be cowboys. Instead, I advocate the cowboy platform, which, according to another country crooner, Gene Autry, deems cowboys gentlemanly by default.
1. The Cowboy must never shoot first, hit a smaller man, or take unfair advantage.
2. He must never go back on his word, or a trust confided in him.
3. He must always tell the truth.
4. He must be gentle with children, the elderly and animals.
5. He must not advocate or possess racially and religiously intolerant ideas.
6. He must help people in distress.
7. He must be a good worker.
8. He must keep himself clean in thought, speech, action and personal habits.
9. He must respect women, parents and his nation’s laws.
10. The Cowboy is a patriot.
Indeed, Autry, indeed.
So you see, Mammas, it’s okay to let your babies grow up to be cowboys. So maybe horseback riding and roping and wearing cowboy hats won’t come naturally to him. Maybe your baby won’t be able to sing a lick. That’s fine. As long as he understands and practices the tenets of the Code, you, little lady, will have a gentlemanly ‘cowboy’ on your hands…as well as a herd of ‘cowboy’-loving women – like me – who can’t wait to be rounded up in his pen. (Breathe, Mamma, breathe.)
Copyright © 2014-2015 Stephanie Rochelle Redd. All rights reserved.