#78 In Roads-Country charm


I walk into a place in Cody, Wyoming and lo and behold, bellied up to the bar are friends from California. As amazing as that is to me, even more interesting is the fact that they were just telling a cowboy about my project. Next thing I know I’m shaking hands with the local guy who’s given up ranching, doesn’t own a truck anymore and lives four blocks from the Irma Hotel. He’s retired as a farrier and says he’s been a ranch hand all his life. His rugged hands have fingers bent from arthritis and he has sun scars on his face. He and his wife moved out west from Chicago 40-years ago and, even though he’s no longer married, he says he’s happy he relocated. I asked what made him decide to move. “Common sense,” the 63-year old tells me with a nod.

Then he asks my age and leans in close. “You know, you’re still in good shape for 58. You’re pretty, too.” I accuse Jimmy of flirting with me. “I’m not flirting, I’m just telling you what time it is. When’s the last time somebody told you what time it was, anyway? See, you’re fun to talk to and you have a nice light in your eye. You’re good people, I can tell that from here. You should be told you’re pretty, now what’s wrong with that? Nothing at all. You need a dose of that.” I’m blushing as he pats my hand and winks with a twinkle in his eye. I’d forgotten about the cowboy brand of charm, but I feel like I’ve just been sized up by a guy buying a horse.

He tells about his only motorcycle ride. He was 14. “My brother had a ’49 Harley when I was a young man. I didn’t even have a driver’s license and he tells me to drive that SOB. I was petrified. It had a suicide stick, a foot clutch and a windshield. Big old saddlebags, the whole deal. He was on back and he tells me “Ok, shift now,” and I’m freaking out. I tell him I’m too scared. He reaches up and shifts it for me. We didn’t crash but it scared the total piss out of me. Motorcycles are just not for me.” I ask if horses scared him, too. “Well no, you can reason with a horse. I can charm an animal to my way of thinking.” I giggle and point out that I’m sure he can do the same with the ladies as I bid my farewell. Jimmy reaches over and kisses my hand goodbye as he tips his hat. It’s the cowboy way.



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