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Cowboys, hot and old and tired.

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I didn’t grow up in a promising environment for cowboys.  Hawaii is good for a lot of things, but the open range isn’t one of them.  I spent my childhood on the island of Oahu, where you go 90 miles in any direction and you’re in the drink.  The only cowboys (or anything close to that description) I ever encountered were the Filipino guys working on the plantations, where sometimes there were horses and riders thereof.  Most of them were old and tired.  I remember reading about the Parker Ranch on the Big Island (island of Hawaii) which was a real ranch with (presumably) real cowboys, but I never got over there when I could investigate the proposition.  The only time I went to the Big Island back then, which didn’t really count, was when I persuaded my parents to let me fly with my cousins over the volcano when it was erupting.  This was before the 80s or whenever it was that Kilauea Crater started making a business of erupting, which it’s been doing ever since with greater or lesser intensity depending on the day.  I don’t think any of the airlines  bother making commercial flights over it to thrill the tourists now.

When we moved up to the mainland, I got a little more familiar with the phenomenon of cowboys, because my mother’s family was from Utah, and there were a few more around there, although everyone I knew there was gentrified and lived in brick houses in cities and towns.  Berkeley, California, which turned out to be where we lived, had various other kinds of eccentrics.

It wasn’t until I was a lot older that I suddenly comprehended the special charm of cowboys.  It came on a video that Bonnie Raitt made of “Are You Ready for Love?”.  It was great — Bonnie’s wonderful long red hair all over the place, her marvelous touch with the guitar, and, best of all, Dennis Quaid sitting there watching her sing, wearing a cowboy hat, chewing on a piece of hay (I think), and from the look in his eyes, I suddenly realized What It Was All About.

Good thing I didn’t encounter him until I was well and truly married, encumbered with house, husband, and children. Good grief!  I might have never married an Englishman!

Anybody else come late to the special charm of a rugged man in a cowboy hat, with raw lechery in his eyes?

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8 Responses

  1. Is it really too bad that you never got a chance to see the Paniolos in action. That would be Hawaiin for cowboy, and they’ve been around since the early 1800’s, even longer than in many parts of the US. There is a great documentary about them called Holo Holo Paniolo. These guys are wild.

    You also probably didn’t know that there is rodeo in Hawaiin. One of my college rodeo teammates was a Hawaiin saddle bronc rider.

    If I ever get to Hawaii, I want to visit the ranches. Yeah, you heard me. Fly across the ocean to go look at cows. Talk about a busman’s vacation, huh?

  2. Well, you don’t have to grow up around them to appreciate them, do you? I mean, there is just something about them, all loose-limbed and weathered, just begging for you to crack through their dusty defenses.

    Hawaiian, American or any other – ian, I’ll take a cowboy over a lily-livered citified boy.

    Okay, I like citified sophisticates, too. Who am I kidding? 🙂

  3. Glad you finally got the cowboy appeal, though I’ll not comment on it being Quaid. Bleck. 🙂

    Funny, I always had the cowboy appeal, but it’s only been recently that I found the appeal of an englishman man. *vbg*

  4. “In the drink.” LOL Never heard that one before. Too funny!

    Lived around them and danced with them, but didn’t marry one. My husband is from the big city of Houston. But he can dance! And looks pretty darn good in jeans and a cowboy hat so I get my fix. 🙂

  5. Well, I knew in theory about the paniolos, KariLyn, but as I said, they were mainly over on the island of Hawaii. Oahu wasn’t the spot. I’m not sure they were having rodeos back in those days — at least I never heard about them. I was taken by my father to polo matches, which I absolutely loved, but that’s a whole different story. Maybe set me up for my Englishman!

    Liz (can’t help wanting to add /Amy — I’ll adjust, I’ll adjust!), I think you have to sort of get into the whole western thing, which was just left out of my make up. My best friend in Hawaii was nuts about country music, which I didn’t get into for years later. She came up to spend a year of high school with my family (long story, that) and during that year we were semi-siblings, and she just about drove me crazy with her country music and her obsession with Gone With The Wind, so I was turned off by it all more than anything else.

    Now, Keri. I thought Quaid was lovely. I know nothing more about him except that video, but that video was great. Isn’t it fortunate we all get turned on by different folks? Just stay away from my Englishman! *vbg back at you!*

    Melissa, I am here to tell you that Houston is still cowboyland as far as I’m concerned — at least a lot closer to it than Kailua, Hawaii; Berkeley, California; London, England; and Troy, Michigan, which have been my stomping grounds! My youngest daughter, brought up in Michigan, went down to Texas to work one of her promotional jobs, and emailed me, “Mom, they really do wear cowboy hats and boots down here — and great big belts. How weird!”

    So you see where I come from?

  6. Beppie:

    One of the people I hang out with on Twitter is a cowboy who works on a big spread in Nevada. You did say your current book is set there didn’t you? If you run into questions, let me know, I’ll hook you up with Jon.

  7. KariLynn (sorry for leaving off one of your n’s before!) that would be fantastic. Thanks so much. It’s my Nanowrimo book, which is currently pretty much in abeyance since I had a request for a partial on my just-finished WIP from one agent and then a request for the full from another agent who’d had a partial. Needless to say, Nanowrimo got pushed to one side while I concentrated on the bird in the hand! We’re going to Boston next week for Thanksgiving with our daughter there, but I’ll be back at the Nevada book in early December and will say please please please! to contacting your Twitter friend then.

    Thanks a million!

  8. love cowboys wohoo
    have a graet weekend

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