I didn’t take the decision to hang up my spurs casually.
The cowboy life has been a part of my family for generations. My Father and Mother, their parents, their parents’ parents and the settlers that came before them. My abandonment of the cowboy life has been something that I’ve been wrestling with for years, it represents a final breath of the Old West and a step into a brave new world of modernity that has existed in the urban centres of our country for decades.
So what made me throw in the proverbial towel? Why did I feel the need to forsake the identity that has been handed down to me like a priceless heir loom for so many decades?
I grew up on a ranch in the Deep South. [Only true Southerners capitalise the ‘D’ and ‘S’, it’s indicative of a deep respect for what our forefathers went through to settle the land and goes some way to presenting how important it is to our identity.] I spent the majority of my youth outside, riding horses, herding cattle, fixing fence and making a nuisance of myself. I never considered what a life spent inside might be like, because I never thought that I would live one.
Unfortunately, the days doing those little jobs fixing fence and herding cattle were numbered, I just didn’t know it yet.
Today, my line of work is far removed from what it once was. When I explain my job to new friends they often make a face, as if to say: ‘That’s actually something people do?”
You see, I sell and design custom glass manifestations. They’re the vinyl stickers or decals that are stuck onto floor-to-ceiling windows and doors to prevent people from walking into them. They may seem a little insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but in many states they are mandatory in public buildings.
As these glass manifestations are mandatory for most buildings with floor to ceiling windows, I get regular calls from folks looking to make their building’s safety compliant and they’re always surprised to see a cowboy delivering their vinyl stickers.
You see, unlike many of my other friends who have traded in their cowboy hats for suits, I’ve stuck to my roots…to a certain extent.
As many of my customers note to me: ‘You can take the man out of the Deep South, but you can’t take the Deep South of the man.’
I’m proud to still speak with a thick Southern drawl, something that will probably be with me for the rest of my life and I don’t feel complete unless I have my stetson with me. Much to the chagrin of my daughters, I still drive a large pickup truck to all of my business appointments, regardless of whether I need the trunk space or not, and in my mind no summer weekend is complete without a good old-fashioned BBQ.
The cowboy spirit is an indomitable one that can exist in all sorts of environments. I’ve lived the true cowboy life and now I’m happy to say that I’ve done what it takes to keep the tradition living on.