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The Care & Feeding of a Half Century Old Cowboy

andy_fencingCowboys can take a beating, it’s true. And while you won’t hear them complain very often, sometimes it’s all too evident that things are out of whack. After all, hitting the ground shoulder first at what is almost assuredly mach 10, after flying off a horse on the side of a hill will leave a bruise here and there, at the very least.

Now, most cowboys are the jack-of-all-trades type, which means they might be horseback one day, digging ditches the next, grading roads with the tractor the day after that, and finish out the week with fixing fences or – Heaven forbid – mechanicing (I realize this is not really a word in most parts of the country)!

This extreme variety of work uses different sets of muscles and presents various hazards that can take their toll on a body…especially a nearly 50-year-old body, that houses a brain that, of course, is only 25 years old. Daily maintenance is key, for both the body and the spirit.

Lube, Oil & Filter

In order to keep things from drying up and getting brittle, make sure your cowboy is well armed with cases of bottled water. It’s hot outside and he’s sweating buckets, no doubt. The last thing you want is for him to get heat stroke and he will inevitably vomit all over the sofa.

As for the filtering part, as much as he may protest about eating anything that doesn’t resemble the dead part of a cow, or an Idaho spud, do your best to camouflage the greenery. I find that Tobasco sauce works wonders. Keep a bottle for him everywhere….the kitchen of course, but the saddle bags, the pickup, his mother’s house, etc.

brand12008_107Lather, Rinse, Repeat

Cowboying is dirty work. If he doesn’t come home smelling like a horse or a cow, he will probably smell like some chemical that he was using to spray weeds, mixed with some diesel fuel and that smell that men just get when they’ve been outside working all day – you know what I’m talking about. Naturally, he’ll want to sit down (on your sofa) and relax for a bit when he gets home, but encourage him to shower before eating dinner in that condition. Not only will everyone else’s appetite stay intact, but there’s no amount of Tobasco sauce that can kill what may transfer from his person to his plate.

You want me to do what?

Even though he may be pushing 50 on the outside, the inside is probably more like……..12, in many, many ways. This isn’t to say that he isn’t a man of stability and reason, but go to the doctor? Seriously? He can chop a rattlesnake in two, go head to head with a pissed off mama cow, and ride in the freezing cold to get the job done, but his knees start knocking if you talk about getting his teeth cleaned. Chances are he’ll only see a doctor if he really thinks he’s dying, and maybe not even then. Cowboys make good cowboys because they are relatively stubborn and tenacious, so those traits don’t stop at the door when he comes home. Encourage him to see a doctor if necessary, because you want him around a long time so that you can have a happy, beef-filled life together. He won’t do you any good in a pine box before he’s 60. Besides, who will you harass if he’s gone?

IMG_0674smFeed the Spirit……

….but leave the Tobasco sauce in the cupboard for this one. While he may be tough as nails on the outside, the inside is soft & sweet with a caramel nougat center. He won’t show you this all that often, and he certainly won’t tell you anything that might give you a clue that his insides need some TLC. Nope, you get to figure this out all on your own. When his insides are hurting it seems the outside will get even tougher for a period of time. As much as you’d like to comfort him and make it all better, usually he needs to do that in his own time, in his own way. In his mind, he is the provider of all comfort and reassurance, not the recipient, and trying to convince him otherwise is pretty much a futile effort. Save your energy and go throw a tri-tip on the BBQ for him.

And for crying out loud, hide the Tobasco sauce!

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