For those of you who don’t know this already, I married a cowgirl. I’m not sure if her family had any cows out there in Gypsum, Kansas but they always had horses and her Dad was an International Harvester dealer. So in this case, she really did rope me into marrying her. I never had a chance. The day we met she had a bumper sticker on her car that said, “Barrel racer Cowboy chaser.” I thought it was kind of funny but clearly she thought it was a fair warning.
It wasn’t long after we started dating that she took me out to see some friends who had a working cattle ranch in the Flint Hills near Manhattan. She arranged for us to go riding without really asking me first but since I was young and dumb I agreed. They gave us a choice of 2 quarter horses named Lightning and Bullet. My reasoning was limited to which one looked less dangerous and therefore I chose Bullet. It was the first of many bad decisions on my part but hey I’m still here. Carol jumped up on Lightning and waited a few seconds for me to follow on Bullet. As soon as I got my leg over, she took off and Bullet just couldn’t wait any longer to show me how he got his name. I didn’t have my feet in the stirrups or both hands on the reins when he hit top speed. I was just barely able to stay in the saddle as Bullet charged after Carol and Lightning. All I could see was her long brown hair whipping in the wind while she rode in this crouched position way up close to the horse’s head and spurring him for all she was worth. It was only then that I realized my unsuccessful beating on Bullet’s rump was more like stomping on his gas pedal. I tried to make nice but by then he just wanted me to get off. He was going so fast and I was so not in control that the buzzards started to gather overhead. We ran hard for more than a mile before Carol let up a little and Bullet did too. I could tell she was shocked that I had survived my first real ride on a fast horse. I finally had to admit that my previous experience had been at the petting zoo. I guess not being thrown from the horse made me a prospect, for a cowgirl.
Little did I know what to expect when dealing with cowgirls. Apparently, there is something called 4 H where farm girls go to learn useful things like sewing, cooking and roping city boys. Did you know there are at least 365 ways to make a jello salad, one for every possible occasion? She got me hooked on her Hot Chicken Salad which apparently contains some derivative of heroin as its key ingredient. The other trick they pull is to put their names on the back of their belts so guys have an extra reason to check out their butts. Is that inscrutable or what? 4 H should be outlawed, as far as I’m concerned, or at least be required to produce public service announcements on the radio about the dangers associated with dating cowgirls. She finally finished me off with her ability to drive a full-size heavy-duty pickup while pulling a trailer full of golf cars for her Dad.
The odd part is she didn’t want to stay in Gypsum, she wanted to move to the city. We’ve been suburbanites for 30 years now but there are times when I know she would be happier elsewhere with lots of animals and fewer people. I guess it’s true, you can take the girl out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the girl.
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