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I have a beautiful wife, an infant son & a schnauzer. viva la tex-mex. Words that describe or excite: Missional, Glocal, Lead, Innovate, Initiate, Create, Risk, Community

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Becoming the Heros that We Ought to Be

I went to the Fort Worth Rodeo and Livestock Show tonight with my parents. It was a blast! I grew up in Cowtown, USA, and for most of my teenage years I turned my back on anything remotely having to do with that scene. Country music (not that anything on country radio deserves our attention anyway), boots, belt buckles, and pearl button snaps, these were all things that were seemingly uncool to me.

Well I repent. It has been in the making for along time. Starting in college when thrift store couture was at its peak I began searching out western belt buckles, old western shirts, and the like. Then always being an avid fan of good music (my wife would say: read: rock snob) I began to rekindle a love for the likes of Ernest Tubbs, Hank Williams Sr., Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, Waylon, Willie & the boys, and The Man in Black. Jump forward to today and you can add Emmylou Harris, Ryan Adams, Wilco, and Graham Parsons, among others.

But today at the rodeo I saw so many down-turned mustaches, weathered faces and hands, manure stained boots, and sweat salted hat brims that I was stirred inside. Then I saw somebody I recognized, I was like a little kid, asking my dad excitedly "Who's that guy? I know him? Where do I know him from?"

My dad told me "That's Buck Taylor, Newly, from Gunsmoke."

My hot wife (trust me) was right on his heels with "You know; Texas Creek Jack Johnson, from Tombstone." One of her all time favorite movies. Most girls go for Pretty Women, or Fried Green Tomatoes or that sorta crap. But Tombstone!, she's hot and rarely does she have a desire for either of us to sit down and watch a 'chic flick.' See why I had to marry a girl like that?

Anyway, back to my story. I was in awe, I had seen Newly, not Marshall Matt Dillon, but as close as I was ever gonna get. Buck Taylor, as he is known in real life, is a real cowboy with a working ranch somewhere around Boyd, I think. From here we looked at more tractors, wooden furniture, and the like; until it was time for the rodeo.

It was somewhere in the midst of all this that I realized every man wants deep down inside to be a real honest-to-gawd-cowboy. We put on airs, button down and get real jobs, become civilized, sometimes to the point that we actually scoff at such a life. But oh do we really want it, deep down every man must admit it. Cowboy, it strikes fear and wonder and excitement into the heart of every boy and if you dig deep, in every grown man too.

To be a cowboy implies a freedom so exilirating its dangerous. To be a cowboy speaks of a ruggedness most men dare not dream of. To be a cowboy is to find out the answer to the question most of us fear the most: Do I have what it takes? The makings of a real man, handle wild beasts, survive off the land, protect ourselves from man and nature, are all wrapped up in what it means to be a real cowboy. Real cowboys, real men.

As I sat there--as those men wrestle steer to the ground with their bare hands; or get every bone in their body and screw in their head jarred loose on bareback buck or a snot-nosed bull; or run towards the bull while wearing face paint just to give the downed rider a moments safety by giving up their own--I knew every man has what it takes. It is what God made us for. He created us to tame and conquer the wild bests, to wow the ladies and provide for them. He made us to hunger for adventure and danger and take life by the horns and conquer evil. God made us to be cowboys.

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