Sunday, October 16, 2011
A Very Disappointing Cowboy!
The day dawned with a sharp chill that warmed to a most perfect autumn temperature. It was my birthday, and I was grateful for the gift of one more sun-filled seasonal day. My birthday occurs amid busy harvest celebrations everywhere, people crowding in as many events as they can before winter arrives. My birthday always shares the week with the Maple Leaf Parade, Apple Butter Making Days, PSU Homecoming, often the War Eagle Mill arts and crafts, and many more. No way one can participate in them all.
Yesterday was a divided day. Some family came for the parade, a sandwich lunch afterwards on the deck, and in the afternoon DH and our friend made the PSU game while family and I went to the town square for local craft vendors. The morning’s parade was routine, less interesting than some years. Politicians bustled, more tractors tooted along than normal, and one team of gorgeous Clydesdales pulling a farm wagon paraded down the avenue. They were beauties, those horses!
Among the saddle clubs, mounted sheriff’s posse, and single riders, a middle-aged cowboy stuck out. His coal black horse with a glistening coat stepped high. His rider was outfitted in black Stetson over black leather vest. His narrow black tie was bowed under a crisp white shirt collar. But they were a trio because a blue-eyed cow dog marched at the horse’s hooves too. Intent to stay near horse and rider, the working dog was not distracted by crowds, other animals or any parade commotion.
Later that afternoon after visiting the square, my sister, niece and I walked back to the car a block off the square where we saw the splendid black horse tied to a light pole while the cowboy across the street talked to a man. The horse was distressed, pawing the concrete (Could he have been thirsty tied in sun?); the cowboy snarled at the horse and advanced. We all three slowed our pace while eyeing the scene, but I knew what was going to happen. I saw the mean glint in that booted stride. The dog knew too, as he whimpered, cried, and backed up--his throaty whimpers begging a quiet NO.
The cowboy, no the man doesn’t deserve the honored moniker, the rider took a leather strap and smacked the horse’s foreleg. The slap of leather to skin echoed and my sister said loudly enough, “That is so uncalled for.” We paused, the man turned and starred. It could have been the same tension as air just before the gunfight at the OK corral! He did not hit the horse again in our sight, but yanked on the reins while verbally scorning the horse.
The niece wanted to confront the man more, but I explained a man of that disposition would not listen to any reason. My sister endorsed my stand saying that more confrontation from us would make the man more angry causing the animals more pain and suffering later. In the long run, silent disdain was our best option. So our lovely day was marred by this scene that stuck with us for hours ahead. It is hard to see that a saddle and Stetson don’t make a real cowboy; they don’t even make a real man.