Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Cowboy Blood

I know I've mentioned several times in this blog that my husband almost always wears a cowboy hat. It's such a part of him that on the rare occasion that he isn't wearing one, he's inevitably asked, "Hey, where's your hat?" He's about the only person in our neck of the woods who wears a cowboy hat, as we live in New England--and not on a farm or a ranch, but on a cul-de-sac street lined with Colonial-style houses. We don't own horses--heck, we don't even have a dog (except when we're taking care of our son's dog, Allie). Nothing about our life here calls for this sort of western headgear, but the bottom line is this: my guy just plain likes cowboy hats.

When we were young, before we were married, my husband and I bought matching black felt cowboy hats (don't ask me why!). After we were married, we ended up spending a few years living in south Texas when he was stationed there in the Navy, so we got some good use out of them there when we went to western bars and attempted to learn the Two-Step. Down that way in the Lone Star State, the cowboy hats made sense; wearing them just made us blend in with the locals. Here in the Northeast, however...not so much.

I've often wondered what makes my husband such a fan of cowboy culture. For instance, one of his favorite movies of all time is "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid." Also, he's mentioned more than once that he thinks it would be very cool to be a rancher. But it's not like he's even spent all that much time on horseback or anything. I mean, there was that one memorable incident when he went horseback riding in Norway (while there on a summer cruise as a college Navy midshipman) and his horse threw him. That's a funny story, one which he tells very well. But I can't even remember if he's been on a horse since then.

So what is the source of this fascination with cowboys? I think I've finally figured it out: he's got cowboy blood.

Above is a copy of a movie poster from 1932. When my husband and I were dating in high school, his parents had a large version of this poster in their T.V. room, and my husband's father talked proudly about his mother's cousin, Tim McCoy, who'd been a big-time movie actor who reached the pinnacle of his fame at Columbia Pictures in the 1930's. The thing that's really neat about this poster is that Tim McCoy's name is huge, and then in tiny letters, it reads, "with John Wayne." This guy was a bigger star than the Duke at one time! Tim McCoy was the son of Irish immigrants (an Irish cowboy, like my husband) who starred in nearly 100 westerns, silent and talkie adventures, made in the 20's, 30's, and 40's.

So my new theory is that my husband wears a cowboy hat because he can't help it. It's part of his genetic make-up. It's just in his blood.

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