Thursday, May 28, 2009

Mamas, don't let your babies grow up and date cowboys

Before I astound you with my expertise in all things ground and water, I have to introduce you to a new character. A new character I like to call, “Man Toy” “Cowboy.”

Cowboy said I could use his real name. He said he has nothing to fear, nothing to hide and either way his skin is thick. 

He’s wrong. 

He has no idea who reads this and how scary you people are.

And before the North Dakota Game and Fish Department recruits me to fill its open Wildlife Biologist Extraordinaire Executive position (that story comes next), I should first tell you who Cowboy is and how we met... at choir practice. 

Like most of the boys I meet at choir practice, I initially assumed creeper. I’d have given him a fake phone number too, had it not been for his FLOODED APARTMENT. Lucky duck.

But as such, I sipped my lemon water, passed him a business card and scribbled my authentic 10-digit code. A source like this would land me a big story and I didn’t want to insult him with a phony (402).

See, I’d sojourned to Cowboy’s township a few days prior for an article on the high waters there (remember the sandbags?). 

During my tour, I explored the six-home metropolis spanning four traffic-light-less streets in about 10 minutes.

The true clock consumers were the ice/water/mud-covered streets, mailboxes and doorways. No matter how many I saw, I couldn’t stop staring. 

So, while I'd heard stories of this "now-homeless ranch hand," I didn't have a chance to meet him. The daylight was gone and a deadline beckoned. 

So, when I met Cowboy at choir later that week, I knew who he was. He even knew who I was. I told him how sorry I was for all he’d been through, and that I’d be honored to tell his story if he’d be willing to let me. 

It was just a matter of setting up the interview, which I would have done, had he not ASKED ME TO DINNER first. 

This complicates things, I said.

So he took me to the nicest restaurant in town where we ate buffalo and talked of wine, seafood, literature and deer sausage. 

Me, dressed in a sophisticated scarf and pointy-toed shoes. He, dressed in Wrangler jeans and a 10-gallon hat. 

In all things country, Cowboy is exactly who I’m not. While I could write encyclopedias on city wardrobe, lifestyle and etiquette, I can only write a blog on all things rural and ridiculous. 

And whilst Cowboy could challenge Annie Oakley to games of shoot-the-hairy-woodchuck and build-a-fire-out-of-Coke-cans-and-cotton-balls, he knows nothing of style and design. Suffice it to say his attire appreciation is limited to A). shirts go on the top half and B). camo is NEVER APPROPRIATE on a lady.

He can’t help it. 

The man hails from the land of cow pastures and gravel roads. He grew up on a sheep farm and in a high school with fewer students than the honor roll of my graduating class. 

When he told me he’d cook me dinner sometime, I told myself I’d never see him again. 

Sure, he'd opened doors, paid for dinner and even offered me his jacket. But I was so not having it. Not only was I not interested in a man with woodland print in his wardrobe, but to date a source is two words: lame.

Six weeks later, the Cowboy’s taken me gardening, fishing and country cruising. With him, I've even chased cows, walked dogs and bottle-fed calves. 

I have yet to formally interview the GREATEST SOURCE EVER but I do water board ask him a few questions every now and then. 

Now, I know what you're thinking. "Oh, Katie found a country boy. Before you know it, she'll start eating roadkill and blowing her nose without Kleenex." But stop it.

These country boys carry guns, ammo and pocket knives with 13 different multi-tools. Although I have no idea how to use ANY OF THEM, you'd be best not to mess with me. That's all I'm sayin. 

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