Cowboys are romantic, they say. Uh-huh. Every one I know can get downright eloquent when discussing a new baby calf, his favorite using horse or his best cow dog. We females find that quite attractive.
But what about us? My theory is they like human female companionship, but they just don’t know how to say things like, “You look great” or “Mmm, you smell good.”
They’re more likely to say, “You tailed up that calf like a pro,” or “You handled that young horse muy bueno.”
There is another problem that gets in the way of romance. Cowboys have “pardners.” When a cowboy gets married, the new wife usually has her husband’s “pard” as a permanent house guest for the first six months or until she finally sends him on his way.
Here’s an example of the romance problem. You spend hours getting the dirt and manure out from under your fingernails and the hat crease out of your hair. You ask, “How do I look?” His eyes glaze over and he mumbles, “Fine. You ready to go?”
When I was a new bride I thought, one day, he’d figured out this romance deal. With me. It was a cold, windy spring day and, as usual, it had not rained and we were still feeding. He came to the house, brought me my coat, turned on that nifty little smile and said, “I’ve got the feed loaded. Wanta come with me?”
I figured he really didn’t need any help because the feed pickup was rigged where one person could handle it alone. A cotton rope ran from the driver’s window to the feed box door so you could drive along in grandma gear and hold the door open so the range cubes could pour out.
The cattle were used to coming to the pickup when it honked, so you could get a count and check on everybody’s health while you were at it.
So he just wanted my scintillating company, right?
I shoved the wire pliers, screw driver and empty gunny sack onto the floorboard and sat next to him. Between pastures I fiddled with the radio and found a fairly decent station.
Most of the pasture gates were the kind where the cedar post fits into a wire loop near the ground and you’ve gotta hug the top of the post and shove it toward the post on the fence so you can lift the wire off the top of the post. After you’ve gone through the gate, the hug-the-post procedure is repeated to close the thing.
I’m kind of a weakling so I had trouble with some of them, but I didn’t complain. My “romantic” husband fiddled with the radio while I struggled except for once when I yelled out, “I can’t get it.” He grinned indulgently while he made it look easy.
When we got back to the barn he looked at his watch and said, “Look at that. We got finished in record time. I knew it’d go faster with you along to open the gates.”
Glenda Price has been a contributing editor to New Mexico Stockman magazine since 1982. Contact her: