Old Ghosts

Old Ghosts

I keep a hand drawn picture on my wall above my bench of my Grandpa.  I hung it there because I wanted to channel that cowboy energy while I worked on leather stuff.  There’s just something about it that stirs the kid in me, still brandishing that old cap gun.  Recently it had me wondering what it is that really makes a cowboy? I’ve come to the conclusion that whatever it is I probably don’t have it.  I can barely keep the pets alive and I’ve rode a horse less times than the fingers on one hand. Although, I don’t think its just the horse or the hat that turns a person into a cowboy.  Theres an element of grit and toughness, honest work and moral courage. 

Grandpa grew up dirt floor poor.  He dug the trench one length of water pipe at a time as they could afford materials to bring water into the house.  He traded work to a masonry guy for a concrete bathtub, and he walked their milk cow up and down the road each day so it could graze since they didn’t have pasture.  He learned how to break the ornery horses and my mom says he would always buy a horse before he had land to keep it.  He also dabbled in silver work.  

I’m definitely not a cowboy, but I’d like to think he’d be proud of the work I’m doing.  I have had a few times where it feels like he might be close by, maybe tipping his hat in approval.  Though the real cowboys are slipping into legend, that cowboy spirit lives on and is as strong as the ties that bind. 

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