I was 16 and pregnant in that photo……
The Early Years
When I married a cowboy, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Technically I was a city girl, well, as citified as you can get coming from Sweetwater, TX but I dang sure wasn’t no country gal so you can imagine how it might have been to make that adjustment when I married.
It’s hard to enough to adjust to married life in a regular situation but when you’re 16 and pregnant, well that’s even harder. We were young, *I* was young and I can think of three things that made cowboy life so hard…….1) the moving 2) the lack of money 3) the drinking with all the cowboys, but it’s all three of those things that make me appreciate our life even more today.
It’s only natural that a young man would want to go out drinking with his brothers and friends but it was the ‘leaving the wife at home’ that chapped my hide. So much so that we fought for a long time over it. It was perfectly normally for the cowboys to leave their wives at home, head to the ranch bunkhouse to drink and trade but it was new to me. And unlike some of those other wives….I just wasn’t gonna sit by and not say anything. He still went out drinking with his brothers but not as much as he would have liked to. While he may not admit to this day, it’s the truth. I gave him hell, enough to make him think twice about it. I know now that he truly wanted to drink with his brothers while sitting at some barn, trading for cowboy goods much like he does today, not doing anything wrong mind just having a good time with his friends, but I was young and selfish then. I just didn’t understand but I do now.
Moving. Oh lord the moving–The moving me out in the middle of nowhere. And Cowboys can quit a job in a heartbeat. I still remember when he worked at the feedlot. I remember the day he came home and said he quit because cowboys don’t paint fences. “They may mend them but they don’t paint them”, he said. “Real cowboys just don’t do that” was something I had to learn the meaning of real quick. I didn’t understand it then but I do now. He wasn’t too good to paint, he was just following he dreams–sticking to his guns of being a real cowboy. We moved more times than I care to count, each place providing a new ranch living experience and chasing dreams of the cowboy way of life from ranch to ranch. I always knew we’d be okay no matter where we moved ’cause we had each other but it was hard. Hard for me to make friends, hard for the kids to adjust but we got through it and he got it out of his system so that now we’re living comfortable in one place where we’re happy, a place where the kids are happy. Sometimes he misses the big ranches, dreams about how he wished he had gone to Arizona to work and if ever wanted to do any of that, I’d be right there with him, no questions asked ’cause that’s what real cowboys do..drift and dream. Pack everything up, throw it in a trailer and see what’s in store on the next horizon….
The poor times. I’ve said it a million times and it’s pretty well known that cowboys don’t make much money. Not ranch cowboys anyways and that’s what he was, a tried and true cowboy all the way. We’ve made less than $750 with two kids, a truck to pay for, and bills to pay but we got through, always. We might have had to send the two very young kiddos off once due to the lack of groceries or I might have even had to write a hot check to buy those groceries until the next paycheck came but we managed. We didn’t need much else and while I’d like to have had nice things, they weren’t necessary. We had food, family, friends, and each other.
Cowboys are rough, a little rowdy and drifters but they’re good guys. And if you ever fall for one, just remember….Cowboys Ain’t Easy to Love. (If you have quicktime, you can listen to it here. Otherwise, check it out on Amazon. It’s an oldie but a good’un.)
If you want to know how we met, you can read the beginning–the story of us. More to come…..
P.S. If you’re reading through email or reader, come check out my new look. I’d love to hear your thoughts on my blog makeover.