Saturday, May 19, 2012

How my friends knew I was a "dude"

Do you have any funny stories about real cowboys and fake ones? Leave a comment - I read every one and will respond.

When my family moved to Western Nebraska the summer after I graduated High School,  I learned that I didn't know anything about the culture in the West. Even though my Dad was from Oklahoma and we watched westerns (Gunsmoke, Lone Ranger) growing up, I didn't know much.
Some of the other students were from Wyoming and Montana and they knew about Blue Jeans. I'd never shopped for Levi 501s before - in 1970 jeans hadn't swept the country, we still wore dresses to school (short and long) and our slacks were polyester. When my friends called me a Dude they meant as in Dude Ranch, not a guy. There was so much I didn't know. In good faith my mom bought us all straw cowboy hats to wear to show we'd become part of the west. My dad bought western cut suits. And bought a couple of Iceland ponies. I was in college by then, though, so I never rode them.

The man I eventually married was a terrible jokester around things we didn't know. He tried to convince me that cattle guards were snake fences, to keep the rattlesnakes out of town. He cracked up when I asked why there were bleachers out on the hillsides in the middle of nowhere, because I'd never seen a snow fence before.

My husband isn't a cowboy but he knows his way around the West, especially the Panhandle of Nebraska and Eastern Wyoming. He taught me to hunt and knew his way around the ditch banks and was helping with cattle on his grandfather's pastureland.

When I visited my Montana friends I understood more about the big sky and saw people real cowboys.

And years later my husband's youngest sister married one of those authentic cowboys and they live and work in Western Kansas.

When I look back at photographs I see the inauthentic West of my youth. Hope these tickle your funny bone.
That is my brother Michael in all the photos. He and his family have since immersed themselves in  authentic Lakoda culture and language. And now he raises Fresian horses, and is a well known beekeeper.


  1. LOL! I LOVE the "rattlesnake guards", that is a classic. He does have wicked sense of humor. Great post!

  2. From Celia Yeary - interesting about your childhood playing cowboys. I did that, too--had my own six-shooter cap gun in a holster. Who would allow their child today play with caps? If we didn't make them go bang from the gun, we'd lay a strip on the sidewalk and smash each one with a rock. I can still smell that odor--

  3. Celia, I remember that, too, although I didn't put anything about guns in. My brother had a Rifleman gun he carried and it was really cool. Thanks, Linda, for your comment, too. It is fun to look at the humor in being in someone else's element.