Sometimes of an evening when the work day is done and when the foot traffic between the several bars in my neighborhood is at its peak, filled with Happy Hour revelers, I will pour a mug of coffee, pull up a chair and watch the comings and goings on my street. It is a great time for people watching.
This particular evening found me watching the groups of ladies, having been released from their office cubicles, strolling down the street in a cloud of perfume and giggles.
Along came the office girl's counterparts, having ditched the suit coats but retaining white shirts and ties, trying to impress each other with the deals they had put together at work that day.
The construction workers, retail sales people and fast food workers came in, all in good moods, happy to be released from whatever jobs they held. Many had husbands / wives / boyfriends / girlfriends in tow, all determined to create a memorable 'partay.'
Half a dozen Harleys lined up at the curb across the street. Their riders were all decked out in leather and dew rags. They looked tough. They looked mean. And because I recognized a couple of them, I knew they would go back to their jobs at the local grocery or accounting firm in the morning.
And then I saw him. Strolling down the alley across the street, headed for the bar next door. He wore starched Levis, a plaid western style shirt and what looked like brand spanking new cowboy boots. I'm not sure he was quite used to walking in boots with heels, for he sort of listed a bit to the left every now and then.
But the hat. That magnificent white cowboy hat. The hat that had been worked and manipulated to create just the right effect. The hat that sat at a rakish angle on his head. The hat that was bigger than the one worn by Hoss Cartwright in 'Bonanza.'
Keep in mind that there are no working ranches within several hundred miles in any direction. This is farm country with Holstein milk cows and fields of corn and soybeans. We have horses, but they are either used as kiddie rides at the apple orchards locally or they are the subject of bets placed at the track on the other side of town.
And yet, there he was Doing his best impression of a cowboy. And all I could think of was...
All hat - no cattle.