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What Is A Cowboy?

What is this thing called “Cowboy”? Seems ta me there are lots of ways ta be a Cowboy, but is there anything that unites them all? Is there one thing that makes someone a Cowboy and without it he just isn’t?  
Ya got Cowboys on the ranch, Cowboys in the city, Cowboys riding hosses and Cowboys that have never seen a cow or a hoss. ‘Course workin’ Cowboys will tell ya the others all all jest fakes, and when it comes to doin’ everyday Cow work there right as rain. Ya got Cowboys in big hats and boots and ya got Cowboys in ball caps and runnin’ shoes.  
I used ta like ta think that like Gene Autry, Cowboys were honest. But ya got Cowboys that are honest as the day is long and ya got Cowboys that’ll steel ya blind and lie to ya jest like it was the truth. No, there’s somethin’ deeper that makes a man think of himself as a Cowboy.  
A fella stopped inta Drovers Mercantile today ta introduce himself. Said he wanted to join in the festivities of the C.O.W.B.O.Y.S. Fall Roundup. Said, “I may be a little out of place. I’m a poet. I’m not a real Cowboy.” We talked and funny…, cuz for not being a Cowboy the subject was hosses, ropes, and braided reins. He knew some interesting things about some of the big ranches from Texas to Nebraska and to look at him he sure ‘nuff looked like an ol’ cowhand.  
No, I am pretty sure he is a Cowboy, cuz Cowboy is somewhere’s deep in a man’s soul. It is an appreciation for things that have to do with cows, hosses, nature, men, women and a world that often exists only in the mind. A Cowboy sure isn’t a saint. He kin cuss with the best of ‘em and he lives somewhere’s beyond the normal day to day of civilization, even when he’s surrounded by a huge 5 o’clock traffic jam. I jest don’t know how ta pin ‘im down. That could be the very part of ‘im that makes ‘im a Cowboy! Ya cain’t back ‘im in a corner. 
Maybe we need a nobel prize study in jest what it is that makes a Cowboy. All I know is, I am one and the world may be a changin’ but I reckon the Cowboy always will be. 
So Long, 
The Cowboy 


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