This is an essay I wrote years ago about my Grandaddy-
Who is that Mysterious Man?
“About Men” gives us many ideas about who the cowboy really is as well as some misconceptions such as hard heartedness, emotion less, and evasiveness when in fact the opposite may apply.
Ms. Ehrlich says in her essay, “Instead of the macho, trigger-happy man our culture has perversely wanted him to be, the cowboy is more apt to be convivial, quirky, and softhearted.” When I was a little girl some of my fondest memories are those of my Grandfather. He would sit in his chair after dinner and watch his cows through the sliding glass door. He was a very quiet man who has always worked alone with animals, who didn’t need validation and entertainment. I remember the day he came in from a hard day of work with a bucketful of baby bunnies for me to hold and cuddle, or when he had a new litter of piglets he would bring them into the yard so I could chase and play with them. At the end of the day I would see him walking into the night to replace the bunnies and piglets ever so gently to their mothers. Just because he was quiet didn’t mean he had no emotions. He must have been thinking just how much I would love the babies. He is however, a strong man with a strong mind, if an animal was suffering he wouldn’t think twice about putting it out of its misery. To him this was simply the circle of life.
Cowboys are conceived as emotion less, hard-hearted men when in fact they feel much more. My Grandfather may be a man of few words but I knew he had feelings and emotions. By bringing baby bunnies and piglets, he was letting me into his world. He never had to say he adored me because he shared my interests and showed me his affection with actions. My Grandfather is a very tough man with few words and a heart of pure gold.
“Even young cowboys are evasive with women…Gentle with animals and rough on women…” is one of the many profound ideas Ms. Ehrlich mentions in her essay. Many cowboys tend to be evasive and uncomfortable with women. I never saw my Grandfather give my Grandmother physical affection, but I knew he loved her. Recently, she was in the hospital. My Grandfather, who never goes anywhere but to get hay in town, sat by her side night and day greeting each nurse and visitor with a quiet smile, he is gentle in his own way.
My Grandfather is a strong man with more feelings than I’ll ever hear him express. If he’s evasive with women how can we blame him? It’s often easier to express feelings when you know you won’t be judged. Shouldn’t we all spend a little more time thinking quietly instead of imposing every thought on others? When your cowboy seems hardhearted, emotion less, or evasive, read deeper into his soul, you don’t know what his day was like.
Granddaddy, I love you more than I can say. I wish I could take you home and take care of you now that you are old and frail, but I know taking you from your farm would be like separating a cowboy and his boots. I know that no matter what happens you need your wide open spaces, your cows and your freedom. I hate that you’re losing your independence and I hope that old age will be easier on you that it is on some. I know that you miss her; I know you’re lost without her. I pray for peace and calmness in your heart and mind.