Tuesday, 20 August 2013

I Say, Steady On Chaps!

Cowboys are on my mind at the moment. I can't be certain but I think I was dreaming about them last night. Or maybe I was thinking about them before I went to sleep? Anyway they are there, stuck in my head so here I am sitting down to tell you about it. I have no idea where this is going

I am fond of cowboys. Always have been since I was a kid. I used to love the cowboy films especially the fight scenes. And the hats, especially the white ones. When I say I'm fond of cowboys I definitely do not mean in a Brokeback mountain sort of way. Let me make that perfectly clear. Brokeback Mountain, that's the film about some gay cowboys by the way. When I say gay I mean in the modern use of the word, not in it's original happy connotation. Not that gay people ain't happy. I ain't saying that!

To be honest I never even saw the film. I did see a couple of trailers for it though, and it looked like it might be an unhappy film so I didn't bother to watch it. Maybe I had in the back of my mind that it might spoil my happy childhood memories about cowboys? They didn't have gay cowboys when I was a kid. Not that they depicted on screen anyway. They had happy cowboys, but not too many that I can recall. I seem to remember that 'Hopalong Cassidy' was quite happy.

I am laughing to myself right now because I am finding it difficult to imagine someone called Hopalong being in a fight scene: "Please don't hit me again Hopalong," pleads the nasty man in the black hat. Hopalong wore a white hat by the way, because he was the goody. The baddie always wore a black hat. If you ever saw a baddie in a white hat you could bet your bottom dollar it was stolen. 'Bet your bottom dollar' cowboys said that a lot.

Same thing happened with horses too. Bad man on white horse equals stolen horse. Bad man on one of those beautiful golden horses with the slightly different coloured mane and you could be sure it was stolen. These sort of clues were scattered all through the films for us afficionados to search out. Oh blimey why did I have to use the word afficinonados? Now I have to look up how to spell it. Actually I don't think I shall bother. It will spoil the flow of this immaculately crafted piece of writing. You know what I mean anyway.

When I was six years old, maybe six and three quarters, my mum bought me a cowboy outfit. This was very kind of her, but I wasn't entirely happy with it. For a start it didn't have a white hat, it had a brown hat. Not only that but the hat didn't even have a bit of string to go under my chin to stop it falling off when I was riding my horse really fast. Mum had to cut a couple of holes in it and thread wool through them. Wool! Scratchy wool too as I recall. She unravelled a bit of old jumper to get the wool. Not very satisfactory. The trouble is that adults think children are only playing at being cowboys or whatever. Actually they ain't playing. They are serious. I was a real cowboy. It hurt a lot to have that belittled with a brown hat and a length of reclaimed wool!

I quite liked the trousers. They had tassels down the side of each leg. Come to think of it though I'm not sure a proper cowboy would have tassels? Maybe on Brokeback Mountain they would? And there was a waistcoat with tassels on too. Looking back on it I must have looked a right proper pillock in that get up! Except for the gunbelt. That made me feel a bit more like a real cowboy. Mind you once again the bit of string was missing. The bit of string to tie the holster to my leg. To stop it flapping up and down when I was riding my horse. Luckily, or not! Mum still had some wool left over to tie it down with.

Shall I tell you what would have made up for the disappointment? Yes I shall. A pair of chaps, that's what. All proper cowboys wore chaps. Chaps were sort of like half a pair of trousers. The front half. They had no back in them at all. They were worn over trousers. I don't know what there true purpose was but I thought they looked, if I might use the modern terminology, cool.

It was a good thing that they were worn over the top of trousers. It would look awful to have your arse hanging out for all to see. It might have been all right on Brokeback Mountain I suppose.

I never had a horse either. Not that this was a problem. What I would do was run around whooping and hollering and slapping my own backside. Whooping and hollering. Only baddies did that! Maybe that's where my life went wrong?

There has been a lot of gay references in this article. I am beginning to worry myself now. I need to continue my search to find a girlfriend. She is out there somewhere. Better hurry up before it's too late. Not that there is anything wrong with being gay, he hastens to add.


  1. My grandfather was a real-life cowboy. He did not have gunfights or any of the glamorous stuff we saw in the cowboy shows but he was a cowboy. They were out on the range for weeks at a time and would draw straws to see who got to go to town (a several days ride) for supplies and a little noise. He gave it up when he met and married my grandmother but he always had horses. We all learned to ride and respect all animals, especially horses.
    I watched the old cowboy shows too. There was "Hoppy", Wyatt Earp, Calamity Jane, Buffalo Bill, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans... I could go on and on. My favorite was the Cisco Kid. "Oh, Pancho. Oh, Cisco." I always wanted cowboy boots but I have weird feet and could not wear them. I believe we are dating ourselves by disclosing all this information.

    1. I wish you would start writing a blog Emma. I would be a follower of it for certain.

    2. My children keep telling me the same thing. I certainly have kept them amused with family stories over the years. The stories are the best way to pass down what a family is. I hope some of them will continue the tradition when I no longer can. If I had the time I would consider the blog. I may anyway. You have inspired me. Let me mull it over for a bit. Thank you

  2. You have brought back so many memories for me, especially the cowboy trivia.
    My deceased brother as a kid had the exact cowboy suit that my dad bought for him. I think it also came with a Sheriff's badge.
    We had great fun playing cowboys and indians with the other kids in the neighbourhood.
    I have watched several western movies in my lifetime, but I have never watched Brokeback Mountain either, even though I do have it in my movie library.
    As always, I enjoy your posts most when you think you have nothing to say.

  3. Here in Brighton we have 'Gay Pride'. In the procession we have lots of chaps, wearing chaps with nothing on underneath letting it all hang out. Of course I always look away when they pass me by, ahem....
    Great post once again.

  4. When we were young we love those cowboy hats etc too. Guess no matter where you are, cowboys sure is a favorite. Miss reading your post. Will visit more when I am free. Happy blogging to you

  5. 120 years ago my grandfather ran a saloon here in Sacramento. Cowboys seldom got rowdy, but when they did, Grandpa would shake his finger at them until they behaved. Saloons were a lot like churches, I guess. The old west has been much-romanticized and exaggerated, and no one was more thrilled by that than Grandpa.