I think he’s a cowboy. I didn’t meet the man. I didn’t talk to him. I just watched him live a few minutes of his life.
I was sitting at a table, drinking coffee, watching the world. The man may be thirty years old. Not much older, I’m sure.
He walked in. He had the hat. He had the square toe, exotic leather boots like cowboys wear these days. He had the faded, Wrangler Cowboy-cut jeans. He had the big, oversized, brass and silver Rodeo Belt Buckle. His belt was two-toned calf hair, brown and white. He was wearing a vest, made in a Western style. He had the leather gloves stuffed in his front left pocket, with the fingers pointed upwards. He had a ring of keys hanging on a belt loop above his right side, front pocket. Just behind that, was a cell phone holder. And, he had a knife in a scabbard, next to his cell phone. He turned to look at his truck, I guess. He had the tall checkbook wallet with the Buffalo Nickel riveted at the top and in the other back pocket the round ring that says “I am a snuff man.” I don’t know if he had a dollar’s worth of change in his pocket or not.
He did have a certain swagger and an air of confidence. He wanted people to think he was important, I guess.
By now, I’m nursing another cup of coffee, thinking about the next story I’m going to write.
Then, suddenly, I’m wondering how long it takes him to change from one pair of pants to another. You can’t wear a pair of jeans for weeks on end. At some point, they’re dirty and need cleaning. All that stuff has to come undone.
He’ll be unloading everything in his pockets at the end of the day. Getting up early, finding another pair, then loading the new pants with belt, key ring, wallet, knife, cell phone and a few coins to start the day. I know that’s got to take five minutes or more.
When I was thirty, I wore a coat and tie every day. All day. And I didn’t have much in my pockets.
Today, I try to never wear a tie. And, I still don’t carry much in my pockets. I dump all my change into a change jar at the end of every day. It’s my savings account. At one time, I put all quarters in a red, white and blue ceramic piggy bank. I’ve gotten lazy, now everything goes into a jar. I’ll let the bank sort it out one day.
I carry a wallet, as thin as can be. It has my driver’s license, my hunting/fishing license, a 30 year old photo of my three sons, my medicare card and a couple of credit cards. That’s it. It goes in one back pocket.
In the other pocket, I keep a handkerchief. Been doing that since high school. I don’t think I’ll ever quit. You know, you just can’t wear out a handkerchief. I think I still have a few I had in high school. When I graduated, someone gave me two handkerchiefs with a blue “W” in the corner. They’re still in the bottom of a drawer somewhere, I think.
I have one that’s badly stained, it’s kind of a pale, dark blue in color. I keep it separate and use it to strain juices when I make jelly once or twice a year.
No, I do not carry it anymore.
I keep a chap stick in my left front pocket. It’s there to keep the nickels and dimes comfortable through the day. I keep my money clip in my right front pocket. I’ve used a money clip since college. Somewhere, packed away, I have a dozen or so money clips I’ve collected over the past forty years. I think they are neat. I don’t think I could keep up with folding money and receipts in any other fashion.
I had my pocket picked in New Orleans during Mardi Gras one year. The thief stole my alligator hide money clip. It had my initials stamped in gold. I’ll never replace that one.
Then again, I’m not a cowboy.
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