Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Turning my Yankee Self into a Cowgirl Imposter

Tomorrow marks 17 years since Travis and I met.  Almost immediately we started "courting", a word I wouldn't have used before meeting the man.  Alas all these years have changed me.  He has changed me and for the better.  But even more remarkably I've become less of a Yankee wussy, and let me tell you that is not a word many would have associated with me.  I guess there is something to be said for being raised in the south.  See a northern country girl just isn't the same as a southern one.  But I think I am coming around.  Several experiences this past Texas trip confirmed my true "cowgirl" status.

First, I was able to help this time move cattle, little baby cows, from one field to the lower field.  And I couldn't help but laugh as I thought this was so fun, when on my first visit I remember being so nervous around the cows.  They were so big.  I gave them wide berth instead of herding them into a corral and onto a trailer, even slapping their hienies if need be.  Travis even thought it was cute how I talked to them lovingly along the way.  He thinks I have a real future with them, but he's an obviously smitten and biased husband.
Second, I finally conquered my fear of the creek and swimming hole.  It's a sizeable water source on their property.  One of my husband's favorite places and the place he planned to purpose someday by hiding a ring in a "shipwrecked miniature boat" on the bottom of the swimming hole.  Well getting engaged in February in Idaho may have dampened that desire, but it probably worked out for the best because I'm not sure I could have brought myself to swim in there back then.  So for the first time, I swam in the water, even though his cousin had just posted a picture of a slaughtered water moccasin from less than a month ago on Facebook.
And then doing it even one time better, on another property they own, they have a river.  I've swum in that water before feeling like it was safer.  This past visit we were there swimming, snorkeling and kayaking.  Travis's mom, Nana, was watching the kids as we went on a mini kayaking date with a fishing pole.  We navigated up stream to a little lagoon area.  Travis was casting somewhat unsuccessfully.  I wanted my chance and so we rowed close and he was handing off the pole when I heard a rustling.  I looked in time to see a  snake falling out of the tree onto brush on the edge of the river.  I was quite sure it was a water moccasin and Travis didn't notice, but he inquired as to why I wouldn't accept the fishing pole.  I calmly informed him that I needed my hands free to row away speedily if need be because of the snake.  Long story straight, he hadn't seen or heard the ordeal.  And after taking the time to get a bit closer, use my oar to point to the snake, he saw and confirmed my ability to identify deadly snakes.  I calmly removed myself from the area, but that didn't stop me from swimming in the water the rest of the day.  I would just not be swimming anywhere near that area.
Now after all of this hullabaloo, I had my final experience with the south in the form of a serious case of chigger bites.  Even now a week later, I am still partially covered by fading bites.  Although I never saw them on me, I felt the aftermath which was deathly itchy bites covering from my ankles to my waist.  Well there was nothing I could do, so I just made the best of it.  I'll still wade through the grasses, swim in the water and continue my love of moving the cows because I'm becoming Texas tough.
On the flip side, I've come to the conclusion I'll never be able to make venison backstrap as well as my mother-in-law.   Some things you just may need to be a native to perfect.

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