Tuesday, February 12, 2008

"Ma'am, I'm just a cowboy"

I am in Prescott, Arizona visiting my mother. Walking about the town in the early morning light yesterday, I realized that I feel at home here. The buildings, highways, hills and tree lined river beds remind me so much of Cottonwood, where we lived until I was 14. I suspect that no matter how far we go, or how much we think we have changed, where we first put down roots defines us in ways that never change. I am sure that these two towns have also changed in ways that can't be counted, cable TV, Internet service, five lane main streets, but there also remains a simpleness reminicent of the time when I was growing up, a time when children could run freely along the streets and men were gentlemen. On Sunday, coming in from Phoenix on highway 17, driving east on 69, I had to stop for a soda and a walk to clear my head. The man at the counter of the market had one of those handlebar mustaches. Just to make conversation, I ask him if he rode motorcycles, and he laughed softly and in a gentle softspoken way said, "ma'am I am just a cowboy". No need to be more, no regret at being who he is - understanding of what values defines him - this feeling is what makes us at home in our own skin - then the place - the space - where we live is no longer important.
This little house although not the same shape or color, reminded me of the house the seven of us grew up in - small and poor - and after all these years still representing home.

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