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Even Cowboys Carry Cell Phones

Edited by Teresa Milbrodt

Publication Year: 2013

Like any legendary figure, the cowboy is part myth and part reality, memorialized by history and Hollywood, envied by those who spend days at desks and dream of trading swivel chairs for saddles. The writings in this anthology serve as testament to the cultural love, bordering on obsession, of the American cowboy. These works cover the gamut, from the romanticized movie cowboy to ranchers, freelancers, and contemporary wranglers who wear hoodies and work in massive feedlot pens.

The cowboy that emerges from this collection is multifaceted, as the book juxtaposes cowboys spraying longhorns at a car wash to cowboys advertising services on Craigslist and Pepsi-drinking cowboys riding Amtrak trains. There are portraits of the old cowboys, crotchety coffee-swigging men with too many stories about how things were better four decades ago. However, the figure remains one constructed of loyalties—loyalty to work, loyalty to family, loyalty to animals, loyalty to the land.

The image of the cowboy is vivid in our imagination, insperable from Western mythology, a means to connect ourselves with the wild and rugged individuals we dream we used to be. In this age of computers and cubicles we want to touch and preserve that history, but we must allow for shifting traditions. As the thirty-five authors in this collection will remind you, even cowboys carry cell phones.

Published by: University Press of Colorado

Title Page, Copyright, Editorial Board

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pp. 2-6

Contents

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pp. vi-x

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Foreword

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pp. 1-4

Like any legendary figure, the cowboy is part myth and part reality, memorialized by history and Hollywood, envied by those who spend days at desks and dream of trading swivel chairs for saddles. The writings in this anthology serve as testament to the cultural love, bordering on obsession, of the American cowboy. ...

Poetry

Detail of the Four Chambers to the Horse’s Heart

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pp. 7-8

Hoof Rot

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pp. 9-20

Cowboy

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pp. 10-21

Longhorn at the Car Wash

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pp. 11-22

The Bad Guy

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pp. 12-23

Late Harvest

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pp. 13-24

Those Montana Men

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pp. 14-25

Rebellion

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pp. 15-16

Letter to Weingarten Written as the Script for an Imaginary Western

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pp. 17-18

The Hero with a Thousand Faces Rides Again

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pp. 19-30

Chico Hot Springs Saloon, MT

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pp. 20-21

Working Below Zero

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pp. 22-33

Horses and Cowboys Suffer Together

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pp. 23-24

Trail Ride

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pp. 25-28

Blood Brothers

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pp. 29-30

Simile

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pp. 31-42

To Pray at the Altar of this Horse

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pp. 32-33

Lucky Says

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pp. 34-45

More . . . Your Gunslinger Shadow Grows Amber

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pp. 35-46

Assisted Living in a Rocking Chair

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pp. 36-47

Carrying Our Loads

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pp. 37-48

A Rancher’s Rainstorm

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pp. 38-39

The Cattle

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pp. 40-41

Ode to Robert McClure

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pp. 42-53

Raw

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pp. 43-54

After Chores

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pp. 44-55

Cowboys

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pp. 45-46

The Ranch Woman’s Secret

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pp. 47-58

First Rodeo

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pp. 48-49

Burial for Horsemen

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pp. 50-61

Big Horn Passover

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pp. 51-52

Long After Memory Is Gone

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pp. 53-54

Sonnets of Selecting an Appaloosa

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pp. 55-56

Three Haiku

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pp. 57-68

Prayers for the World

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pp. 58-69

Fiction

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Cowboy Stories

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pp. 61-70

“Buddies used to introduce me as Bob Wills, and the women would say ‘You must be a Texas Playboy,’ and I’d say that I wasn’t any kind of Texan—I’m from Wyoming!” He cackled and tried not to trigger the cough that could go on and on and interfere with talking and drinking. ...

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Real Cowboy

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pp. 71-77

He’s a muscular angle against the barn door’s frame. His back and one leg are straight. His other leg is bent, boot heel pressed against wood. Though his eyes are in a wedge of shade beneath his hat, he squints across the pasture, the arena, and the pine forest rising on the mountain. ...

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The Society Of Pardners To Melt Alaska

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pp. 78-84

The third of January, 1959, was a cowboy’s curse of a bad day for Texas. From the Oklahoma border to Cameron County and the tip of the Rio Grande, pardners awoke having to sober up to their first day of being “second biggest.” Alaska had joined the Union. ...

Essays

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Eight Fragments from My Grandfather’s Body

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pp. 87-96

I touch my grandfather’s hand, trace the seam of scar that runs his palm from wrist to pinky. The mark is ragged, loud and white against his sun-dark skin. Beneath, the flesh is ridged and drawn, hard to the touch. The cyanide shell, shot from a powdered coyote-getter gun, practically tore his hand in half. ...

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Feedlot Cowboy

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pp. 97-116

I set the alarm on my cell phone for 3:45 a.m., but anticipation had me up and throwing hay to the horses half an hour before that. Bill Hommertzheim, manager of the southwest Kansas feedlot where I planned to spend the day as a pen rider, had told me to report for work at 6:30 sharp, ...

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Hiding in the Cornrows

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pp. 117-125

Josh Love and Eric Schneider are mounted up and on the lookout for movement in the tall yellow corn. “I see one now,” Josh says, but I don’t know how he can. As high as these cowboys sit up in their saddles, the corn’s even higher, and there are 140 acres of it—enough to fill more than a hundred football fields. ...

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Calving Time

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pp. 126-128

As the oldest of four siblings and the only girl, I grew up under unusual circumstances. The ranch was seventy-five miles from the nearest town, and it was nine miles to the closest neighbor’s. I went to school with my three brothers in our “backyard,” and because I preferred being outdoors, spent any spare time with Dad and a bevy of hired men; ...

Contributor Notes

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pp. 129-137

About the Editors and Designer

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pp. 138-139


E-ISBN-13: 9781607322900
E-ISBN-10: 1607322900
Print-ISBN-13: 9781607322894
Print-ISBN-10: 1607322897

Page Count: 149
Publication Year: 2013

Series Title: Manifest West Series
Series Editor Byline: John Smith, Will Wordsworth

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