By Glenda Price: Humor columnist
Past a certain age, I’ve learned, you no longer “step” into the saddle … you “climb” on, thankful your horse is well-trained and doesn’t try to take off before you’re mounted.
I’ve learned some other things, too. That hat with the 5-inch brim that was sooo cute and (maybe) sexy when I was 17 looks like I stepped underneath a dried-up creosote bush now.
When I was young my friends and I soaked our new felt hats in the bathtub and then fixed the creases just right. The crown was flattened so low we could barely fit our head inside, and the brim was turned up so high it had no chance to act as a shade.
But it was sexy as heck — we all thought.
We didn’t wear Wranglers like cow country folks do today. We wore Levi’s. The outside leg seams were split from the bottom up about a foot, and silver conchos sewed at the v-top and both sides of the opening. High top boots or moccasins completed the costume.
Rodeo trophy buckles in those days were much smaller than today but they were cool, the event depicted in gold in the middle of the fancy silver. A place for the winner’s name to be engraved always ran along the buckle’s bottom edge. If you hadn’t won one for yourself yet, you could find a nifty cowboy who’d give you his. Bareback, saddle bronc or bull riders on the buckle were the best. It showed you’d made friends with a rodeo cowboy, and he’d probably come by and see you again.
Our western shirts never had such mundane fasteners as buttons. Everybody purchased a snap setter from Tandy Leather company, and a pile of pearl snaps. One of my shirts had the requisite snaps to hold it together, but I added a gazillion more just for decoration. I must admit undressing took awhile, because I had trouble figuring out which snaps opened or closed the shirt and which ones were just for looks.
Chaps – ah chaps. In our case they had to be “shotgun” chaps, the ones with straight legs to the ankles and leather fringe all the way down the back. The belt part had to be hand-tooled leather, of course.
Saddle blankets had to be a special wool weave. Mine was black, red and white.
I’m wondering what would happen if I put on all that garb today, in my old age. I think my children would pretend they didn’t know me, and if I looked in a mirror I’d understand, so I’ll not pursue that gooney idea.
I’ve made another discovery lately, though. I can wear my comfortable boots and old Wranglers without any other accessories and get along just fine.
It’s true I’m not the “tough gal” of my younger years — can’t jump the fence flat-footed or out-stout a big wind gust.
However, once I climb into the saddle I’m quite all right, thank you very much. I’ll take that, and I think my friends will, too.