My step-dad was a cowboy, he grew up bull-riding, breaking horses and drifted into training horses for a living. He came into my life when I was 12. It took some time for this city kid to adjust to having a 'John Wayne'-talkin', cigar-chewing, hat-wearing 'dad' but he turned out to be a good one for me. We flip-flopped between living a privileged life abroad in the oil field, and living a life of poverty training horses. I have wonderful memories of both. One memory - when a mare gave birth, (that was usually in the wee-wee hours of the morning) I assisted my dad to assure mother and foal were well. My dad would insist I stay home from school to watch this new life discover their new world. My teenage chores included cleaning horse stalls, cleaning water troughs, exercising horses, unloading hay and feed. (I laugh when my son whines over taking out trash). One of my favorite smells - dirt in an arena mixed with horse manure. And sometimes I forget it, but when I smell it again, I smile and think of my youth.
A long explanation of why I love this Cowboy Online Exhibition by Adam Jahiel at Do Not Bend.
Also The Gravures of Karl Blossfeldt is very nice.
My mom and step-dad on their wedding day. And that is how I remember them, before the bleak days of alcoholism, fights, divorce and finally suicide. I do miss my dad.
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