End of the Real Cowboys

Barnes and Noble

“Richard told a story about his college roommate’s father, who was, he said, “the real thing, an honest-to-God cowboy.” He was in his sixties when he learned he had potentially fatal cancer. “Now that I think about, he was probably about my age,” Richard said, a little startled that time was passing so quickly. The “old” cowboy rode out into the desert and shot his horse and then himself.”

“Chip reminded everyone of the white-haired carpenter who’d made our children’s dressers and toy chest. Clarence took his life for the same reason the cowboy did. He had cancer and didn’t want to go the hospital, or be dependent on anyone. He had lived by himself a long time. Well, almost by himself: “I think he shot his dog, too,” Chip said.”

“It’s easy to applaud the old cowboy, because he’s not your father or husband or son. The truth is, there aren’t many real cowboys left.”

If You Lived Here, I’d Know Your Name: News from Small-Town Alaska by Heather Lende

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