Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The MS Marlboro Man

We had been to Sargent, Nebraska to visit my childhood friend, Connie, and her family. Driving through the treeless Sand Hills the only change of scenery is the occasional windmill and another herd of cattle. The kids soon tired at my, "Look, there's a new calf!"

It was tempting to drive at top speed to get to "civilization." But... where the roads are built up between the hills, cross winds are dangerous. And cattle have no regard for fences. The grass is greener on the other side, even if it means crossing the road at cow-speed. Whole cows do not make good hood ornaments.

It was a drizzly morning. In the distance, but close to the road, a lone rider worked to organize the herd. We stopped to watch. He wore a black ten-gallon hat low over his eyes. His dark full-length slicker kept him and the palomino's rump dry. Gloved hands held the reins with authority. Straight-backed, he radiated confidence, ability, power, strong-mindedness, and Clint Eastwood no-nonsense ruggedness. I longed to look in his eyes. The Marlboro man, that's who he looked like. I wondered if he could dance. Sigh. I only know two men who can dance. One lives far away; the other doesn't ask.

Years later and twelve days into our Egyptian tour, Minnie and I longed for familiar food: popcorn and potato chips. We ordered tomato soup, potato chips and ice cream on the patio of our hotel. Served in individual courses, the plate and the potato chips were heated. None of it tasted like home. But the movie caught our eyes. "Minnie, which cowboy movie is that?"

She replied, "That's not a movie. It's our Marlboro Man commercials strung together."
We're not the only ones fascinated with the American cowboy. In my imagination, mine can dance.

Last Monday I had lunch at The Ranch on old #61 in Clarksdale, MS. The walls are lined with pictures of visitors, dignitaries and locals. I looked at the picture of hunk, football star Charlie Conerly and learned he played for Clarksdale High School, Old Miss and the New York Giants. When he moved back to Clarksdale, he owned Conerly Shoe Store. He is also remembered for being the original Marlboro man in the commercials.

2013 Red Convertible Travel Series

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