The Cowboy

The Cowboy

Thomas Jacob Insinuators Thomas was easily identifiable in our school. He was the only real cowboy. Some other boys wore the boots and hats of the Western heroes, but Thomas was the only one who had the heart to pull the look off. He never actually wore a cowboy hat to school, he said that was for work, but he could always be seen wearing his boots. They were well worn and could not be mistaken for the boots worn by other boys, which always appeared as if fresh out of the box. Thomas wore his boots when he rode.

They were no longer stiff in the ankles but soft and bendable. Long hours of ding horses and breaking broncos made those boots perfect. Thomas was not “in style”. He never wore the button-up Polo shirts or other brand names. He rarely wore an American Eagle pair of Swears. His Swears were the straight- legged pants that other boys made fun of. Thomas was respected for them, though. Every student at Forced High School knew Thomas and respected what he did that required him to have Swears that didn’t flare too much from his leg.

As soon as the weather got a slightest bit chilly Thomas started wearing his Arkansas High School Rodeo Association Jacket. It was covered in patches for all the titles he had won in the past year. That was a source of pride for Thomas and you could tell by how his face lit up each time someone asked about it. Thomas had green eyes that are almost impossible to describe. They were the prettiest I have ever seen, a darker green than most but a pure green that could not be mistaken for hazel or grey.

He had hair the color of hay. It was so curly that it stuck out in all directions from under his baseball cap. The best part about Thomas was his smile. Not that it was one of those perfect, fixed by braces, glaringly white smiles. It was a genuine smile, an extension of the bright personality [that was] underneath the rough veneer. Thomas was such a positive person that he couldn’t hide who he was. When faced with a problem Thomas always looked to the brighter side of the situation. Listening to Thomas talk was amusing.

He had a southern drawl that could put Reheat Butler to shame. Each sentence was drawn out and the pronunciation of some words were Just thrown together, and almost everything he said was about riding, trucks, horses, or bulls. Asking Thomas for advice was always interesting. He had a cowboy quote for everything. One time I was talking to Thomas about a book I had read, explaining the ending to him I started crying. Thomas looked at me and told me to be a cowgirl, and that cowgirls don’t cry. I replied that I wasn’t a cowgirl so I could cry.

Another time I heard him tell someone who was scared to do something, to Just “hop in the saddle and hold on for dear life,” that “the horse was going to go whether they were on it or not”. I interviewed Thomas for the school paper one time, and realized how wonderful he really was. I had told him that I would call him around eight o’clock that night to interview him. Unfortunately I was late because we found a bird in our house and Ana to scans NV out a wallow. I Nils wangle time I tested I mommas telling NV I would call as soon as I could.

Finally around ten o’clock I called him and he was laughing at me. He thought it was the funniest thing in the world that we had to chase a bird out of our house. The interview went well even though he had to explain each comment to me about one hundred times. Each question was about busting broncos or the rodeo life. I will never understand the process that he went through to ride a bucking horse. There are things that I am terrified to do. Skydiving, bungee Jumping, bull riding, and bronco busting are Just a few. I name bull riding because that is what Thomas used to do.

Thomas had a scar that was six inches long going across his stomach. This was from a near fatal accident that happened at the end of summer before our ninth grade year. Thomas had been riding a bull at a rodeo when he was bucked off. The bull stepped on him and crushed his insides. Thomas spent a long time in the hospital and missed the first few weeks of school. Thomas was scarred up from head to toe, from the scar on his stomach, to cuts up and down his arms, to a menacing crape down the side of his face. But being the ever optimistic and determined guy he was, Thomas kept getting back up.

His mom wouldn’t let him ride bulls after that accident, but two years later Thomas was back at the rodeos on broncos. Thomas was the Arkansas High School Rodeo Association Rookie of the Year for 2012. He had the big, gold belt buckle to prove it. That was his proudest achievement. He was looking forward to graduating in May and going on to a rodeo college to become a professional bronco rider. His goals were high, but he knew he was going to reach them and was not afraid of failure. Failure wasn’t even an option for him; anything that kept him from his dream was Just another problem he could overcome.

Thomas was fun to be around. He was the first person I hugged when I got to school. A hug from Thomas will never be duplicated. The first thing is the scent. The overwhelming scent of Wintergreen SHOAL will always be associated with Thomas to me. Then his bony arms would wrap around me. Thomas was a lanky boy. His legs reached my waist and not an ounce of fat was on him, due to all the work he did. Next in a Thomas hug was the fact that no matter how many bruises he had acquired e would always slightly lift me off my feet to “make the hug even. This always made me smile and still does. I wish I could say that you could get to know Thomas. I wish I could introduce you to him and let you experience one of the hugs or see a real-life cowboy. But I can’t. Sadly, Thomas died in a car accident involving an eighteen wheeler on the last day of school before Christmas break. I was blessed enough to know Thomas and call him a friend. Thanks to Thomas and the legacy he left behind I know that I shouldn’t be afraid to live, that I should Just “enjoy the ride”.