What does barrel racing have to do with my adventures in Paraguay? It doesn’t. But, this photo of my friend and hairstylist Rhonda, who lives in Waco, Texas, does. Here in Paraguay, on my bulletin board, is this same photo of Rhonda with her gorgeous horse, Dealer It says so many things to me each time I admire it. It reminds me of sweet friendship and shared stories at my monthly hair appointments as she cut and colored my hair. But, it reminds me of my roots in more ways than one: It tells me that I’m a Texas girl, through and through.
I remember that Rhonda would sit me under the dryer and hand to me to read –not the latest “People” magazine, but the latest horse magazine – because she knew of my love for them. I’d admire not only the stories of rodeos and competitions and horse-handling, but all the ads of the pretty women dressed in studded denims, engraved silver belt-buckles, and wearing the most remarkably gorgeous tooled-leather boots. It would bring back memories and it would bring forth dreams.
I remember growing up in Marlin and Daddy would take us each year to the Heart O’ Texas Coliseum to see the Fair & Rodeo. My brother David and I would wear our little western outfits, complete with cowboy boots. I’d run ahead, calling backwards, asking to go wander the rows of stalls in the barns at the H.O.T., admiring at eye level each rooster, pig and goat that had been brought to display and compete in the fair. I still remember perfectly the smells and sounds of the barn, with scattered hay and bales of hay stacked here and there. Sleeping animals, snorting animals, and animals I thought I could speak with and maybe we’d have a heartfelt discussion, eye to eye.
In the arena, I’d watch the girls on their horses and dream about riding someday when I was a big girl. But, I never followed that dream. I didn’t have access to horses much. But, that dream is still alive and Rhonda’s photo reminds me of it regularly. I hope to be able to ride a horse and take care of that beautiful creature some day. I won’t be a barrel-racer like Rhonda, but I’ll trail along and pretend! What will I name my horse? That’s fun to think about. Maybe you can suggest some names.
Here in Paraguay, I love seeing horses ambling down the road. Their owners let them wander the streets of the small pueblos, finding places to chew on grass here and there, sometimes ambling all the way to the other side of town. At dusk, you see the very adept cowdogs as they rustle the horses down the road, back to the house. So smart and confident they are at that job. I can envision their owner motioning to their dog from the front porch rocker…. “it’s time…go get ‘em.”
Looking up at Rhonda’s pretty face in the mirror as she would work on my hair at “The Snip” hair salon there in Waco, I’d admire her lavish array of turquoise and silver bracelets and earrings as she spoke in that Texas Woman way of talking, the accent that dances through every word. I’d watch those sparkling eyes as she’d tell me stories I’d request about her latest goings-on with Dealer. And I’d dream.
My adventures in Paraguay certainly do exemplify that ability to fulfill one’s dreams. So, I say – “One day. Some day!”