I am up again at 5 AM. Over breakfast at the weary local restaurant male town resident’s pontificate over sports as discussed the previous night on ESPN, about politics echoing CNN commentators, or occasionally they express the views of the local newspaper. I inappropriately listen in while studding my day’s route on a detailed map.
The men folk come in all sizes [There are no women, except the waitress]. There are one or two who seem really fit, guys with a distinguishable beer belly, and a few shorties, also with big bellies. A few things are common. They all wear blue jeans [gone are the farmers overalls common in Washington], they make a distinctive sound as they shuffle along in well worn cowboy boots, Stetson hats soiled by real work on the range mysteriously all droop over their right eye, and everyone has something to say about the local Wal-Mart.
Throughout the long day I have the great opportunity to walk alongside the rural ranches which provide a livelihood for this important cadre of western Americans. Occasionally, I think I recognize a member of the breakfast group and wave a greeting. The polite ranchers always wave back although without my map I am sure they do not recognize me.