I saw an older woman standing at the bus stop today, waiting for the bus to arrive. That isn’t anything unusual, except that this woman was wearing a cowboy hat. I’m sure that many people wouldn’t think that was unusual either, given that I live in Wyoming, and in reality it was not that I thought it was unusual either, because I didn’t. What came to my mind was my mother, Collene Byer Spencer. Mom and my dad, Allen Spencer, embraced Wyoming, and the West in general, all their lives. They loved the history of the West, cowboy boots and cowboy hats, and they wore their western gear often, especially when they traveled.
I know that there are lots of people who wear cowboy hats, as was proven by the older woman waiting for the bus, but what struck me at the time was that it brought back the memories of my mom wearing her cowboy hat. Mom especially loved wearing her hat at the parade, as did my dad. They especially loved when the military people went by. Dad was a World War II veteran, and he was very proud of our soldiers. Mom loved it all. She would whoop and holler for every entry. I think she just didn’t want anyone to feel bad about their entry, and sometimes people would just sit there without clapping for anyone. Mom liked to make sure that everyone felt happy, parade or otherwise.
Mom and Dad had a number of cowboy hats, and the wore them all. They never went on vacation without a cowboy hat. I think they probably even took one on their 50th Anniversary cruise to Alaska. So many of my best camping memories include a cowboy hat. Dad never blew on a fire to get it going, he used his cowboy hat. Smart man, it would save a lot of work on the lungs…and the fire always started faster for him than for us. So many cowboy hat memories.
As I drove past the older woman wearing the cowboy hat, I had a smile on my face, because just seeing her standing there reminded me so much of so many good times from my past. As a kid, I would never have thought of myself as a cowgirl…at that time in my life a cowgirl or country music just weren’t cool. These days I love country music, but I guess I’m still not a cowgirl. Nevertheless, my parents were, and they were proud of it. It doesn’t matter to me what they identified themselves with…I just know that I am very proud of them. And I love and miss them very much.