It is a saying that we live by. It is the way we support each other when things aren't going well. Cowboying up is more than a phrase it is an action and it is not fun but it helps a person keep perspective and survive. I lost all my closest friends in my forties and the way you appriciate a good friend is only realized after they are gone. When someone is hurting and cowboys up it give you the inspiration to realize how petty your own troubles are.
Ray is a cowboy. In the truest sense, one of the last of a breed. Not that there are not cowboys today, but there will never be more like Ray's generation. To put it bluntly, Ray is the toughest man I know. And he has been my hero.
Ray has had every bone in his body broken at one time or another from bad bull wrecks, to car wrecks, horses, cattle, and just the type of accidents that those who work and live on farms and ranches are prone to. Aged way before his time pain has been with him so long he cannot remember when he felt good. But this never stopped him.
A few years ago Ray fell off his combine in November trying to cut his neighbors soybeans. He cracked his femur. Of course he did not have time for an operation so the doctor with local anesthetic put a strap on the crack in the office. Ray told me "when he drilled them holes and put those screws in, it hurt like HELL!"
I had pains just hearing the story. That spring Ray was down in the house and could not get around much. I talked to him and he said he just put up his neighbors hay. I said "RAY how did you even get on the tractor?" He said his neighbor had around 60 days to live from cancer and he was in worse shape than himself so he went and rolled up his hay.
Well I just got an e-mail and Ray is in the hospital. He went thru three operations not long ago and the area they harvested veins for his bad leg had gotten infected and when they tried to clean it out, they went ahead and took it. When the prospect of losing a leg occured Ray told me he had picked out a hedge tree and was going to cut it and put a boot on it and make his own leg.
He does say that the other leg that they put those veins in is feeling better but when they clean the wound and repack it "it hurts like hell"! So you can understand I am down a little this morning. It hurts to see a friend hurting and not be able to do anything about it. But I know that as soon as he can talk his way out of there he will be back at the ranch with his cowboy CD's of all his friends playing loud.
I may have to go down and cut a hedge tree and find a boot.