Readers Corner 6/2/07
A reader sent this in and I thought I’d share with you. It’s kind of a written “Nevada County Snapshot.”
“The Cowboy,” By Bill Lobsitz
Approaching the check-out at the organic market, I saw the young clerk setting a box of beer on the counter. The purchaser of the beer was an older man with weathered features, outfitted in work-worn Carhartt’s and a Western hat. This man was a true cowboy, rarely seen these days, especially in the local organic store. I liked him.
Getting closer, I recognized the beer as an excellent choice – Eel River Porter. I commented on the brand and said, “Porter’s a good beer for this cool weather.”
Cowboy replied, “Yep, it’s one of my favorites.”
As the girl rang up the amount, she struggled to figure in the case price discount. Cowboy stood patiently with his checkbook in hand. I thought to myself, you don’t hardly see a checkbook any more – just plastic. After a bunch of button punching and one do-over, the clerk announced to the cowboy, “That will be $16.29, sir.” Without any buttons, I immediately took note that that amount for four sixers of fine porter was about half of what it should be.
Cowboy was focused on filling in the check and didn’t seem to take in the charity of the price. His hand moved slowly and it was apparent that arthritis made it difficult for him to steer the pen across the paper. Finally, he asked again for the price and also the date. He then carefully tore the page from the book.
During this time, I had a short struggle of my own as to whether I should speak up on what a deal that was for the beer. Quickly, that notion ceased and a smile crossed my face, happy that this old gentleman was going to enjoy his brew at a discount, courtesy of the inexperienced clerk.
He apologized to me for taking so long to write the check, which caught me off guard that someone would consider my inconvenience due to their disability. I replied, “No trouble at all,” and quickly squelched the “partner” that wanted to come out.
The young girl asked Cowboy if he wanted a cart to carry out his beer. He answered softly, “No, thank you.” I laughed inside at the thought of him using a little cart to roll 20 pounds to the parking lot. I imagined that he probably had spent the day throwing 200-pound calves to the ground with a hot brand clenched in his teeth. No wonder he was thirsty!
My items quickly were rung up, and as I made my way to the car, I noticed Cowboy standing at the rear bumper of his ride. He had a far-away look on his face as if he was studying something. He looked down at the box in his arms and then at the store. I held my breath in anticipation. It was no surprise to me when he tugged his hat down a notch and ambled back toward the door. Some folks take charity. Cowboys don’t!
Dixie Redfearn can be reached at 477-4238 or by e-mail at email@example.com, or by fax at 477-4292.
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