I’m a cowgirl at heart. I grew up on a farm, but thanks to the locals instilling it in my head, I lived on a ‘ranch’ and by all accounts, that’s the way my father ran his business—like a Texas ranch. As I aged, I realized rather quickly that Dad certainly didn’t operate like a farmer. He worked as a middle man, what is known today as a livestock dealer or trader.
When we visited Texas, I couldn’t tell much difference in their farms/ranches and ours, other than the fact that our place was much prettier, or so I thought. We had mountains. They had flat land and a few small hills, but you had to look for them. We waded through cow crap to ‘get over to the loading chutes’ and they waded through cow crap to tend to their feedlots. We had a few horses. They had a few horses. They said “yes ma’am” and “no sir” and we knew if we didn’t, we wouldn’t be able to sit down for a week.
The aforementioned, remember, is from a child or teenager’s point of view.
Dad’s property stretched over seven hundred acres and it was a beautiful place with a stunning view from the back of our house. At the front, it looked like we lived on the busiest street in the world. From our driveway, if you took a right, it was about three quarters of a mile back to the main road. If you took a left, it was less than a quarter mile to the ‘scale house’ and loading chutes so our street extended out about a mile.
I remember looking out my window before going to bed at night and as far as I could see either way, the eighteen wheelers were lined up from the loading chutes all the way out to the end of the road. After the neighbors on the main city road complained, the truckers were forced to wait at nearby truck stops, which were anywhere from fifteen to thirty minutes away. Once one truck left, another one could come on in and wait its turn. It was a neverending cycle and my father never complained about the business or the pace he had to keep in order to support a large family.
Dad would work all night and very often my brothers would work right beside him and still go to school the next day. They didn’t have an easy life by any stretch of the imagination. As many of you know, working cattle is a hard way to make a living, but the cattle business was the only life my father had ever known.
Oh sure, my brothers reaped the rewards for their efforts. They drove sports cars, which they paid for with their own cash, and when they went out on the town, they were dressed to kill and ready to break a few hearts. The gals loved them because of their Southern charms and genuine goodness.
Thanks to Dad and my brothers, I had the money to run and live a little on the wild side. Even though I was the oldest, I had been the only girl for twelve years before my sister came along so I was daddy’s little girl, like most daughters.
With the aforementioned, let me say that while I was spoiled, I wasn’t exempt from work and I couldn’t have been a true brat if I’d tried, because our parents made us walk the line. Spoiled rotten to me meant that I could do no wrong in my father’s eyes, but as I’ve aged, I’ve learned that he knew what I was capable of and I never really pulled the wool over his eyes. My brothers were a different story. I’ve come to realize that they believed I could do no wrong. If they’d only known the truth!
What they didn’t know then and I’m not ashamed to admit now, is this. As a teenager, I used their position to better mine when I wanted to meet a few cowboys. My husband, who is a musician, and not at all the alpha type, knows of my true weakness for cowboys and actually understands the errors of my current ways.
I will turn my head and gawk at a good-looking cowboy because in my opinion, there are a lot of them out there who earn and deserve a second look. Cowboys work hard and they’ve been taught to stand tall and to be proud of who they are. They’ve been taught good manners and typically if they didn’t use them, they had a father standing behind them ready to beat their butts if they didn’t straighten up. More than anything else, cowboys have been taught to respect their mothers and their women. Who couldn’t admire that?
Strict family rules and great expectations often kept young cowboys in line so it’s really not all that surprising to imagine some cowboys living a little on the wild side after they leave home. In fact, I’ve been around to watch a few of them take a renegade’s turn whenever their mommas and daddies weren’t around. And believe me, it’s something to see when some of these cowboys step beyond their family farms. In about two point two seconds, they become the bad boys so many of us love to read and write about. But don’t misunderstand. When these fellows are out on the town misbehaving, they still know how to treat a lady.
I think that’s why I’ve always been drawn to write about cowboys. I’ve known plenty of them in my time and boy howdy, I’ve met a few who sure could provide some story inspiration. Unfortunately, when it comes to the erotic scenes, I have to use my imagination more than draw from personal experiences.
I know. Snap damn, right?
Fact is, my family members didn’t want me to date cowboys. Oh sure, I was around a lot of them and I’ve told a few of those stories from time to time, but my dad and brothers had an understood rule. No one wanted me dating cowboys and they sure didn’t want me to marry one.
Today I wonder why.
No, I didn’t end up with the short end of the stick, but my husband is a musician. He played rock-n-roll when he was in high school. He plays with a country band now. His band is in and out of nightclubs all the time. If any fellow walked a little on the wild side, it was my husband. The cowboys my family feared I’d bring home to momma were calm in comparison.
In any event, my childhood was one I’ll always remember. Oh I was sheltered to an extent, but I learned family values and learned to appreciate and cherish what was important in life. My dad and mom were adamant about giving to others. They constantly worked to take food to shut-ins and we loaded up the station wagon every Thanksgiving and Christmas taking meals and toys to the families who couldn’t afford them.
We weren’t perfect by any means and as many of you know, we have our own share of family secrets now, too, those that have been readily exposed in one media form or another. Still, we were family and as unconventional as it became after Mom and Dad took in one child after another, we were still raised with country meals on the table, prayers before bed, and hard work to keep us honest.
Who would’ve thought, later in life, I would choose to write western books with characters that liked to live a little on the wild side? Well there’s a reason, actually. When I entered the business, I was told again and again to write what you know and well, you might say I know a little something-something about cowboys.
My latest eXtasy Books western is entitled Wild Outlaws. I hope you’ll take time to read this novella and send an email with your feedback. I’d love to hear from you. In the meantime, I left some pictures for you. I wanted to show you where I was raised.
Until next time,
International bestselling author Destiny Blaine is an eXtasy Books author. Destiny’s most recent eXtasy Books title, Wild Outlaws, is available now. Mark your calendars and join Destiny here for blogging each month on the 8th and 22nd.