Thursday, May 17, 2007

Curiosity Spurs Me On

Would you let a stranger...

...touch your spurs?

I had the coolest experience in Montana.

Last Sunday morning I was out in the hotel parking lot putting something in my car when a rumbling noise caught my attention. I turned to see a kindly looking, nicely dressed man in his sixties pulling a suitcase.
He was wearing cowboy boots, which one could reasonably expect in Montana. The boots had spurs. I was fascinated.

I’ve heard the arguments that spurs are cruel and inhumane. I’ve heard they don’t hurt the horse. But I’ve never been close enough to a set of spurs to draw my own conclusions.

“Excuse me sir,” I said bravely. “Can I ask you about your spurs?”

He stopped, smiled, and let me ask.
He said they just kind of tickled a horse.

Then, gathering more gumption than I realized I possessed, I asked this kindly stranger if I could touch his spurs.

Now that’s got to be weird. Some middle-aged woman stops you in parking lot and asks you that?

But this man was a gentleman through and through.

I knelt down and ran my fingers along the blunt edge of the spokes. Interesting. It felt like the top edge of a hunting knife as opposed to its sharp cutting edge.

When I stood back up to thank him and ask yet another question this retired university professor from Texas realized the best way to answer.
He turned around, put his hand on my shoulder and ran the spur down my calf. It was a biting tickle sensation.

I’m not sure how many people would be this accommodating, but it was broad daylight in a public place. I’m sure that helped. And it was a sincere question. I really wanted to know about spurs and there was nothing else to it.

I’m so grateful that I was reporter for almost 20 years. I learned that most people are helpful, kind, and accommodating. It taught me to approach people properly and because of that I can ask the dangdest things. More often than not it works out well for me.

Thanks to Debora Alder for taking this photo of me.


Dawn said...

Good on you for asking, Leah. I'm a horse person from way back but have never had anything to do with spurs. People so often hold opinions without any research to back those opinions up.

And I'm sure that interaction would have brightened the day of anyone watching in the hotel car park!

Crabby McSlacker said...

Yes, good for you for asking--sounds like he enjoyed the interaction and a chance to explain where he was coming from.

I think I'm a bit too shy to be a reporter and I particularly hate making phone calls. (For some reason, I'd rather talk to someone in person or email them; phones feel especially uncomfortable). I never would have felt very confident in your reporter job, and admire your ability to get out there and talk to people. I'd rather just make shit up.

Thanks for sharing the picture too! It's great to see what people look like. (Not that I'm offering to reciprocate any time soon).

Leah J. Utas said...

Thanks, Dawn. I don't know if anyone saw us, but I do hope they were entertained if they did.

I tell you what, Crabby, I always hated making work phone calls. I eventually hypnotized myself to get over it. I posted about it way back when in the winter.
Thanks for the kind words, both of you.