I do like living in a part of the country that has its own regional dress. Sure, put on that bolo tie. But sometimes there is a gap between theory and practice.
Our sheriff and the one deputy who lives nearby dropped by the volunteer fire department meeting last night to discuss enforcement of the outdoor fire ban.
They were both picture-perfect Western lawmen: tall and lean and firm of jaw--in their sixties, but no potbellies. They wore dark-green uniform shirts and tan trousers, topped with crisp, immaculate cowboy hats.
They finished their business and left after a round of hand-shaking. Then the rancher/fire department board president resumed the meeting—until the telephone rang.
It was for him. He spoke briefly, then stood up. "Sorry," he said, "I have to go have a calf."
And he put on the cap I always see him wearing in cold weather, the kind with ear flaps and an imitation-sheepskin lining. In his truck or on horseback, he typically dresses like a Midwestern dairy farmer.
This man runs one of the two large working ranches in the area, but he never seems to go for the "stockman " look.
And in that he is not unique, when you get down to it. Just practical.