Yesterday I spent the day with not one, but two Marlboro women.
If you're as old as I am, you should remember the Marlboro man. He was a man who did hard work, tall, strong, and muscular. His cowboy hat shadowed against the sun. Sitting straight and whip cord lean on his horse. Gazing out, with a critical eye, over all that he owned and controlled. Vast amounts of land, the terrain dotted with cattle. Of course, smoking a cigarette. He was a real man, not a wimp, not a vegetarian. He was his own boss. The director of his fate. The captain of his ship. He didn't need no' stinking women.
"I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul." Invictus by W. Henley
The reality probably was, once he was done shooting his "Marlboro Man" commercial, he had to have help getting off the horse. He had to have help pulling off his boots. He changed into his polyester, leisure suit and wingtip shoes, combed his hair and walked out of the studio.
Certainly, there were and are ranchers and farmers, men who spend every day pushing themselves to their physical limits. Working with stubborn and often stupid animals.
**Yes, I said stupid. I've never met a cow I like. Oh, I'll eat them. I just don't like them. I lived in Wyoming. Trust me, they're dumb as rocks.**
These men and their families depend on a living based on situations that are out of their control. Is the weather going to be good today? Will there be spring storms that endanger their calves? Will meat prices go up or down? What will the commodity markets look like? Will PETA rise up and overthrow Wall Street?
They work in the rain. They work in the snow. They were work in manure. They end their day filthy. Their chaps and jeans disgusting in only a way you have to see to believe. Tired, worn out, exhausted.
Day is done, gone the sun,
From the lake, from the hills, from the sky;
All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.
But I'm here to tell you Marlboro men are really Marlboro women.
Yesterday, I sat (because I'm weak, old and don't like physical labor) and watched Liz (5 months pregnant) and Emma, unload 11 round bales of hay, in six different pastures, all by themselves.
They moved six horses, including a Belgian Draft to three different pastures. At one point, we had Rue in front leading the way, me, pulling bouncy boy in a red Ryder wagon with halters and lead ropes, followed by Emma and Liz leading three very large horses . Down the country road we marched like a Mardi Gras celebration, headed towards the farthest pastures on the farm. All we needed were balloons, necklaces, streamers, and we could of been a parade.
Afterwards, bouncy boy and I had cookies and milk. We went inside and watched Dora the Explorer, and yes, I do talk to the TV. I was raised to be obedient. The Marlboro women, continued on, changing all the salt licks, adding pallets to all the pastures, feeding all the horses, and putting away all the tack.
That my friend is a Marlboro woman. They came in the house dirty, filthy, and generally disgusting. But they had accomplished what any two men could and probably did in the same amount of time.
Did I forget to tell you Liz came in and fixed lunch? Grilled turkey and cheese on homemade bread with noodle soup and coffee.
That's not only a Marlboro man, that's a real pioneer woman. Living on a farm. Doing all that a man does plus raising three children and doing her own housework. It makes me incredibly happy to have such an example set before Emma.
Women don't just post and blog. Women jump in with both their feet and carry their own weight. They get out there alongside their men or sometimes by themselves and do the work that needs to be done.
Think about that when someone tells you what women can and can't do or someone convinces you living on a ranch/farm is sweet and nostalgic.