Urban Cowboy: The Story of John Denton
“This is J.D., some people call me John..” says the greeting on our new drivers voicemail in the twangiest of twangs. This was going to be great - cowboys are the best.
He came ready to work the next day locked and loaded. His faded cotton button down tucked into his Levis and modest belt buckle. The questions start flying, coming out of nowhere like hale in a thunder storm. I’m a curious person - I need to know things.
I asked him why he was wearing such fancy cowboy boots to work and he chuckled and kicked his foot and turned his head in what I can only describe as an aw shucks/let me tell you somethin’ kind of way and said, “These ain’t no fancy boots, these here are my workin’ boots. If you wanna see some boots you gotta see my two-steppin’ boots..” We went back and forth with words on what exactly two-steppin’ meant but no physical examples were given.
J.D.’s past is a dusty bag of cowboy pursuits. I learned a lot about him during his “four month vacation” as a Special Effects Driver. He was fresh off the pipeline, living in his camper at the KOA. He had a huge farm back home in Tennessee where his pretty blue & cream Harley was - I saw lots of pictures. He went to school for horse dentistry, was a blue ribbon pumpkin carver at horse shows, and could handle just about anything with a gas pedal. He also used to have a cattle dog named Charlie.
After a while the tender heartedness in J.D. started to shine through his weathered skin. He told me how much he loved to build things and do things around the house for his spoiled rotten woman. We talked about his antiquing victories and how he liked to make his own Christmas bows. He assured me he could “fix a package up real nice” when he had the time.
One night while he was showing me how to eat boiled peanuts he said, ”Taylor, the pipeline is calling and when the pipeline calls this cowboy has got to go.”
This was horrible news, I liked having a cowboy friend. The stories were just starting to get good. Tales of canoeing down the rapids of the Swannee River after too many Coors Light’s and having to fight off snakes in the woods were becoming commonplace.
On the day he left I pulled up to the shop and saw two farm house chairs resting in front of the door. He was so excited the day he got those chairs - sanding them in the shop during his break. He couldn’t wait to “give ‘em that good ol’ wear n’ tear look.” I teased him for liking shabby chic furniture.
He was giving me the chairs. I said thank you and gave him our first and last hug. I told him what a travesty it was that he never broke out his two-steppin’ boots. He recommended I watch Urban Cowboy.
We said our good-byes and he tossed his jacket over his shoulder, kicked his foot in that same aw shucks/let me tell you somethin’ kind of way and said, “Well, it’s been real nice, but I guess the ‘vacation’ is over.”
It was back to the pipeline for John “J.D.” Denton.