In our house, my husband and I take turns on who gets to decorate what room. Some rooms are a joint venture, a little bit of both of us, and then some are either his or hers. This time (in this house), the dining room is mine.
I don't have much in there. My chinks and spurs are hanging on the wall. I have an old wooden nail box from the ranch (probably 100 years old or more) on a shelf. And then there are my pictures of the ranch. Photos of my brothers working cattle, another of our mountain cow camp, and my favorite, one of a calf nestled in the dry grass.
Now, in the States, no one ever questioned my choice of displayed photos. But here in England, I have been asked on several occasions, "why do you have a picture of a cow on your wall?" And me, thinking I am the normal one, always find myself a bit surprised. Why would it be odd to have a picture of a cow on the wall? There are numerous famous paintings out there that prominently feature the bovine animal...and many people use them as centerpiece artwork. But perhaps it's that it is not a painting, nor a piece from a famous photographer (apologies to my sister-in-law), it's simply a lone calf staring into the camera. And perhaps it is that the sense of pride and tradition that follows farmers and ranchers in the US, doesn't quite translate in Europe.
I have a cow on my wall because it is part of who I am. When I see it, it reminds me of the heritage I come from. There is more to it than just the animal itself. It is also the blood, sweat, tears, dreams, and hard work that goes along with it. It is my personal history...much like the display of family photos and memorabilia is to others.
For my non-American friends, once I tell them why their is a cow on the wall, they usually continue the conversation with comments and questions like "you mean cowboys...just like in the movies?" And the answer is yes...only better.
Am I strange? I don't really think so, there are so many like me back home who have similar decorations. But over here, I guess I am a bit of a novelty. I am, as my friends here describe me, the girl with the cow on the wall.