Posts Tagged Roger Robideaux

No Sir, I Ain’t No Cowboy

Long before I worked at Roger Robideaux’s Gulf station where I used to shoot the breeze with a couple of real cowboys—Tom Cox, and James Caan—I found out I was not cut out to be one.

Oh, I had heroes like John Wayne, Marshall Matt Dillon, Rowdy Yates, and so on, but I learned the hard way that being a cowboy wasn’t as easy as it looked on TV. I learned this when I was about eleven or twelve years old. We used to go to Flay Randolph’s ranch just outside of Buckeye, and he’d saddle up a horse, and let us take turns riding it in the alfalfa field

On one of those visits I was riding in the pasture, where some steers—not very big ones—were grazing. The saddle Flay had put on the horse for me had a lariat hanging on the side, by the saddle horn, so I figured I might as well try my hand at calf roping. I’d seen Rowdy and the boys do it on Rawhide, and it didn’t look too hard.

calf roperSo, I took the rope off the saddle and got it ready, then rode up alongside one of the steers. The steer didn’t seem to notice I was there, so I just dropped the rope over its head; piece a cake. One problem: The steer didn’t like it at all, and it took off running across the pasture.

No problem, I thought, as I grabbed onto the rope and yanked back like I’d seen them do on TV. Next thing I know, I’m air born, then skidding along the ground learning what alfalfa tastes like. I finally let go of the rope, and after I’d recovered a bit, limped over to the house and told Flay what I’d done.

When he finally quit laughing, Flay saddled up another horse and with me riding behind him, went out to retrieve his rope and my horse. Horse and steer were grazing side-by-side when we arrived. After I jumped down off the horse, Flay dropped his lasso over the steers head and—of course—it ran off again. But, to my amazement, it stopped abruptly when it got to the end of the rope. I followed the taught line of the rope back to Flay’s horse and saw that the other end of the rope was tied to the saddle horn. Flay just grinned and said, “Go git your horse, cowboy.”

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Wondering how I knew James Caan? Click on this link: Working With James Caan

And, if you’re curious who Roger Robideaux is, click on this one: Don’t Do That!

Tom Cox? Shoot… everybody knows who Tom is!

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Don’t Do That!

Back in the day, some gas stations gave out “stamps” with each gas purchase. Customers could save them and exchange them at the Green Stamp store, or Blue Chip Stamp store for some pretty cool stuff.

blue chip stampsI was nineteen, and I’d been working for Roger Robideaux—he was a pretty cool guy—at the Gulf Station for a few weeks, when I noticed a lot of people didn’t want the stamps. I figured it was probably too much trouble; saving them, licking them, and driving all the way into Phoenix to the stamp store. So! I got this fabulous idea; if a customer didn’t want their stamps, I would keep them!

In no time at all I had a mess of Blue Chip stamps, and was off to the Blue Chip Store, where I got an eight-track tape player for my car. This stamp bidness was the bomb!

A week or so later I was sitting in Roger’s office chair, my feet up on his desk, browsing through the Blue Chip catalog, deciding what to get next, when Roger walked in.

He looked at the catalog then looked at me with his head cocked to one side and asked, “When a customer says they don’t want their Blue Chip stamps, what do you do?”

I grinned. “I keep them,” I said, raising the catalog. “You can get neat stuff!”

“Don’t do that!” he barked. He seemed excited, and maybe a little bit mad, but it was hard to tell with Roger.

“How come?” I said.

He did a funny little dancing jig, rolled his eyes and said, “Because I have to pay for the stamps!”

That made no sense at all to my nineteen-year-old brain. “Then why do you give them away?”

He went over and hit the wall with his hand, danced a little more and said, “Just don’t keep them. Okay?”

The bell rang, signaling we had a customer at the gas pumps, so I slapped the Blue Chip catalog onto the desk, gave Roger a little salute—I was kind of a smart aleck sometimes—said, “Got it, chief,” then sauntered out the door.

After I’d filled the customer’s tank, I asked them if they wanted their Blue Chip stamps. The lady said, “I sure do. You can get lots of nice stuff with those stamps.”

I grinned and said, “Yeah, I heard about that.”

I figured Roger was watching me, so when I got to the driver’s window, I made a big show of holding the stamps up where he could see them, handed them to the customer, held my empty hands up for Roger to see, and smiled real big. Did I mention I was a smart aleck sometimes?

Roger smacked himself in the forehead with the palm of his hand then did one of his little dancing fits. Yep, he was a cool guy to work for, ol’ Roger.

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Blue Chip Stamps

In one of my stories about my younger days, Shootin the Breeze With Jimmy, I talk about meeting a famous actor while working at the Gulf gas station in Buckeye, Arizona. While we were visiting my old hometown last year, I noticed the Gulf station was no longer there—actually, a lot of things had changed. Time marches on, I reckon. Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (6)

Blue Chip Stamps

In one of my stories about my younger days, Shootin the Breeze With Jimmy, I talk about meeting a famous actor while working at the Gulf gas station in Buckeye, Arizona. While we were visiting my old hometown last year, I noticed the Gulf station was no longer there—actually, a lot of things had changed. Time marches on, I reckon. Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (3)