Thomas Jacob Ainsworth
Thomas was easily identifiable in our school. He was the only real cowboy. Some other boys wore the boots and hats of the Western heroes, but Thomas was the only one who had the heart to pull the look off. He never actually wore a cowboy hat to school, he said that was for work, but he could always be seen wearing his boots. They were well worn and could not be mistaken for the boots worn by other boys, which always appeared as if fresh out of the box. Thomas wore his boots when he rode. They were no longer stiff in the ankles but soft and bendable. Long hours of riding horses and breaking broncs made those boots perfect.
Thomas was not “in style”. He never wore the button-up Polo shirts or other brand names. He rarely wore an American Eagle pair of jeans. His jeans were the straight-legged pants that other boys made fun of. Thomas was respected for them, though. Every student at Fordyce High School knew Thomas and respected what he did that required him to have jeans that didn’t flare too much from his leg. As soon as the weather got a slightest bit chilly Thomas started wearing his Arkansas High School Rodeo Association jacket. It was covered in patches for all the titles he had won in the past year. That was a source of pride for Thomas and you could tell by how his face lit up each time someone asked about it.
Thomas had green eyes that are almost impossible to describe. They were the prettiest I have ever seen, a darker green than most but a pure green that could not be mistaken for hazel or grey. He had hair the color of hay. It was so curly that it stuck out in all directions from under his baseball cap.
The best part about Thomas was his smile. Not that it was one of those perfect, fixed by braces, glaringly white smiles. It was a genuine smile, an extension of the bright personality [that was] underneath the rough veneer. Thomas was such a positive person that he couldn’t hide who he was. When faced with a problem Thomas...