Friday Mailbag: Love In The Old West

It doesn’t matter
where you are,

or what you do
for a living —

you could be a coal
miner in West Virginia,

a fiction writer living
in South East Asia ,

a waitress serving up
hash in Minnesota,

a photographer living
in Italy,

a Airbus pilot based
somewhere in New
England,

a chef in the south
of France,

or even a
cowboy out
on the American
Western Plains …..

Love has got a
permanent grip
on your life.

Yes,
Love’s got a
hold on you. 

And to
illustrate that
very point,
today’s mailbag
contains vintage
(1910-1925)
postcards that are
all about:
“Love In The
Old West”.

You know,
cowgirls,
cowpokes,
and stuff.

No,
I don’t know
why they call ’em
‘cowpokes’…

( thanks for asking ),

but I imagine the
terminology’s not
supposed to be taken
all that literally.

It’d be sure to make
the cows nervous,
otherwise.

And nobody wants
to be riding the
range with a
bunch of nervous cows.

Stress ’em too much
and you end up with
thin milk and
tough beef,
I’m told.

Who told me that,
and
how they would know,
well…
that’s something else
entirely.

I think you’re just
gonna have to take
it all on faith,
is all.

!! HOY !!

 

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Shootout In The Gulch

Sheriff Culpepper was
riding hard to meet
the stage coach.

His big roan horse was
huffing and puffing hard,
but the Sheriff spurred
him on.

The sounds of the horse’s
shoes clapping against the
dry earth mixed with the
constant rhythm of leather
saddlery’s give-and-take
made for a kind of musical
accompaniment for the
long trip.

Sure,
both horse and
rider were bone tired.

But this trip had
to be made.

In the distance, despite the
bright haze and heat
distortion, the stage driver
could see the Sheriff’s dust
trail from a long way off,

……. and as he gradually
approached, the driver
wondered what could be
the matter…

It seemed like it had
been pretty peaceful
around these parts
for some time, now.

Days had run into weeks,
and months, without
anything much happening
to keep a man’s interest.

But he guessed maybe
there must be something
bad a-brewing, to bring
that particular lawman,
to this particular place.

Finally, after an indeterminable
amount of time, the Sheriff
arrived, wheeling his horse
to pace the wagon.

The ride of many miles
had deposited a thick layer
of dust upon him, but he
didn’t pause long enough
to even wipe his silt covered face.

“Max!”, the Sheriff yelled
up at the stage driver,
There’s trouble up ahead…
you’re gonna need to
bypass Cypress Gulch!
!”

Max threw the lawman
a long, apprehensive look—
… then, with a shake of
his grizzled head, asked
what was going on.

Culpepper replied:
The Conklin Brothers are
loose again!! Seems like
they got sprung from the
Deseret County jail last
night, and shot two deputies
!! ”

Max knew all too well
what that meant—
they’d be heading directly
for Cypress Gulch, and
Sheriff Culpepper.

They had sworn revenge ,
and they were the kinds
of guys who would get it,
if they could.

Damn, Sheriff….
are you gonna be alright ,
all alone against them
damned hoodlums
? ”

Culpepper looked worried,
but didn’t give anything
away with his voice:
All I can do is face em
down and see — there ain’t
nothing you or anybody else
can do, though… just stay
away from town, s’all.”,

he said, in a deadpan tone.

“Ok, Sheriff, if you say so!”.

Max pulled the right rein in
and steered the horses east,
away from the Gulch, toward
the next stage stop.

Culpepper turned his horse
and headed for town….

He knew the stage would be
a great prize for the Conklins
if they got a hold of it…
…… and he didnt want to have
to worry about protecting it
while having to watch his own back.

He wasn’t scared.

No.

After all,
everybody dies, right?

What difference did it possibly
make to anyone-
— whether the end came in a
nice cozy, feather bed with
his favorite saloon girl Babs,
or out on the street being
killed by a bunch of
degenerates.

Sure, he could run.

Sure, he might
even be
able to hide.

It’s a big West,
ya know?

But he couldn’t leave the
town to the tender mercies
of the Conklin Brothers.

He couldn’t,
could he … ??

Jimmy —
Time for Dinner
!!!! ”

Jimmy’s playtime
daydreaming was
broken by the sound
of his mother calling him.

Darn –
roundup time.

The shoot out
would have to wait.

He so loved
playing cowboy.

.

!! HOY !!

Enigma Week: Howdy Pardner

aropinHowdy, y’all.

Don’t you find
it interesting…..

no matter
how much
somebody travels,

…..there always
seems to be a
blind spot for
one’s own backyard.

Because of my
years travelling,dude

I find it relatively easy
to relate to people
from all over the world–

But,
I still find that
even some parts
of my own country
and culture are a
complete enigma to me.

Take cowboys,
for instance.

Despite having been to:

San Antonio,
(where they make the salsa)a1

Dallas, 
(where it’s hard to find a
decent steak for some reason)

Tulsa,
(where they got Big Drillers
with little pet penguins)

Billings,
(it really is some Big Sky, man)

and yes,
CheyenneRayWalters
(I once went out with the girl
they named that place after) —

I’m not even mentioning Butte.

( that’s another place
they named after
that same girl,
I think.. )

I did like them
places pretty well,
and all,1

Despite the fact
that they wouldn’t let me
into John Wayne’s secret vaults
in the basement of the Alamo.

( Just ask Pee-Wee about that
if you don’t believe me. )

But somehow,

I had gotten myself
into a mind-set2
that the real life
version of cowboys were only:

either individual eccentric anomalies,

characters out of fiction or movies,

or a thing of the past.

Hmmmph.1942

But—

Having just recently returned
from 4 days in the heart
of cowboy country, though,

I now know better,
of course,

…. and that it ain’t true t’all.

I understand that having
made that kinda mistake,

will lead some folks to think
that I’m just another
big dumb Easterner.acactus

But I’m not.

I’m a big dumb Southerner,
— thank you.

There’s actually a huge swath of this land,

especially west of the Mississippi River—

that is inhabited by peopleasaddle
who identify themselves
with the cowboy lifestyle,

and I apologize that I
ever thought different.

All them ten-gallon hat jokes
being some kind of
compensation mechanism
that I’ve been makin’ all these years,

— I hereby withdraw,
retract, and utterly disavow.

That joke about
why women married
to cowboys never blink cowboy
during foreplay —

( You know, because there isn’t time. )

Not for a moment,
will that ever pass my lips.

And that one about
why cow girls walk bowlegged —

( because cowboys like to eat with their hats on. )

I promise I will never
tell that gem again.a1

Never.

On no account,

will I ever again refer
to cowboy romance as:
“stable relationships“.

And until pigs fly,

I will forever forgo making
a connection between
bushy, brown mustaches and the song:

Looking For Love
In All The Wrong Places”.

Those are the kinda things
that causes folks to have the
wrong ideas about cowboys,a1

….. and I’m just not havin’ it.

Mainly,

because they were so
darn tootin’ nice to me out there.

Somebody even gifted me a brand new Stetson….

a2Although,

Wearing it makes me look as out of place as
Moe from “The Three Stooges”

—on the nude version
of “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers”.

(Sure,
it might just be the haircut,
who knows. )

Anyhoo —

In order to make amends,

I thought today that I would post
a couple of what a friend of mine
from Oklahoma calls ‘Cowboy Wisdom’ —1912

And what I thought,

–being the contrary bastard that I am,

I would call ‘Cowpoke Catchphrases’.

Not much difference, right?

Well,

as she would say:

” Don’t worry about
biting off more than you can chew,
……because your mouth
is probably a whole lot bigger
than you’d think. “

horseBoy, she does know me pretty well,
I guess.

Ahem.

Sally had initially emailed me
about a post I did years ago
about:
‘Wicked Dangerous Sports’

— and gave me some
very funny Western Words of Wisdom:

“The only good reason to ride a bull is to meet a nurse.”

Mmmmmm…

………………………. nurses.zoemozert

Ummm…
uh oh.

I can feel myself getting distracted.

Ahem.

I love the humor
and the practical approach
to life these aphorisms reflect.

There’s also a uniquely
American aspect to this kinda wisdom, too.

I dunno where these have been
when I really needed them, though.

Here’s one I like a lot:goggles

If you happen to find yourself in a ditch,
the first thing to do is stop digging.

I think I could use that
adage a lot as I’m writing my posts.

And, after having a couple conversations with her,

I think I’ve come to realize
the truth of another one of her sayings:

” There are two lines of thought
about how to successfully argue with a woman-
………… and neither of them works worth a damn. “

Hey, these cowpunchers really ARE smart.

They’re sorta like Sages of the Sagebrush.

HOY !!!!

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