Writins of Weakeyes Cody
Talented and witty writings
Cowboy Up? @ 2012
Washing away all of Hollywood's characterizing of the American 'cowboy', exactly what kind of man was he? More often than not an uneducated maverick who was frequently a veteran of the southern war for independence, who headed west to find work at something or a footloose ne'er do well spilled out of the cities of the east to find freedom from debt, the law, or other pursuers. But what made him so outstanding in the eyes of his contemporaries?
For one thing, there wasn't a farm boy who stood watching him pass by that didn't envy him. There goes a man driving cattle bound for someplace other than here. And he was committed to delivering those Texas longhorns to the railhead. Even the horse he rode was trained to perform specific tasks to that end. And knowing how difficult and dangerous it was to drive a longhorn anywhere, was admirable. For a longhorn could maim and kill a horse or man in an instant. It was quick as a goat and meaner and faster than a buffalo. It would stampede at the mere strike of a match, cocking of a pistol, drop of a hat or sound of a thunderclap. And the drover was expected with his horse and rope, to drive it literally hundreds of miles across blackjack brush, Prairie dog holes, rivers of water moccasin infested water, and through Comanche occupied lands.
And so the character of this determined individual soon became known and favored in the American southwest. He may have lacked social graces. He may have been ignorant, or cared less who was president of the United States, but his skill with a rope, whip, horse, branding iron, knife, leather and rifle was sought after by every cattleman in the vast reaches of Texas and gradually on up into other western states. But really it was his doggedness, his determination and simple toughness of survival that made him worthy of pioneer admiration. He was an unmentioned icon long before the entertainment industry was created.
Samuel Augustus Maverick, was a man who resented burning a brand into the hip of a bovine. He preferred letting his cattle roam freely and unbranded saying any unbranded dogie was his. Consequently he was involved in many a dispute. But his name came to be used in conjunction with anything disassociated with a specific trend. The American cowboy would be a maverick. In fact, the whole population of the United States could be summed up in that category. For each and every state stands on its own history and among the fifty, one could say every state is in one way or another, a maverick.
Story teller Louis L'Amour once wrote in one of his many narration's, "You had to be there to fully understand the American western expansion." He was good at describing the locations and settings for his stories. And unless you've never met a man or woman who was called 'tough' then you can't easily savvy the character of the Cowboy. For the simple word tough, sums up a lot when used to characterize a cowboy.
And just maybe if we look around we could find a good number of Americans today who fit that description? And that's what keeps us American. Cowboy Up!
~ Weakeyes Cody 2012