The Vanishing West

Before the first Western movie was ever released the West was pretty much dead as a romantic concept.  Hardy ranchers and seasoned farmers persisted though, and outlived the Civil War, the gunslingers and the government stupidity and arrogance.  Wild animals really never had much of a chance against weapons and machines and determined people.  We called it progress.  

Much though, had been learned from the hardy pioneers who first migrated to the West.  Lessons about value, honesty, hard work, trust and truth were passed down to each successive generation.  One look at the way older homes and tools were built attests to the values inherent in their purpose.  Things were made to last.


While many never went to school, lessons were often learned from parables, stories and experiences. Some lessons were either learned or you didn't survive. The best of these sayings are still around for those who will listen. Here are some of them:

• The easiest way to eat crow is while it's still warm. The colder it gets, the harder it is to swaller.

 • If it don't seem like it's worth the effort, it probably ain't.

 • It don't take a genius to spot a goat in a flock of sheep.

 • Never ask a barber if you need a haircut.

 • Don't worry about bitin' off more'n you can chew; your mouth is probably a whole lot bigger'n you think.

 • Generally, you ain't learnin' nothing when your mouth's a-jawin'.

 • Tellin' a man to git lost and makin' him do it are two entirely different propositions.

 • When you're throwin' your weight around, be ready to have it thrown around by somebody else.

 • Always take a good look at what you're about to eat. It's not so important to know what it is, but it's sure crucial to know what it was.

• The quickest way to double your money is to fold it over and put it back into your pocket.

 • Never miss a good chance to shut up.

 • There never was a horse that couldn't be rode; Never was a cowboy who couldn't be throwed.

 • Keep skunks and bankers at a distance.

 • A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.

 • Words that soak into your ears are whispered… not yelled.

 • Meanness don't jes' happen overnight.

 • Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.

• It don't take a very big person to carry a grudge.

 • Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin' it back in

. • If you get to thinkin' you're a person of some influence, try orderin' somebody else's dog around. 

• Don't pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he'll just kill you

 • Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from the rear, or a fool from any direction.

 • Don't squat with your spurs on. 

• When you lose, don't lose the lesson.

 • Talk slowly, think quickly.

 • Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.

• It's better to be a has-been that a never-was.

 • Every path has a few puddles.

 • When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.

 • The best sermons are lived, not preached.

 • Most of the stuff people worry about ain't never gonna happen anyway.

 • Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.

• Don't interfere with somethin' that ain't bothering you none.

 • If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin'.

 • The biggest troublemaker you'll probably ever have to deal with, watches you from the mirror every mornin'.

 • Always drink upstream from the herd.

• Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.

 • You cannot unsay a cruel word.


 If y'all enjoyed some of this wisdom, you might like a copy of "The Vanishing West", a FREE eBook I created with the help of Joanna Lerwick, a fellow artist, who paints wildlife. Sign up for my email posse and I'd be happy to send you one.  It's a great story, filled with fine artwork and it's family friendly!  

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