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Code of the West

I have
lived up, down, in the middle and on both sides of the USA, but I was raised in
the West. I’m not a farmer or rancher, but as I was growing up I had a chance
to spend some time “learning the ropes” from my relatives who were. You had to
be hardy, smart and tough to make it in either place. Savvy- skill-craft was
prized and so was an even disposition. You had to hold up your end of the
bargain or you were sent packin’.

There
was also a code, an unwritten agreement that bracketed your conduct. Lying,
cheating or stealing were absolute no-fly zones, and you had to offer the other
guy a “fair chance” in just about everything you did. I know some people will
pass off my code recollections as myth, but I was not hanging out in Hollywood
with A. Ladd, G. Cooper or J. Wayne - just with real people living real lives. In
fact, responsible conduct was a major contributing factor to their sense of
community and stewardship of the land.

In
light of the recent news of a major failure of institutional leadership that is
dominating today’s headlines, I thought it might be timely to share a few
relevant “rules of the trail” that I know have been valuable to myself and
others who aspired to become respectable, responsible citizens and leaders in
their own right.

  • Be kind to kids and your horse
  • Don’t take any wooden nickels
  • Own a sharp knife and a sharper set of eyes
  • Doing the right thing ain’t courage… it’s just doing the right thing
  • If your best dog bites you more than once… they ain’t your best dog
  • A “howdy” and a smile cost you nuthin’… don't make nobody pay to git one
  • Don’t make friends with rattlers… them that ain’t got feet or them that do
  • If you Rodeo… 8 seconds can change your life and if you don’t… they still can
  • An honest day’s work for an honest day’s dollar means a lot, but your honest word means more



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