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’.
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.
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.