When cowboys were king
Some of the time I think that I was born a century too late. I know God has a plan for everything and he put me on this earth at this point in time for a specific purpose and reason, but oh how I wish I could have seen our country back when the cowboys were king. See when cowboys were king there were no fences to cut up the land, prairies had yet to be turned under by the plow, and the value of a good neighbor was understood. When cowboys were king, life was simple. Life was hard, but it was simple. Hard work was a way of life, but family was put above all else. When cowboys were king, there was a connection to the land. Even the folks that lived in the big eastern cities understood that their food was grown or raised and respected the folks that provided it.
When cowboys were king, a man’s word was his bond and his handshake was a binding contract. There was no need for lengthy contracts and fancy words written by lawyers. Honest people could make a life with hard work and perseverance, and those who cheated and lied found that their reputation would make their lives difficult. When cowboys were king there was a code of honor among them. Roundup crews would gather in the spring and in the fall to brand and work cattle. Cowboys would take care of their stock and the stock of their neighbors if they happened to drift onto their range.
Cowboys lived by their own code. Though they may get wild and tie one on in town on Saturday night, they were sure enough ready to put in a hard days work the following week. When cowboys were king, they took pride in their work. A hard day in the saddle was better than a good day in an office. The simplicity of life cannot be comprehended by today’s standards. We live life in houses filled with every convenience known and can’t function without the phone in our shirt pocket. A hundred and fifty years ago, a good saddle and a warm wool blanket were enough to keep a man content.
I’m not saying that I’m ready to give up things like electricity and indoor plumbing, but I think that we can take some lessons from those that came before us. I turn on the nightly news and it seems as though almost daily there is some new tragedy that has been committed by our fellow man. What happened to holding each other accountable and accepting responsibility for our own actions, right or wrong regardless of what the consequences may be. We live in a time where we want everyone to validate our actions. We post endlessly on social media and thrive on the comments and approval of others.
I think that it’s time we make cowboys king again. Let’s teach our children to appreciate the value in a hard day’s work. Show them how to shake a man’s hand firmly and look him in the eye so he knows the value of your word. Let’s take pride in the simple things in life. Enjoy a cup of coffee as you watch God paint the prettiest picture on the horizon, be kind to those around you and lift up your brother when he stumbles instead of belittling him on the internet for the world to see. For that matter forget about what the world thinks. Do what you know is right and be an example to those around you. That’s all for this time, keep tabs on your side of the barbed wire and God bless.
Meinzer is a fourth-generation rancher raised on the southeastern plains of Colorado. He and his family live and ranch in Oshkosh, Neb.