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Old-Time Trail Cowboy Describes Why He Loved Being a Cowboy

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This Texas quote is pure, homespun poetry from an old-time trail cowboy. The second paragraph is downright poetic.


"On the trail. . . when the weather was good, the streams stayed in their beds, the cattle grazed in the cool of the morning and laid in the shade, lazily chewing their cuds in the heat of the day, while the outfit feasted on sourdough biscuits, good beef and straight black coffee, every son of a gun, from boss to horse wrangler, uncrossed his legs, got to his feet, licked off his knife blade and shut it down as he walked toward his horse, whistling or singing in that unmistakable way that said plainer than words that he wouldn't swap jobs with nobody.


That was trail life, all of it. And with the exception of an occasional fight, killing or Indian trouble for variation, it was all alike. No cowboy ever started on a drive expecting to get rich. He drew his wages at the trail's end and before he left town he had spent all of it, but enough to get home on. Sometimes he didn't have enough for that and had to borrow, or draw a month ahead, He knew that he was just a plain, everyday fool for staying on the job and cussed himself for it when time and place demanded that he should, but while he sometimes traded bosses and outfits, he never changed his job. I have never been able to account for it, even to this good day. Some of the old-timers say it was the wild freedom we had, others the tang of danger that always hung in the air, still others lay it to the feel of a galloping pony between your knees. I don't know which, or what, made it so fascinating. But I do know that it never leaves you."

----- old trail cowboy Bill Morgan, Dallas, Semiweekly Farm News, 1930

Beauty is only skin deep but Texas is to the bone.

Posted : 24th December 2019 10:02 pm