Cowboys


03 Jul 2011 03:26 am

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My children on some rocks at Fort Monroe years ago.

Boy it was hot today. But it was even hotter yesterday. I went to see my sister about thirty five miles south of me and spent a few hours helping her to inventory art items and when I got back in my car the temperature was 117 degrees. As I was driving home I glanced at the temperature gauge and it was slow to cool. By the time I arrived home the temp had merely cooled to 102 degrees. And I was thirsty. I was so dry I was spitting cotton. Unlike some people, I don’t like heat. Summer is my least favorite season.

An odd thing happened while I was with my sister counting and listing all the art materials. We were in her art room which is in an old stone building and has absolutely no windows. The air conditioner was old and struggling to keep us cool. Around five o’clock I had a feeling that it was raining outside.

I walked over to open the door to take a look and no, it was sunny and hot. A weird feeling. I was wrong. But after I got home I noticed that almost all the lights were out in the house. My husband told me that we had had a power failure for a couple of hours even though there hadn’t been any bad weather, just a little rain.

I checked the weather and discovered that just a few blocks away there had been quite a bit of bad weather, one of those “microbursts” of wind and rain that knocked down a lot of power lines.

So I was glad that the flowers and Alberta Pines had been watered by the rain and that I was home and the electricity had been restored and that, for once, I had missed the lack of it. But I did have to endure the heat inside the car.

We Americans are so spoiled.

I know I am.

I am writing the whiny proof about myself.

Last night ended up being a delight because with our precious electricity we were able to view the Coen Brothers True Grit for the first time. I had resisted all this time because, being a John Wayne fan and a purist for the original True Grit I didn’t think it could be improved upon. But it could and it was.

How do I judge a movie? Not only by how much it affects me while I am watching it but by how much I think about it later. I love how the Coen Brothers captured the dialect/language of the era and region. Much of it, of course, was lifted straight from the Charles Portis book and was in the first True Grit but the dialogue in the Coens’ True Grit was rich and well delivered, developing the characters through the use of it. The original was like reading the New American Standard Bible but the Coen Brothers’ True Grit was like reading the King James Bible. (I much prefer that)

What touched me personally? The Fort Smith where Mattie found Rooster Cogburn still has some people around here who live their lives and speak as uncompromisingly as Mattie Ross. (my grandmother spoke with few contractions)

My favorite scene? Seeing that little girl put on her over-sized hat and get on her ten dollar pony (named Little Blackie) and plunge into the Poteau River to catch up with Rooster and La Boeuf and make it to the other side. Mattie herself had True Grit.

We need more people with True Grit (unyielding courage in the face of danger) We see it everyday in our military, and in heroic people who step up to save people in danger but it is rare to see it in those in the political realm. That is, it is rare to see courage in those who are in elective office.

Some individuals, Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman, in particular, are courageous in my book. Sarah is still standing after the relentless attacks of the democrat hounds of hell. They are just now starting on Michelle.

Our Founders had the grit to face the British in 1776. They endured many long years before we had what Franklin termed a Republic. If we are to keep it, we have to stop the whining, and stand up and unite behind a conservative who we can trust to stand up and rouse the American people to listen and vote out that sorry outfit in the White House.

It may be still hot outside but we can take the heat.

01 Mar 2007 01:13 am

calfroping

KAIA LARSEN • TIMES RECORD

Jerry Solesbee ropes a calf Tuesday afternoon on his property in Greenwood with friends. He and friends Don Womack, Jim Sharp, Junior Holland and Roy Cates were practicing team roping for a competition at Coal Hill this weekend.

I’ve always liked cowboys, having grown up in a western Arkansas Rodeo culture. A cowboy is a straight forward sort of person not much into nuance. What you see is what you get… cowboys do much of their work in isolation, roping cattle, riding the range and keeping the livestock safe. The cowboy culture as developed in the American West brought us rugged individuals known for their personal honesty and self-dependence.

During my husband’s first tour to Germany back in 1977, we were surprised to learn that Germans were crazy about American cowboys and western culture. Times have changed I know, but I still miss the days of John Wayne, James Arness, and Gary Cooper.

I recently finished reading Mornings on Horseback by David McCullough, the story of Theodore Roosevelt. The book chronicles seventeen years of Theodore’s life from his delicate childhood fraught with near fatal asthma attacks to his struggle to manhood and life as a cowboy.

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Teddy didn’t just play around with horses and cattle, he lived the rugged life of a cowboy in the badlands. After his wife, Alice Lee and his mother, Mittie Bulloch Roosevelt died on the same day, Teddy returned to the Dakota Territory living the life of a cowboy while overcoming his great grief. The strenuous life carried him from illness to good health, strengthening him in body and soul.

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Twenty-Sixth President

1901-1909

When we lived in Panama just a few minutes walk from the great Goethals Monument I had many occasions to think of the greatness of Roosevelt. The amazing achievement of the construction of the Panama Canal and the program enacted to bring under control mosquito borne illness greatly decreased deaths of the canal workers and made Panama a much more healthful place in which to live. Teddy Roosevelt put America on the map as a world power, steering our nation from the nineteenth to the twentieth century with his robust belief in American power and goodness.

Teddy Roosevelt was one of the elemental American men and he was a cowboy.

Which brings to mind Ronald Reagan, another intrinsic American cowboy.

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40th President of the United States (1981–1989)

Courtesy Ronald Reagan Library

Reagan differed from Roosevelt in political policy but was similar to TR in his optimistic outlook and belief in the goodness of this country.

Another man standing up against great opposition in order to accomplish a monumental goal, that of defending our country from the threat of Islamic terrorism, is President George W. Bush. He has the heart of a cowboy too.

gwbushranch

43rd President of the United States

I believe America still loves her cowboys. I don’t believe America will elect a non-cowboy in 2008. We are living in serious times.

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Nope. Obama’s just a drugstore cowboy. No Home on the Range for him.

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Uh. Hillary. Wrong hat.