Saturday, October 13, 2007

Home on the range?


On Friday, we went to see Riders in the Sky! I won tickets at lunchtime from a radio station but I was thinking about buying tickets if I didn't win them. We've seen them once before and it was a nice show. I do like me some cowboy music and they were doing a centennial tribute to Gene Autry. It was a nice enough time but occasionally when listening to songs about cowpokes and herds and calves and pushin' dogies I start to think about the actual subject matter. It's a nice enough imaginary picture, cowboys and horses and sunsets and I'll tap my toe to a tune about that. And while I prefer not to eat meat, purchase leather items or display a pair of horns on the front of my Yaris, I don't judge those who do or who make their living from that industry.

I read Ree's Confessions of a Pioneer Woman like a lot of you, and admire all she has learned and become. I have the opposite experience as her, coming from a farm to live in the city. Her stories and pictures often remind me of the lives of my family and my sister's family and some of the things you accept when you are part of the system. And so, one of my thoughts during the concert, during the song Ridin Down the Canyon, was of a recent Pioneer Woman post about shipping cattle, the modern-day equivalent of a cattle drive I suppose. Not exactly picturesque to think of electric prodding animals into trailers, but that's another reason I do like Ree's blog. She's showin' it like it is, only ever so slightly skewed toward a more romantic-comedy cattle ranch then probably actually exists, and people can see, learn and make decisions for themselves. I'll continue to listen to my cowboy songs and daydream of lonesome cowboys, driving cattle with no end in sight, no feedlot or butcher, just cacti and coyotes and a slow-moving herd. I'll leave you with the Cowboy Code:

1. The Cowboy must never shoot first, hit a smaller man, or take unfair advantage.
2. He must never go back on his word, or a trust confided in him.
3. He must always tell the truth.
4. He must be gentle with children, the elderly, and animals.
5. He must not advocate or possess racially or religiously intolerant ideas.
6. He must help people in distress.
7. He must be a good worker.
8. He must keep himself clean in thought, speech, action, and personal habits.
9. He must respect women, parents, and his nation's laws.
10. The Cowboy is a patriot.

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