Laura Drewry Shares Some Cowboy Wisdom

lauradrewryphoto.jpgThank you wonderful ladies at P&P for inviting me to blog this weekend! I’m so excited to be here, surrounded by other people who read and write western romances. In my opinion, there is no better era to write about than the old west. It was a time of growth and prosperity, of poverty and loneliness. It’s a time I love to read about, a time I love to imagine, and a time I’m really happy I didn’t have to live through.

One of my favorite parts of writing westerns is creating the hero; a man who is larger than life, a man who will do whatever it takes to protect his woman, even if it means protecting her from himself. So I thought I’d talk a little bit about what it is that makes a cowboy….well, so downright yummy.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a cowboy is:

(1) one who tends cattle or horses; especially: a usually mounted cattle-ranch hand

(2) a rodeo performer

(3) one having special qualities (as recklessness, aggressiveness, or independence) popularly associated with cowboys

With all due respect to Mr. Webster, I think Will James ( sums it up more succinctly. “A cowboy is a man with guts and a horse.”

Heck, even Willie Nelson cuts right to the chase: “Cowboys ain’t easy to love and they’re harder to hold.”

cowboys3.jpgFor a man to be the hero in my books, he must be honorable, strong, and dependable, and more often than not, he’ll also be stubborn and single-minded to a fault. The heroine might want to crack him upside the head for being so obstinate, but at the same time, she wouldn’t have him any other way. He never shirks his duties nor does he quit before the job is done. If he says he’s going to do something, then durn it, he’ll do it, no matter how hard, and no matter how dangerous. He’s quick to defend the weak and the young, and though he doesn’t usually go looking for a fight, it’s not in him to back down if he’s challenged. 

cowboyswbluesunrise1.jpgCowboys of the old west lived by rules all their own, and these things are brought to life in our books. A long while back, when I was researching something for a book, I came across this list of Cowboy Wisdom I haven’t included the whole list, just the ones I enjoyed the most, but I’m pretty sure the world would be a better place if we all took heed of some of these rules.

If you get to thinkin’ you’re a person of influence, try orderin’ around another man’s dog.

Always drink upstream from the herd.

Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.

Never miss a good chance to shut up.

Don’t name a cow you plan to eat.

Meanness don’t happen overnight.

Don’t sell your mule to buy a plough.

Every trail has some puddles.

When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.

Don’t squat with your spurs on.

Sometimes silence is the best answer.

It don’t take a genius to spot a goat in a flock of sheep.

Never kick a cow chip on a hot day.

devils_daughtersm.jpgOddly enough, it’s this last bit of wisdom that leads me to segue into my upcoming book. In The Devil’s Daughter, Lucille Firr is the devil’s daughter who’s used to getting what she wants when she wants it. She is not used to picking up buffalo chips, which is only the first of many arguments with her new human husband, Jed Caine.

Jed is every bit the cowboy. He likes things simple. He wants his wife to be simple, and with everything that’s going on in his life, he doesn’t have time for frippery or a woman’s romantic notions. Good thing Lucy’s not interested in romance. All she’s interested in is seducing the pants off him and stealing his soul. And if that means she has to pick up a few chips along the way then….ugh….that’s what she’ll have to do.

Theirs is a unique marriage to say the least, starting out with a whole lot of lies, unrealistic expectations and many, many failed attempts at making a decent pot of coffee. (When I put it that way, I guess it’s a lot like many marriages, isn’t it? LOL)

Lucy is determined to win Jed’s soul, because the alternative is unthinkable. And given who she is, it really shouldn’t be that difficult. But five minutes after marrying this human, she begins to doubt her abilities. He makes her collect buffalo droppings, he expects her to cook, and despite her best efforts, he still hasn’t made her his wife in the one way she needs. There’s no question he wants her, but he wants more than just her body. He wants her to respect him before he takes her to bed. Who ever heard of such a thing?

And if this isn’t frustrating enough, her foolish and traitorous heart is beginning to want the same thing! How is she ever going to explain this to her father?

devils_daughtersm.jpgHarriet Klausner calls The Devil’s Daughter “devilishly delightful” and Kathe Robin of RTBOOKReviews says, “It reads like the best of Americana, with the right hint of devilishness, proving that naughty can be good.”

Writing westerns is a lot of fun, but it’s even more fun when I can come to a place like Petticoats and Pistols and chat with others who enjoy them as much as I do. May we continue to enjoy page after page of strong, hot cowboys and the women who put a little hitch in their giddy-up. Thanks for inviting me over!

Do you have any other bits of wisdom from the old west or perhaps a saying that’s been passed down by your parents or grandparents?

One lucky commenter today will receive a book tote that’s stuffed with lots of

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53 thoughts on “Laura Drewry Shares Some Cowboy Wisdom”

  1. Hi, Laura! 😀 Great blog! How about this one:

    Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.

    I also have a “funny” that my father-in-law always says . . . If the man is the head of the house, then the woman is the neck. And the head doesn’t move without the neck. 😉

    Have a great weekend, everyone!

  2. Hi Laura! Congratulations on your book coming out! I can’t wait to read it. It is on my TBR list!

    As for sayings, I have a few here from Never Ask a Man the Size of his Spread – A cowgirl’s guide to Life by Gladiola Montana.

    “Use a short rope, a sweet smile, and a hot brand.”

    “Callin’ women the weaker sex makes about as much sense as callin’ men the stronger one.”

    “Whether a horse turns out to be a good cow horse pretty much depends on the intelligence of the handler.”

    I just love quotations and sayings of any type, but especially western sayings–they just seem to have more verve and sass than others. They always make me chuckle.

    Kathryn Albright

  3. Good Morning Laura

    When I saw who the upcoming blogger was I checked out your website. I now have to have your books.
    Westerns are sooooooo great. As far as sayings my grandmother had so many it is hard to think of one unless the saying applies, then they automatically come out.

    One of her best is “if offered something free take it even if you throw it away later”. I guess that was the era she was from. I have said this so much my boss now quote it.

  4. Hi Laura!
    Congratulations on your new book. My grandfather had his funny sayings one of which comes out every Thanksgiving to this day. “It all goes down the same way” he would insist when you were serving pie or anything else and it would fall apart.

  5. Hey, My grandmother had a saying about food. She would place it in front of you and say “done or rawl it’s good to chaw”.

    Another good one “nothing goes over the devil’s back that doesn’t come back under his belly”.

  6. Here are some that you question. “Tighter than Dick’s hatband” Don’t know who Dick was but he should buy a new hat.

    “Drunker than Cooter Brown” Again don’t know Mt. Brown but he should seek help.

    Just a few of Nannie’s sayings. They seem to be pouring out. Her best saying that I quote alot is “Pretty is as Pretty does”.

    Sorry for taking up so much blogging space.

  7. <p><p>Never miss a good chance to shut up.</p><br />
    <p>I love this. Ah, how wise we’d all be if we just remembered this. :)</p><br />
    <p>Great post Laura.<br /><br />
    Let’s see…</p><br />
    <p>When my mother-in-law says what she has planned she’ll often add, “Good Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise.”</p><br />
    <p>My uncle loves saying, “I only like two kinds of pie. Hot and cold.”</p><br />
    <p>Here’s a classic, ‘Better to remain silent and let people think you’re a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.'</p><br />
    <p>Here’s one I used to tell my softball girls when I was coaching, “You can’t hit without missing. The best batter in the major league is missing three out of four pitches so don’t be afraid to miss.”</p></p>

  8. Good morning ladies! It’s so great to be here with you.

    Andrea – I love that ‘funny’! There’s a whole lotta truth in it, too. 🙂

    hi Kathryn! I’ve just put that book on my “to find” list. The saying about the short rope and the sweet smile could be used to a whole lot of things in life, couldn’t it? LOL

    Sherry – thanks! And your grandmother’s right; mine always said “free is good”. LOL although, after seeing some of the free stuff, I might have to argue the point. . .


  9. Hi Maureen – my grandpa used to say the same thing at every meal because I hated it when different foods touched each other and he’d always say “it’s all going to the same place anyway”. LOL

    LOL Sherry – those are hilarious! My Ding-Dong Grandma used to say someone was an “asset to music” and to this day I’m still scratching my head over it. 🙂

    Great line Mary – ‘don’t be afraid to miss’. There’s a lesson we could use in everyday life, isn’t it?

    This is so much fun – thanks ladies!!


  10. Laura,
    Love your cowboy sayings. An old one that always makes me laugh is ‘never squat with your spurs on.’ I always picture a cowboy so flustered by the presence of a pretty gal that he forgets.


  11. I had to laugh when I came across the wisdom.. don’t name a cow you plan to eat….

    I suppose that is why Abiline and Esmeralda are still in my back yard!

    Lots of these emeralds(sayings) would make the basis for good stories. I hope you’ll follow up with it. Looking forward to your upcoming book.

  12. Hi Laura–we at loved your book! Gave it 5 spurs! As for sayings, my Daddy always favored: “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.” which he usually said about one of his stubborn daughters as he was shaking his head. 🙂 We took after Daddy in that regard! Loved your blog because you know we love cowboys!

  13. Congratulations on your book!
    “Never miss a good chance to shut up.” We Finns have some other sayings that basically have the same idea: ”speaking is silver, but silence is gold”.
    And here’s another Finnish saying:
    “Take a man by his words and a bull by its horns”

  14. Laura, welcome to P&P! We’re so happy to have you. Congratulations on your new book. It looks like a must-have one for me and my TBR stack is teetering now. 🙂

    My mom had a bunch of old sayings — “Born on a Wednesday and looking both ways for Sunday.”; “Dull as dish water.”; Drunk on ignorance and staggering on starvation.”

    I love old sayings and write them down as I hear ’em. They’re great to sprinkled through a story.

    Great topic and excellent blog! Enjoy the day. 🙂

  15. Hi Linda – those flustered cowboys are just the ones I love to write about. The bigger they are. . . 🙂

    Nancy – do you really have cows names Abiline and Esmeralda?? Oooh, that’s so much fun! Of course now I’ll be all day humming “Abiline, Abiline, prettiest girl I ever seen . . .” 🙂

    Hi Carol – yes, you all gave me a fabulous review and I can’t thank you enough! And my dad did his fair share of head shaking when it came to me and my 3 sisters. It didn’t take him long to realize he’d never understand us. LOL

    Thanks for coming everyone!!

  16. Hi Minna and thank you! Silence is gold – ain’t that the truth?? If only my own little darlings would learn the wisdom in that saying. hee hee

    Hi Charlene – thanks so much for having me here this weekend!

    And hi Linda – thanks so much for your help. 🙂 I haven’t heard the ‘drunk on ignorance’ expression before, but you can bet it’s being added to the list right now! LOL

  17. I thought of another pearl of wisdom DingDong Grandma used to say. She liked to use the word ‘gawkarse’ a lot, which I’m sure is some kind of Maritime word, because she was from Nova Scotia and they love to use the word arse. LOL I love that word – ‘gawkarse’. 🙂

  18. Lovely blog which is entertaining and unique. The cowboy sayings are wonderful. Don’t look a gifthorse in the mouth is a favorite. Great to have you visit here.

  19. Fun post! I remember my mother saying “Watch out for the bunny in the tunnel” back in the 40s – I never did figure out what it meant, and she never did tell me…!

  20. Great post, gave me some smiles today. Unfortunately, my family never really had any sayings so I have none to share. I, too, believe you shouldn’t name something you’re going to eat!

  21. “You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear”,
    “you can dish it out but can’t take it”
    “You can’t trust a man that can’t trust is pants” This one applies to a man who wears a belt and suspenders.

    As I said my Nannie had a saying for everything

  22. A penny saved is a penny earned
    Don’t cry over spilled milk
    The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree

    Congrats. on your release. Great post which is fun. Thank.

  23. As usual, I am late getting to P and P…but what I treat now that I’m here! I just love the wisdoms, but my favorite hands down is “Don’t Squat With Your Spurs On.” And I appreciate the websites.

    No wisdoms from my family–we’re a bunch of duds LOL.

    Your release sounds fantastic, what a great “hook.” Best of luck!

  24. My mother used to say: “For free, take. For buy,
    waste time! (I think that came from Arthur Godfrey,
    who got it from some Hawaiian friends, and you can’t
    get much farther West than Hawaii!
    One of Dad’s favorites: He would describe a tall
    person as “a long, tall drink of water.”

    Pat Cochran

  25. Penny wise and pound foolish.
    I haven’t hung up my spurs yet
    Plenty of life left in me

    I love all quotes and sayings. So interesting and unique.
    Congratulations on your books.

  26. Every one has such great sayings. When we would come in for dinner and ask my parents what is for dinner they would always say “Fried Farts and Garlic.” I have no idea where it came from, but know I tell my children that and my oldest son always says that he’ll supply the farts.

    The book sounds great I can’t wait to read it.

  27. Hey I just thought of one I had to share.

    My grandmother always said when she died to put on her headstone “Don’t put miss on my headstone, cause I hadn’t missed a thing” not really a saying but funny

    One time we girls where sitting around talking about sex. You know it always comes up. Someone asked Nannie how old do you have to be to not want sex anymore. Her reply was “You will have to ask someone older than me. (She was in her 70’s then) We laughed forever after that.

    I sure do miss her alot.

  28. Hi Laura, your new book sounds very interesting. That’s what i love the most about the western reads is the strong willed cowboy’s. I always said i wanted to marry a cowboy when i grew up but however I did Not. Today is our 18th wedding anniversary and I’m happy for the cowboy reads with the cowboy’s we love to read about in them. I think it helps to endure what we miss out on in real life LOL!!

  29. Laura, I like thte one “Never miss a good chance to shut up” there’s alot of truth to that one! also “The grass is not always greener on the other side”

  30. About….”The grass is always greener…”

    “The grass is always greener over the ceptic tank” usually turns out to be more like it. 🙂

    Great post Laura, lots of good wisdom.


  31. What a great blog Laura. I agree whole heartedly with everyone that cowboy wsdom is terrific. I’m not sure if this counts, but I always tell my husband, when he is saying something that is crass or not appropriate,”Don’t talk out loud in front of people.” It used to end with, “Always just your horse.” It makes him mad, but it saves me from my mad, and that suits me fine…LOL Hope everyone has a great week-end, and Thanks again Laura!!!!!!!!!!!

  32. Hi Laura, nice to see you here! Congrats on your new release!

    The saying that hit my head is – Why buy the cow when you can get the milk free.

    Up to the mouth around my gums look out belly cause here it comes.

    The grass is alway greener on the other side.

  33. My father in law used to say, “I’m agin it.”
    Meaning he was against something. Or he’d say, “Are you fer it or agin it?”
    That just sounds like such hillbilly stuff but he wasn’t one really, that was just his way of using that saying. He died about six years ago at age 84.

  34. Thanks for blogging here… I have to be honest and say I am not really fond of cowboy romances, but I think I should pick up one of your books 🙂

  35. Wow – this is so much fun! 🙂

    Anne & Alissa – thank you so much. 🙂 I remember my mom using the ‘gift horse’ line on me as a kid and it took me forever to figure out what she was talking about! LOL

    Karen – the bunny in the tunnel? hmmm I’ll have to think on that one.

    Lynn – maybe you can start a whole new thing in your family with one of these expressions we’re learning about today. LOL

    Sherry – suspenders and a belt?? Now that you say that, I’m sure I have pictures from a family reunion not so long ago where more than one man was wearing both. LOL

    Ellie – I never understood the one about spilled milk because when I was growing up (and even now with my kids) – milk is expensive and a real pain to clean up! 😉

  36. I”m having the best time here! LOL

    Tanya – every family has someone funny in it, so I doubt you’re a bunch of duds. LOL

    Patricia – ‘long tall drink of water’ – just what I was thinking every time I saw Trace Adkins on Celebrity Apprentice. 🙂 Talk about cowboys!! Yummy!!

    Pearl – I like the expression ‘I haven’t hung up my spurs yet’. Might have to use that one.. . .

    Rebekah – I snorted coffee all down the front of me when I read about your fried farts and garlic. That’s hilarious! Mom used to tell us we were having black eyed peas and sow’s belly. Now I tell the boys we’re having chicken surprise. Sometimes, the surprise is that it IS actually chicken. Sometimes it’s PBJ’s. 🙂

    Sherry – we should all have a grandmother like yours! I bet she was an amazing woman. 🙂

  37. Enjoyed your fun blog today. I love hearing these special phrases and quotes which are from a bygone era. I have many that I use just for the family fun.
    Don’t Fret
    At Sixes and sevens
    Dressed to the nines
    Angry as a cut snake
    The laast straw
    If wishes were horses
    If pigs could fly
    I’ll be your huckleberry

  38. Lori – Happy Anniversary!! I hope you’re doing something fun to celebrate tonight. I didn’t marry a cowboy either, but he’s stubborn as one, and has his own “pearls of wisdom” he likes to share once in a while. Not always appropriate. . .

    so Amy, I’m going to start using your line about him not talking out loud in front of people – that’s hilarious!

    Pam – the ceptic tank? ROFL!! Yeah, I guess it would be, wouldn’t it?

    Virginia – my boys love using that for grace before meals. They think it’s the funniest thing, and so do I, but I usually keep my mom face on and make them say grace properly. 🙂

    Mary – sounds like your father-in-law would have been a fun man to talk to. Might have taken me a while to figure out what he meant, but that would have been half the fun.

    Lily – thanks so much for coming by.

    And Nathalie. . . we need to bring you over to the cowboy side. Once you’re hooked, you’ll be hooked for life and there’ll be no going back! 🙂

    Thank you everyone for coming here and making me laugh so much! What a great way to spend the day.


  39. Hi Diane – we grew up using ‘dressed to the nines’, too. When I was in Tombstone a couple years ago, I came across a shirt with Val Kilmer’s face and “I’m Your Huckleberry” on it. Had to buy it. 🙂

  40. Love all the sayings everyone has come up with! My grandfather would always say something was discombobulated.

  41. another one i use to hear alot ” Don’t bite off your nose to spite your face” I never really got that one. Our anniversary has been nice we went out to eat WITH OUT the Kids!! It was nice being able to eat dinner with out bickering between siblings or complaining!!

  42. Lori, that’s great! Congratulations. Don’t know how you managed to celebrate your anniversary without your kids. Bet that took some arranging.

    I used to hear that saying a lot too. 🙂

  43. Thank you for coming to stay a spell in Wildflower Junction, Laura! What a wonderful topic you picked. Some of the comments had me laughing out loud.

    My Grandma St.John never ever said a bad word as long as I knew her. When she got really really mad or dropped and broke something, she would shout, “Oh horse, feathers!” I have no idea where the expression came from, but my mom still says it.

    Another one I loved: When she’d pull something out from under the bed and had to wipe the dust off, she would say, “Somebody’s either coming or going under there.”

  44. Thank you all so much for inviting me here and sharing your funny stories with me. This has been so much fun!

    I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, filled with sunshine, relaxation and a fabulous new book! 🙂

    Thanks again everyone!!



  45. I hate to bother you but I wanted you to know about my new management book, Wingtips with Spurs: Cowboy Wisdom for Today’s Business Leaders. As the base of each business topic, it starts with a bit of cowboy wisdom just like the one’s you have here. Anyway, I’ll get out of your way. Just thought you might be interested.

    Michael L. Gooch

  46. Hello,

    I would really like to use the photos in this post for a website design I am working on. I am particularly interested in the one with the bright yellow sun showing in the horizon with the cowboys in the foreground. Please e-mail me and let me know if it would be alright for me to use that picture! Thanks so much! (Oh, by the way, it is for an Idaho Saddle Club website.) Thanks!

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