Tag: Cowboy Code

Addled With April & Quotes to Remember

Addled with April…

I have never forgotten that phrase, as quoted by Sr. Mariel, SSJ, in Nazareth Academy first year honors English.

Addled with April.

Marjorie Kinnan Rawling’s “The Yearling” one of the most thought-provoking and beautiful books I’ve ever read.

I’ve always had a kinship with words and animals. Maybe that’s why The Yearling and Where the Red Fern Grows and Girl of the Limberlost and Old Yeller got to me.

Coming of age stories touch not just our hearts but our souls. They touch that spot inside us that feels vulnerable and awful and good. They speak to the rise of hormones and the worry of school, of change, of time passing. Beautiful girls, handsome boys and things spinning out of our control.

Of course life does that. It does it fairly often, but not generally to everyone. If a hurricane roars through Louisiana or Texas or Florida, we dip into our pockets and help out.

If an earthquake rumbles buildings loose in Indonesia, we dip into our pockets and help out.

If a stricken child wants to go to Disneyworld and it’s their Make-a-Wish dream, we dip into our pockets and help out.

But this pandemic isn’t nearly that selective. It’s hit global nations, and quiet neighborhoods. It’s brought the city that never sleeps to its knees and woken up indigenous tribes who had the virus brought to them by miners.

It has killed and maimed and it has been contained and stifled by a brand new term we’ve all come to know and love to hate: Social distancing.

It means no hugging, no visiting around a table, no potlucks, no hoe-downs, no square dances, no dances of any kind, no parties, no festive Easter celebrations and … yes, who would have ever thought this????

No church.

No church in America.

And when that sinks in and we realize we can’t eat out, but we better learn how to eat in…. and clean and wash hands (really, men, all y’all knew how to wash hands, you just didn’t do it, don’t try to fool us women) and there is no stopping for coffee or even playing on playgrounds in many places, the reality comes into sharp focus. We sacrificed to save others.

Now that’s Cowboy Code right there. The kind of code that puts the horse up comfortably before he comes in the house to drop his boots and grab a bite. The kind of code that has a mom staying up half the night making a costume for an eight-year-old because she was busy warming three lambs who got born on an ice-cold field just hours before. The kind of code that has a mom refuse dessert because there’s just enough for the other four people… because she’s way too full to eat another bite.

Yeah.

That kind of code.

It’s tough. It’s weird. And when this all first started and experts were arguing ten ways to Sunday about doing this, that or the other thing, one expert stood out to me…

Like that “Addled with April” alliterative quote I’ve never forgotten.

And he said “If we don’t do this and a million people die we’re going to have to deal with the choice we made the rest of our lives. And if we do do close things down to avoid the cross-contamination and exponential numbers, we’re going to look at the mere thousands of deaths and wonder why we ruined an economy for that many people. And that’s when we’ll know the strategy worked.”

So here’s to you. All of you. All of you who cried on Easter when you couldn’t go to church or hug a baby or visit a parent or stop by a nursing home and give Gran a hug.

To all of you who’ve put meeting newborns on hold, and couldn’t fight your way into a hospital to tell a loved one goodbye.

To all of you who swiped and wiped and cleaned and sewed masks and donated and acted like the very best human beings on the planet:

Thank you.

Because of you…

Because of us…

It’s thousands, not millions.

And that’s something we can all be proud of.

Sending God’s most ardent blessings to the world as we keep on keepin’ on.

We’ve got this, my friends.

We’ve got this.

 

The Code of the West

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“Real courage is when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway.”  Harper Lee

The Code of the West is the stuff that builds legends. Like the Knights in Medieval times, I like my heroes  to have a code to live by ~ a moral compass of unwritten rules that center on honor, fair play, loyalty, and respect for the land.

The stories that stick with me, those that I mull over long after reading them, often have the hero or heroine struggling with hard choices. I am particularly moved by stories about honor— where a man (or woman) grapples with doing what he believes is right in the face of extraordinary opposition.

Honor =     

High moral standards of behavior
Honesty, fairness, or integrity in one’s beliefs and actions
Good reputation. Good quality or character as judged by other people.

Two examples in westerns that I can think of right off are Crossfire Trail – where the hero promises a friend on the man’s deathbed that he will take care of the man’s ranch and wife against powerful enemies. And then, even though it looks like will mean his death, he does it.

The other is High Noon – On the day of his wedding, our hero has promised his wife to put up his guns. Then he hears that three outlaws he put in prison and are out and coming to get him. Oh…and one by one, all his friends desert him.

The cowboys and women of my stories often grapple with right and wrong too.

In Dance With a Cowboy, part of the Wild West Christmas anthology, Garrett Sheridan has always loved Kathleen—even before she becamNOVEMBER 8 Book Covere his sister-in-law in a mix-up maneuvered by his fun-loving younger brother. Serious & quiet, Garrett should have spoken up before the wedding, but once he learned she was expecting, he kept his feelings to himself.

For years he has kept quiet. But now Kathleen is a young widow with a five-year old daughter in tow. The two need looking after…and Garrett can’t turn his back on that—or Kathleen—even though she wants nothing to do with the Sheridan side of the family. Trouble is ~ if she learns he was the cause of his brother’s death, she will never let him near her again.

 

I like to think of the American cowboy as the American counterpart to the medieval knight. (Usually with a more self-deprecating sense of humor!) One of my favorite movies about a knight is Kingdom of Heaven which takes place at the time of the Crusades. Although I skip through the more violent fighting parts, I love the story of young Balian becoming a knight. Here is the oath he took ~Kingdom of Heaven 1

“Be without fear in the face of your enemies.

Be brave and upright that God may love thee.

Speak the truth always, even if it leads to your death.

Safeguard the helpless and do no wrong – that is your oath.”

-The Knight’s Oath (Kingdom of Heaven)

 

Isn’t that just so very sigh-worthy?

However, I imagine a cowboy’s code might have a different twist, such as ~

 

Look your enemy in the eye and don’t blink or spit,

Saddle up and take the high trail,

Steer clear of lyin’ scoundrels, including yourself,

Kindly help women and children and cut a straight trail ~ mud or no mud.

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What do you think? I’d love to hear suggestions to make my cowboy’s code better. Just have fun with it!

One lucky commenter will receive a free print copy of Wild West Christmas ~ my small contribution to Christmas in July that seems to be everywhere this month!