My post on Cowboy Rules caused a bit of controversy. As many pointed out, they could be rules for much of Rural America, from the South to the less populated Midwest to Minnesota. Although I don’t see why geographic location should exclude someone from claiming to be a cowboy. Cowboy is a state of mind. And if I can aspire to Cowgirlhood — with two New England parents, an Ivy League education and several years lived in Europe– well anyone who works hard enough at it should be able to claim cowboy status. After all, George W. Bush worked hard to project a cowboy image and he, like us, had a ranch with no livestock but terriers. But this situation did set me off looking for a more truly Cowboy source for some cowboy guidelines.
Turns out there are a lot of lists out there. I found everything from The Texas Rangers’ Deputy Oath (meaning the Lonesome Dove style Texas Rangers, not the ball club) to Wild Bill Hickok’s Deputy Marshall’s Code of Conduct. (Did Wild Bill follow any code of conduct?) Anyway, there was one list that I particularly liked. It’s from my Dad’s childhood, but still seems to have relevance for today. So I offer you:
Gene Autry’s Cowboy Code
- The Cowboy must never shoot first, hit a smaller man or take unfair advantage.
- He must never go back on his word or a trust confided in him.
- He must always tell the truth.
- He must be gentle with children, the elderly and animals.
- He must not advocate or possess racially or religiously intolerant ideas.
- He must help people in distress.
- He must be a good worker.
- He must keep himself clean in thought, speech, action and personal habits.
- He must respect women, parents and his nation’s laws.
- The Cowboy is a patriot.
I don’t know about you, but Gene’s the kind of guy I could ride with. Although I’d be interested in Willie Nelson’s Cowboy Outlaw Rules.
Can I hear a Ti-Yi-Whoopie-Whoopie-Yay, Saddle Pals!