research for my articles, I run across many quotes that strike a chord. Here are
a few to ponder and enjoy:
When a writer posts a disclaimer before he writes that says, “Me, my publisher
and editor are not responsible for the facts, opinions, prejudices and interpretations
which lend perspective to our yarn,” you better beware, all you read may not be
But, when you read, “every tub must stand on its own bottom,” you
can proceed at least knowing you are allowed an opinion about the yarn.
In some areas of the West, students had to read out loud so the other students
could follow along in their own primers.
These were called “blab schools”
and teachers who used this method were called “blab teachers.”
a writing conference recently a speaker said, “To write nonfiction, one should
be under the influence of true facts, proven historical references and a true
passion for literary excellence. To write good fiction, one should merely be under
place great significance on the information contained in the governmental census
taken every 10 years.
But, common sense tells us in the Old West, where
enumerators of the census were paid by the head, information was garnered where
it was most profitably available.
For example, if the law was looking
for you, being added to the census might not be real smart.
good cowman was once described as a man who managed to have an 80 percent calf
crop each year in spite of the rain and weather.
An “enterprising cowman”
was described as driving 50 head of steers into the hills where they have five
to six branded calves each to sell at market time.
Names were not important in the Old West, especially the commonly used name of
Smith. Many Westerners, whose real names might be dangerous if heard by certain
people, took up another name called a “go-by-handle,” and his abode where he lived
was often called a “roosting spot.”
Texas Ranger, on the hunt for an outlaw of whom little was known except that he
was a dangerous killer, described his mission as, “the goosiest of wild goose
Griffin, established July 31, 1867, was described as follows: “Fort
Griffin was thrust into Comancheria as a spearhead to conquer the Comanche
Indians. The civilian town, located just below the hill on which the fort was
located, festered into life on the flat below. The Army payroll, buffalo hunters
and bull whackers hauling government freight provided the impetus that was followed
by whores, gamblers, thieves, outlaws, magpies and buzzards and Indians with cast-iron
stomachs. The place was described as a throbbing pustule that burst into life
To distinguish from the infamous Hell’s Half Acre in Fort
Worth, Fort Griffin was described
as “Hell’s Half Hundred Acres.” Sounds like the new town could have used a little
PR work from a chamber of commerce.
Trew - September
20, 2011 column
Trew is a freelance writer and retired rancher. He can be reached at 806-779-3164,
by mail at Box A, Alanreed, Texas 79002, or by email at trew email@example.com.
For books see delberttrew.com. His column appears weekly
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