Thursday, May 21, 2015

Horse Sense - By Alison Bruce

horse sense: the ability to make good judgments or decisions : common sense
(First known use of horse sense: 1832)

“Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people. ”
W.C. Fields

Since I'm a bit overwhelmed with work right now, I've fallen back on my favorite pastime: sharing quotes. The ones I like best fall into one of two categories - clever puns and elegantly expressed common wisdom. I'll save the puns for another time.

“Always drink upstream from the herd.” 
Will Rogers

Will Rogers is an excellent source of common wisdom and wit. Born in Indian Territory (aka Oklahoma) in 1879, Rogers left school to become a cowboy. Later he performed with his lasso in wild west shows, circuses and vaudeville. Poorly educated but well-read, his act included humorous observations about people, politics and life. Soon, his observations became a bigger drawn than his rope tricks.

“If you get to thinking you're a person of some influence, try ordering somebody else's dog around.”
Will Rogers 

 If I were ever to go back in time, I'd like to meet Judge Roy Bean... as long as he wasn't judging me, of course. Wikipedia describes him as "an eccentric U.S. saloon-keeper and Justice of the Peace in Val Verde County, Texas, who called himself "The Law West of the Pecos"." He was known as the hanging judge, but he only sentenced two men to hang and one of them escaped. He talked a mean game.

“A decent cowboy does not take what belongs to someone else and if he does he deserves to be strung up and left for the flies and coyotes."
Judge Roy Bean

Then there are all those bits of practical advice passed down to us by good ol' Anon.

“Don’t believe all you hear, spend all you have, or sleep all you want.” 

“Don’t cut in front and don’t crowd from behind.” 

“Oil all the wheels on your wagon, not just the squeaky one.”

Finding quotes from women of the west is a bit more challenging. Calamity Jane is reported to have said: “The bigger a man's gun the smaller his doodlewick.” But is that horse sense?

Annie Oakley seemed to have her fair share of practical wisdom as well a natural talent with a gun. She helped feed her family by hunting and later paid off the mortgage on the family farm with her earnings as a sharpshooter. Throughout her long career (she toured with the Wild West Show for twenty years, performed in exhibitions and acted in a stage play) she reportedly taught almost 15,000 women to use a gun.
Oakley believed strongly that it was crucial for women to learn how to use a gun, as not only a form of physical and mental exercise, but also to defend themselves. She said: "I would like to see every woman know how to handle guns as naturally as they know how to handle babies." - Wikipedia

“Aim at a high mark and you'll hit it. No, not the first time, nor the second time. Maybe not the third. But keep on aiming and keep on shooting for only practice will make you perfect.”
Annie Oakley

"Plugging" my books.


Caroline Clemmons said...

Nice post, Alison. I love quotes like these.

Ginger Jones Simpson said...

I've always tried to drink up stream from the herd. Makes more than perfect sense. Great post, Alison...again.

Alison E. Bruce said...

Thank you Caroline and Ginger. Turns out, even when I say I'm not going to do any research, I end up doing a bit.

Cathy Brockman said...

I love the post Alison!

Shanna Hatfield said...

Wonderful post and fun quotes. I am a big Will Rogers fan. He's someone I wish I could go back in time and meet.

Alison E. Bruce said...

Thanks Cathy and Shanna!

I wish I could have met Annie Oakley. I'd loved to have been one of the many women she taught how to shoot. She (quietly) supported women's suffrage too. When she died, her friends and family found out that she had given most of her fortune away to charities, women's groups and individual women she sponsored.

Paty Jager said...

Love the quotes! All good ones. People with common sense make the best people to quote from.

Thanks, Alison!

Alison E. Bruce said...

Thank Paty!

I've always loved the Will Rogers' line: "Never sit on your spurs."
Seems so obvious - but I bet there's more than one greenhorn that's literally done that.

Jacquie Rogers said...

I love quotes, too. Here's another one: "You can't tell how good a man or a watermelon is 'till they get thumped."