Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I Ain't Blowin' Smoke

A few months back, Cheryl wrote in this blog about reading Westerns. I took her suggestion to heart and I read the Appaloosa series by Robert Parker. I also liked 'em. They took me to another time and place. But now I can't get that twang out of my voice or them cliches out of my head.

Then I heard that Elmer Kelton had died this week. Or should I say he rode off into the sunset. I imagine he went down swinging and died with his boots on. Elmer Kelton was an award winning western writer. I have never read his books but I will now. True West magazine said, "One thing is certain: as long as there are writers as skillful as Elmer Kelton, Western literature will never die." I hope that is true, but I have seen the number of western books being published dwindle over the years, and the number of people who come to the library looking for them get fewer and farther between.

So in honor of Mr. Kelton and the western novel, here are some quotes that came from that genre (some inspirational and others not so much).
The easiest way to eat crow is while it's still warm. The colder it gets, the harder it is to swaller.
Sometimes you get and sometimes you get got.
Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin' it back.
Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.
If you're ridin' ahead of the herd, take a look back every now and then to make sure it's still there with ya.
Don't worry about bitin' off more'n you can chew; your mouth is probably a whole lot bigger'n you think.
It don't take a genius to spot a goat in a flock of sheep.
If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin'.
Don't interfere with something that ain't botherin' you none.
Always drink upstream from the herd.
Never miss a good chance to shut up.
Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from the rear, or a fool from any direction.
We all got pieces of crazy in us, some bigger pieces than others.
Some men talk 'cause they got somethin' to say. Others talk 'cause they got to say somethin.
Ride the horse in the direction it's goin.
Go after life as if it's something that's got to be roped in a hurry before it gets away.
I'd give ya some more but that'd be like beatin' a dead horse. But if you got a western saying you want to pass on or a western book to recommend put her down here.


Karen said...

Neither of these is from a western, but along the same lines: my friend Dennis once asked, "You know the one thing you won't find in a 'gentlemen's club'?" (I'll let you fill in the answer) And just yesterday, crossing at Pearson and Miner, I heard a man yell out his car window, "Common sense ain't common" when a rather rude driver caused him to miss a green light so she could make a u-turn. Made me laugh out loud.

Anonymous said...

You definitely need to read Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry. It's long, but rewarding, especially in terms of quotable quotes.

Jo said...

I'm ashamed to admit that I haven't read much of the genre. When I hear the word "Westerns", I think of movies instead. "The Duke" invades my memories and I start immediately addressing people as little Pilgrims.

P.S. It never dawned on me till this very moment, but doesn't the term "spaghetti westerns" violate contemporary notions of political correctness? Discuss among yourselves.

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