Livin’ the code just a part of cowboy life

There is an unwritten code that is a part of cowboy life. And I believe that it was never a list of dos and don’ts,but came about as the cowboy way came to life. 

That life was accelerated as the War of Northern Aggression came to an end. This action not only started the migration of young men westward, but opened the era of the cattle drives to satisfy the appetite for beef in the east and northeast. 

As these men faced the dangers and hardships of frontier life, they came to depend on their pard.  As a result, men developed a trust in others and how they reacted to a given situation. 

And as my Ol’ Daddy often said, “When you have a job to do, do it right the first time, because if it is worth doin’, it is worth doin’ right!” 

Yes, I know that there can always be a bad apple in the barrel, but the western man learned to deal with those situations and as a result, the “Code” was developed. It was just a way of life, nothing written down until the era of the singing movie cowboys. Each one of those childhood idols had their own list of “cowboy codes” as incentives for all young buckaroos to subscribe to. But the authentic western cowboy, known as the working cowboys, learned to work and live by an unwritten law, which is nothing more than good common sense. 

My Ol’ Daddy would say, “An old hand, that has been blessed with good common sense, can shore set a good example for them green buttons. If he just goes about doin’ his work, an don’t push it on ‘em, they will take his example an’ make a hand!” 

He was talking about living the cowboy code, which just comes naturally with most western men. The “code” covers every phase of your life as it intermingles with the lives of others. And traits like friendliness and helpfulness just happen when the trials and tribulations of life throw two or more entities into the mix. 

My Ol’ Daddy always said, “good judgement comes about when you learn from bad judgement, and the Grace of God helps you overcome bad judgement!”  And it is true, that in all walks of life, young folks watch us old timers, so if the shoe fits, wear it well! Because you never know who is watching, learning, and following your tracks.


Livin’ the Code

Life’s lessons have been taught and learned since day one,

I reckon, life is just that way,

“Leave it to an old hand to get that job done,”

Are the words you’d hear them say.


But you don’t get to be an old hand over night,

Takes a spell of ridin’ for the brand,

On the way you got to learn to do it right,

Afore you can make a top hand.


‘Cuz, like a green broke bronc of an early morn,

A hand, still wet behind the ears,

Can shore ‘nuff be bamboozeled an’ forlorn,

Tryin’ to sift out his fears.

So he tries to pattern from an older hand,

Doin’ a job just the same,

But if caught, he’d bow up an’ make his stand.

“I done it my way!” he’d exclaim


Of course, the oldtimer figures out his drift,

But he don’t let it show,

‘Cuz if that green hand knew, he’d snub this gift,

An’ this good advice he’d forgo.


Old hands set the example for them young hands,

Whether it be right or wrong,

An’ mostly them youn’uns watch an’ understands ,

That’s what it takes to get along.. 


You see, the best sermons are lived, not preached,

Do as I do, not as I say,

Our Lord did that when satan’s power was impeached,

An’ it holds true to this day.


The Commandments say, “There is only one God!”

An’ cowboys hold that to be true,

An they know right from wrong on the trails that they trod,

Shore makes life easier for you.


So the welcome sign is written, deep in every heart,

For pilgrims that come ridin’ by,

You feed ‘em an’ feed their hoss, always do your part,

Least wise, you give it a try.


Honor your Ma and Pa an’ all of womankind,

Now put the truth in what you say,

Don’t be tellin’ tales that’d best be left behind,

Never be hurtful in any way.


When you tell a feller just what you’ll do,

See to it that it is done,

Stand for what’s right, always make your word be true,

You’ll get respect from everyone.


Now, the feller that hires you to be a hand,

Figgers you have come to ride,

An’ he expects you to ride for the brand,

Anything less, he’ll not abide.


Your experiences will make your judgement good,

Mostly learned travelin’ down the trail,

It’s part of bein’ in the cowboy brotherhood,

It’ll tend to serve you an’ never fail!


You must always do right by your fellow man,

Always let that be your main tool,

The Good Lord shore wants that to be your plan,

Live your life by the Golden Rule!


Like I’ve said before, your word will get you by,

Do all that you say you will do,

Shake a man’s hand an’ look ‘em in the eye,

An’ he knows your word is true.


This just scratches the surface of who we are,

Tho sometimes we fall, don’t you see,

An’ just know, some will often raise the bar,

So Pard, be the best that you can be!


Titus 2:7 - In all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility,

Follow the Cowboy Code!

God bless each of you and God Bless America!


















The Rosebud News

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Marlin, TX 76661
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