TIME ZONES

Today is the 29th of February.  As we all know, the 29th comes about once every four years.  It’s something that came about back during the Roman era, or maybe even before.

 However, there is something related to time that began in the era of the Old West.  That’s time zones.  Do you know how they came about?  Well, click on this video and you will.

RIDING FOR THE BRAND

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 I live in the mountains of Northeastern Arizona at 6,500 feet.  This morning when I got up, the wind was blowing in mighty gusts; snow was whirling around; and the temperature was in the 20’s.

 Unfortunately, I had to take our American Border Collie dog Jake for his morning constitution.

 As I walked in the blistery weather I thought about what it would have been like to be an 1800’s cowboy working a winter line shack.  The cabin would have been heated by a small stove that was also used for cooking.  The wind would be howling through all the cracks in the walls and roof.  The temperature inside would be just a bit warmer than outside.

 The ice in the water bucket would have to be thawed out before coffee could be made.  And then you would have to go out and check on the cattle.

 Can you imagine the character it would take to leave that cabin when no one would know if you didn’t?  That’s called “Riding for the Brand.”

PAT GARRETT’S DEATH

It’s interesting how things have changed over the years.  Each week I send a free story about an event that happened during this time in the Old West.  This week’s story is about Sheriff Pat Garrett and how he died.

For those of you who may not be familiar with the circumstances, he was shot in the back while taking a “whizz”.  That’s right, a whizz.  I would say pee, but we want to keep this clean.

The man who confessed and was tried for doing it was Wayne Brazil.  What did he plead?  Self defense.  And he was declared not guilty.

 Don’t try this today folks.

 Incidentally, you can sign up for This Week in the Old West by going to: http://chronicleoftheoldwest.com/this_week_in_the_old_west-signup-new.shtml

 

HIRAM RHOADES REVELS

On this date back in 1870 Hiram Rhoades Revels, a Republican from Natchez, Mississippi, was sworn into the U.S. Senate, becoming the first Black ever to sit in Congress.

 During the Civil War, Revels, a college-educated minister, helped form Black army regiments for the Union cause, started a school for freed men, and served as a chaplain for the Union Army.  Revels remained in the former Confederate state after the war and entered into Reconstruction-era Southern politics.

 It’s interesting to note that the Senate seat Revels held was once held by Jefferson David, the former president of the Confederacy.

THE PROSPECTOR & THE GUNFIGHTER

Here’s a story with not one, but five lessons for each of us:

An old prospector shuffled into town leading a tired old mule.  The old man headed straight for the only saloon to clear his parched throat.

He walked up and tied his old mule to the hitch rail.  As he stood there, brushing some of the dust from his face and clothes, a young gunslinger stepped out of the saloon with a gun in one hand and a bottle of whiskey in the other.

The young gunslinger looked at the old man and laughed, saying, “Hey old man, have you ever danced?”

The old man looked up at the gunslinger and said, “No, I never did dance.  Never really wanted to.”

A crowd had gathered as the gunslinger grinned and said, “Well, you old fool, you’re gonna dance now,” and started shooting at the old man’s feet.

The old prospector — not wanting to get a toe blown off — started hopping around like a flea on a hot skillet.  Everybody was laughing, fit to be tied.

When his last bullet had been fired, the young gunslinger, still laughing, holstered his gun and turned around to go back into the saloon.

The old man turned to his pack mule, pulled out a double-barreled shotgun, and cocked both hammers.

The loud clicks carried clearly through the desert air.  The crowd stopped laughing immediately.

The young gunslinger heard the sounds too, and he turned around very slowly.  The silence was almost deafening.

The crowd watched as the young gunman stared at the old timer and the large gaping holes of those twin barrels.

The barrels of the shotgun never wavered in the old man’s hands, as he quietly said, “Son, have you ever kissed a mule’s ass?”

The gunslinger swallowed hard and said, “No sir. But — I’ve always wanted to.”

There are a few lessons for us all here:

1 – Never be arrogant.

2 – Don’t waste ammunition.

3 – Whiskey makes you think you’re smarter than you are.

4 – Always, always make sure you know who has the power.

5 – Don’t mess with old men; they didn’t get old by being stupid.

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