What History Taught Me
- Written by Waddie Mitchell
- Published July 27, 2010
What people don’t understand about cowboy poetry is that it’s not just about cowboying, cows, horses and living on the range, but it is anything in life, just coming from a cowboy’s perspective.
The one person I am in awe of is Don Edwards—for his work ethic and interest in preserving the music of America’s working folks and in particular the cowboy.
I learned everything I know from six decades of bumping and banging and tripping and experimenting and following and leading and charging and balking and laughing and crying and doing and not.
Don’t get me started on how disappointed I am with the current way the heads of the two parties in our country have completely halted any forward movement for over two years now.
I’ll never forget the way my wife Lisa looked on that moonlit night in the Caribbean.
My daddy always told me just ’cuz you get older don’t mean you’re getting wiser. Wisdom comes from taking time and assessing life as it’s lived.
When it comes to Western Art I am inspired by how one small segment of this country’s huge populace can command such a large following.
My biggest influence has been those fellers I worked with and have been around who have taught me the code a cowboy lives by, without ever saying a word about it.
Nobody told me that, though I’d be combing fewer hairs on the top of my head, I would be shaving and trimming a whole lot more off my ears and nose.
Wish I had a dollar for every time I spent a dime.
Show me an open highway, and I’ll show you a flat tire on my truck at 2 o’clock in the morning.
I fell in love with the West when people like painter Willie Matthews and photographer Kurt Markus re-introduced it to me. I had lost the beauty and romance all around me, because I was focused only on the chore at hand.
The person who has inspired me most is Montana cowboy Tom Martin—although he is a decade younger than I! By the time he was 20, he was the man I still aspire to be. Nobody ever exemplified the meaning “ride for the brand” any better. Tom lives the code: be honest, hardworking, loyal, reserve your opinions, but live your convictions.
I really hate war, getting old, driving in traffic, hangovers, small minded people, that books are doomed and the freezing rains that come before the snow in calving season
The secret to a happy life is a happy wife.
I’ve lived in ignorant bliss and reality, and I much prefer the former.
What history has taught me is that the human being is a creature who can improve his environment, his technology, his standard of living and his knowledge, but is seemingly unable to change his warring nature.
The best part of being a cowboy poet is ya getta talk a whole lot about work without having to do any of it!
Waddie Mitchell, Cowboy Poet
This year, True West named Waddie Mitchell “Best Living Cowboy Poet.” Since 1984, this lifelong working cowboy has put out more than six solo albums of cowboy poetry and stories. He’s also one of the founders of the prestigious Elko Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Nevada. In August, you can see him hit the stage in Evanston, Wyoming, at the Uinta County Fair (5), in Rifle, Colorado, at Michael Martin Murphey’s Westfest (12-15) and in Benton, Kansas, at the Prairie Rose Chuckwagon Supper (17). Visit WaddieMitchell.com for other tour dates.