Chronicle Of The Old West

  Chronicle of the Old West Home Page - Welcome!The NewspaperThe Radio ShowThe ContestThe MerchandiseLiving the CodeCalendar of EventsThe Chuckwagon Recipe Page  
  alt Old West LinksChronicle of the Old West StoreContact Us Media Center    
Back to Living the Code Click Here to return to Past Story Index
barbed wire

Past Stories from...
Living the Code

barbed wire



Cowboy JoeAs Cowboy Joe was walking up the sidewalk to my house, he had a big smile on his face.

“What’s so funny?” I asked.

monk“Just heard a story about a Catholic priest that entered an Italian monastery. Although the monks had to live in virtual silence, they were allowed to say two words at the end of each two-year period. Although the young monk worked hard and obeyed all the rules of the monastery, he had a difficult time.

“After the first two years he said “Bad bed.” After the second two years he said “Bad food.” At the end of six years he said, “I quit.”

“The head of the monastery said, ‘It doesn’t surprise me. All you’ve done since you’ve been here is complain, complain, complain.’

Cowboy Joe concluded his story by saying “Isn’t it interesting how sometimes our words speak a lot louder than our actions.”

Be positive and cheerful.

Back to top...


In the Crypts of Westminster Abbey Westminster Abbeythe following words were on the tomb of an Anglican Bishop:

“When I was young and free and my imagination had no limits, I dreamed of changing the world. As I grew older and wiser, I discovered the world would not change, so I shortened my sights somewhat and decided to change only my country.

“But it, too, seemed immovable.

“As I grew into my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt, I settled for changing only my family, those closest to me, but alas, they would have none of it.

“And now as I lie on my deathbed, I suddenly realize: If I had only changed myself first, then by example I would have changed my family.

“From their inspiration and encouragement, I would then have been able to better my country and, who knows, I may have even changed the world.”

Accept responsibility for your own life.

Back to top...


One of the fundamental facts of life is, ''Life isn't just." When one of these injustices, either real or perceived, comes our way, it's easy to become resentful.

Sometime during our life all of us have harbored resentment. We've done it because we wanted to make our failure palatable by explaining it in terms of unjust treatment by others. Life Is Unfair!"If we were treated the same way ..." "If we got the same breaks ..." "If they weren't the bosses' pet..."

Resentment is a cure worse than the disease of being treated unfairly. Resentment, even when based on a real wrong, can be a habit. A bad habit. As long as you harbor resentment it's impossible for you to look upon yourself as a self reliant, independent person. People who harbor resentment turn over their lives to other people.  

Accept responsibility for your life.



Back to top...


Two young mice were walking in a field micefield when they fell down a deep hole…at least it was deep for mice. Their struggles to get out brought the rest of the mouse community.

The two mice jumped and jumped. The mice at the top, seeing the futility of their effort, started yelling, “Stop jumping. You’ll never make it. Just give up.” One of the mice took their advice, stopped jumping, laid down and died.

The other mouse kept jumping. Finally he jumped high enough to get his front paws on the edge of the hole, and pulled himself out of the hole.

All of his friends came around him and congratulated him. One of them said, “We were telling you it was no use to keep struggling. Why did you keep it up?”

“Oh!” said the mouse. “I’m hard of hearing. I thought you were encouraging me.”  

Two morals: Go the distance, and be a good friend and neighbor.

Back to top...


We’re all familiar with that dynamic character and President, Theodore Roosevelt. Theodore RooseveltWhat many people don’t know about him is that before he was President he was a cattleman, cowboy and deputy sheriff in the badlands of the Dakota Territory.

One time while in the Dakota Territory when Roosevelt entered a saloon, a bully thinking Roosevelt to be an easy mark called him four-eyes and tried to force Roosevelt into buying him drinks. Roosevelt responded by decking the bully. Then when three men stole his row boat, Roosevelt had another one built and, along with two of his cowboys, spent two weeks chasing them down and another two weeks bringing them back to town and jail.

Actually, Theodore Roosevelt maintained that had he not had his experience in the West he would have probably not had the drive and determination to become President of the United States. At one time Roosevelt wrote the following:

“It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actively in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

In these tough times, let each of us be that strong man, and the doer of deeds and not a timid soul who criticizes and knows neither victory nor defeat.

Go the distance.

Back to top...


Vince Lombardi the great professional football Vince Lombardicoach known for his ability to motivate his players, early in his coaching career had an expert say of him, “He possesses minimal football knowledge. Lacks motivation.”



Beethoven’s Beethoventeacher once told him that he was hopeless as a composer.





The famous opera singer Enrico Caruso’s parents wanted Enrico Carusohim to be an engineer, and his teachers said he couldn’t sing.




Walt Walt DisneyDisney was fired from a newspaper because the editor said he lacked ideas.





Thomas Edison’s Thomas Edisonteachers said he was too stupid to learn anything.





Albert Einstein Albert Einsteindidn’t speak until he was four and didn’t read until he was seven. His teacher described him as “mentally slow, unsociable and adrift forever in his foolish dreams.”




Aren’t we all glad these people didn’t believe what others said about them? What about you? Do you believe the bad things people say about you or do you believe in your dreams?

Back to top...


Cowboy Bob stopped by our place the other day all in a tizzy about our politicians doing a lot of confessing about marital infidelity, and drug use.

He said, “You know, I had a drug problem when I was young. And it was all my parents fault.”

My mouth dropped open. He continued, “All during my childhood, they drug to church on Sunday morning. They drug to church for weddings and funerals. I was drug to family reunions and community socials, no matter what the weather.

“I was drug by my ear to apologize when I was disrespectful to adults. I was also drug to the woodshed when I disobeyed my parents, told a lie, brought home a bad report card, didn’t speak to others with respect, or if I didn’t put forth my best effort in everything I did.

“I was drug back to the drug store to apologize to Mr. Ross when I stole that piece of candy. I was drug out to pull weeds in mom’s garden and flower beds. I was drug to the homes of family, friends and neighbors to help mow the yard, or make repairs on their home.

“Those drugs are still in my veins and they affect my behavior in everything I do, say, or think. They are stronger than cocaine, crack or heroin; and, if today’s children had this kind of drug problem, American would be a better place.

And he concluded by saying, “God bless my parents for drugging me.”

Father & Son

Back to top...


When I was a young man I was told a story that does a great job of illustrating just what freedom is and is not. The story goes like this:

A caged yellow canaryA yellow canary sits on its perch in a cage by a window. Its water and seed cups are full. The room in which the canary’s cage is located is kept warm during the winter and cool during the summer. To protect the canary from light and other inconvenience at night, a cover is placed over the cage. With its cage hanging from a ceiling hook, the canary is protected from the house cat. The canary’s every need is anticipated.

A sparrow outside on a branchOutside the window on a bare branch sits a sparrow. There’s a foot of snow on the ground. The sparrow will have to fly long distances to find the seed and insects necessary to satisfy its hunger. While looking for food it has to watch for feral cats, raccoons and skunks that are also looking for food.

The question is, “Which bird is free?” It very well could be that each time we give someone else responsibility for an aspect of our life we’re losing a piece of freedom. 

Accept responsibility for your life.

Back to top...


A businessman was walking down a sidewalk in New York on his way to work when he saw a homeless man standing against a building. The businessman stopped and took a close look at the homeless man. He recognized him as a high school classmate.

The businessman walked up to the homeless man and asked, “John, is that you?”

“Yes, I’m John. Who are you?”

“I’m Bob Johnson, your buddy from high school. What happened?”  

“Well, I’ve been on a streak of bad luck.”

After a short conversation Bob reached in his jacket, pulled out his checkbook and wrote John a $1,000 check.

bank interiorJohn eagerly accepted the check knowing that the $1,000 would give him another chance. John walked over to a nearby bank and entered the lobby. Looking around at the opulent lobby and the well-dressed tellers, John became intimidated and walked out of the bank never cashing the check.

Throughout our lives we are given opportunities. But often we don’t take advantage of them because we don’t believe we deserve the success those opportunities may bring. Take full advantage of all opportunities. Go the distance.

Back to top...


It was the fall of the year. And even after eight years of teaching she still approached that first day with excitement. “What will my students be like this year? Will my students be gifted and dedicated this year?” she wondered to herself.

As in years past, she was given a one-page sheet with the names of the students in her class. But this year the school had listed their IQ score next to their names. In addition, all of the scores were remarkably high…from 130 to 155.

She was excited, yet more than a bit nervous. She would have to be more creative in her preparations. It would be necessary to give each student individual attention so they would perform up to their potential.

Knowing gifted children needed additional challenges, she prepared opportunities for extra credit.

The students met her every expectation. They were enthusiastic and attentive. Even the parents got involved. Although she worked longer and harder than ever before, she got great satisfaction from the results she saw.

During that year her students received a number of awards and achieved well beyond their grade level.

Child taking a bow.

At the end of the year she went to the principal. “I’m so grateful you gave me a class of gifted students. I wouldn’t have been able to achieve what I did without them.”

“What do you mean?” said the principal.

“Well, their IQ’s were between 130 and 155.”

“Oh no,” responded the principal. “Those weren’t IQ numbers. Those were locker numbers.”

People respond to our expectations. Be a good friend and neighbor.”

Back to top...


Encouragement!Unless we had a physical problem, each of us learned how to walk as a young child. During the process we fell down hundreds of times. But we continued until we stopped falling down.

Somehow, as adults we quite often don’t have that same drive and persistence to keep trying when we fail. We’re the same person who kept trying until we learned to walk. What has changed?

When we fell down as a child, immediately our parents or some other adult picked us up; comforted us; and guided us as we tried to walk again. When we fall down as an adult, we’re told we’re a failure; we’re ridiculed; and we’re encouraged to give up. If, as children, we had received this same response, all of us would be crawling today.

When someone tries to accomplish something – as long as it’s legal and ethical – always encourage that person. Some of life’s greatest conveniences and cures came from what others thought was a stupid idea.

Be a good friend and neighbor.

Back to top...


I was in a bit of a funk. I had just been bucked off my bay gilding for the ump-tenth time. I was standing next to the corral looking at that nag when Cowboy Joe happened by.

“I see you’re still having problems with that bay.”

“Ya. He’s a good horse. But, with this one, I just feel like a failure.”

“You can’t look at it that way. You’ve succeeded. You’ve succeeded at producing results. And those results can be valuable if they’re looked at correctly.

“We need to understand that it’s the exception when we try something and have the outcome be exactly what we had hoped.

“If we fail in a colossal way, we have just created the opportunity to show outstanding future successes in that area. We also know we’ve experienced the worst.

“If we succeed, but not at the level we have envisioned, we should congratulate ourselves for the success, and analyze how improvements can be made.

“If we succeed the first time we try something, the success would be meaningless. It’s the rain that gives us the appreciation of the sun.

“It’s failure that creates character, not success.”

I responded by saying, “I understand what you say. But failure in this situation not only hurts my ego, it hurts my body as well.”

Cowboy Joe just shook his head and walked away.

Go the distance.

Back to top...


Some people refuse to fly. Others don’t like to fly, but do it anyway. I don’t mind flying, even though each time I see a plane, whether on the ground or in the air, I tell myself there is no way that big thing weighing tons and tons can fly through the air with the greatest of ease. I’m still convinced it’s an illusion.

Fear of Flying

Like everyone who has flown very much, I’ve had good and bad experiences. Fortunately, the bad experiences haven’t included setting on the tarmac for hours or one of those thousand feet instant drops in altitude.

The interesting thing is no matter whether I choose to have a good experience or a bad experience on a plane, my experience has nothing to do with the time I arrive at my destination. Good or bad, I’m there at the same time.

So, why not ignore the crying baby two rows up, the fact that only a middle seat was available when we checked in or the virtual strip search we had to go through at security.

Incidentally, I hope you understand that in the above illustration, taking a trip on a plane is a metaphor. What I’m really talking about is life and how whether we’re pessimistic or optimistic, we get to the end of life at the same time…However, in actuality, that’s not absolutely true. Optimistic people do live longer. For pessimistic people, life just seems to be longer.

Be positive and cheerful.

Back to top...


We’re all familiar with Wal-Mart. We should also be familiar with Warren Buffett and his company Berkshire Hathaway. A few years ago, Wal-Mart wanted to buy one of Warren Buffett’s companies by the name of McLane Distribution. McLane Distribution had annual revenues of $23 billion.

Warren Buffett
Warren Buffett

Both companies wanted the deal to happen, and the basic agreement was hammered out in a two-hour meeting. Because both companies are public, there was other due-diligence required.

It’s not unusual for a business transaction of this size to take up to a year to complete. But, according to Warren Buffett, he trusted Wall-Mart and he trusted the people on his team. Obviously, the Wal-Mart people did the same. The deal was closed in twenty-nine days.

Just think of the savings in legal and accounting fees, not to say anything about the salaries and time of the negotiators.

We could discover the same efficiency in our lives if everyone was a person of their word.

Back to top...

barbed wire

©2017 Chronicle of the Old West
Web Design by The RavenHeart Group