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Mostly Memories Will Rogers #3 - Cowboy, Actor, Columnist and Humorist
Wednesday, January 28, 2009 • Posted January 28, 2009

Born in the Indian Territory that was to become Oklahoma, Will Rogers was raised as the only surviving son of a wealthy rancher. However, Will didn’t want to be tied down to ranch life so he worked some as a cowboy, entered rodeos, broke horses, joined a Wild West circus and wound up on the stage of the Ziegfeld Follies with his roping act. During his years with the Follies he not only became a movie star and attained the status of the country’s most widely read columnist but also the rank of “the rarest of all phenomena, a philosopher with honor in his own country and in his own time who could portray a hobo or cavort on the screen in a nightgown, lassoing a rat, and still remain a most powerful influence.”

Will as a humorist was one of the best, and was loved and admired even by those he ridiculed, primarily because he “was essentially what he seemed — a country boy who had come to the big city — had become successful — and yet remained a country boy. Although he made people laugh he was not a clown. He made people laugh with him not at him.

His favorite type of humor was the kind that made people think about the truths he told which in the end made them wind up laughing at themselves. He kidded them about their shortcomings and they loved him for it . In fact the love and respect, the “power and influence entrusted to Will Rogers is unequaled in American history.” “No other man was ever so universally believed.”

Will could have been elected senator, or governor, from almost any state he chose but when asked to enter politics had this to say “There is only one other amusement line I haven’t been in, and that’s to go to the U. S. Senate. But I ain’t going to try that, I’ve got some pride left.” Oh, but he did love to kid the politicians, especially those in Congress and quite often referred to Washington as the Joke Factory of America. And if I remember correctly he also said something like this : “When Congress passes a law it’s a joke, and when they make a joke it becomes a law” He also said that they even have slogans in congress such as:

“Why sleep at home when you can sleep in Congress?”

“Be a Politician — no training necessary!”

“Come to Washington and vote to raise your own Pay.”

“Join the Senate and investigate something.”

In reading the sayings of Will Rogers one could easily assume that he is speaking of our Congress of today — and if you don’t think so, then take a look at this bit of Rogers wit and humor:—”We’ll show the world that we are prosperous even if we have to go broke doing it.”

Back in 1922 Will wrote “I read in the papers where Ma Ferguson was elected governor of Texas —and I was certainly glad to see a long-haired woman get somewhere, and the reason Ma was elected, was that she didn’t stop to powder her nose.”

While I cannot match Will in his field of humor I can stand beside him in agreement when he talks about women who spend so much time powdering their noses (we now refer to it as primping) before going somewhere and still more after they get there. Will says “I tell you, when you take time out for powdering, the day is just about gone” and I for one will give testimony to the fact that what he says is true. However before giving that testimony let me say that I think Will Rogers had it easy back in those early days when a woman spent her time just powdering her nose. Nowadays with hair curlers and all of the cosmetics available to women a man must be blessed with a heap of patience if he is to keep his sanity while waiting for a woman to get ready to go —anywhere...anytime.

In the 68 years I have been married I calculate that about 10 percent or 6.8 of those years have been spent waiting for my mate to get ready to go (and the only reason that percentage is so low is because I am just not a go’er —I’m a stay at home’r). Now I will admit that a fellow with a lot of patience will perhaps never notice how long it is taking his wife to get ready, but one like me who only has about 2 ounces of patience in his whole make up is pacing up and down or sitting out in the car, wondering what the h— is going on, and getting madder by the minute.

Women are just more meticulous than men. Time is of the least importance when they want to look “just right” before stepping out of the house. Then too, they don’t see what all of the rush is about anyways.

Now I promised you testimony to prove that Will Rogers and I are right about the way women dawdle around powdering and primping, and here it comes — course I’ve told this story before — but perhaps some of you didn’t read it, or don’t remember it, while others won’t mind reading it again. At any rate here it is:

One morning a neighbor and I had loaded a bunch of trash and stuff into my pickup and were ready to head for the dump ground when his wife asked “Where are you fellows going?” “To the dump ground” answered her husband.

“Oh” she said, “we have been living here for 15 years and I have never seen that place and I would like to see it.”

“Well, jump in” said I, “and we will introduce you to that place and I am sure that you will just love it.”

“Just a minute and I will be with you” she said as she went back into the house.

Well now folks, this ain’t no lie, and if it is I hope a big old snake drops out of the ceiling and right onto my head: We sat there for 10 or 15 minutes waiting and I said to my neighbor “Reckon what she’s a-doing”.

And he, being a sort of the smart aleck type and my son-in-law, said “Well you ought to be used to it by now because I’ve told you hundreds of times or more that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”. So when she finally shows up her husband asked “What in the devil have you been doing?”

“Oh, don’t be so fussy” she said, “I had to slip into another dress and put on some lipstick didn’t I.”

Now do you understand what Will and I have been talking about?

AFTERMATH:

Well she saw the “dump ground” (the old one—the one with the terrible odor) and I will also testify that she was the best smelling thing out there — but I suspect that it will be another 15 or more years before she will want to go again.

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