In their 1999 review of my book, Cowboy Romance (of horsesweat & hornflies) Western Horseman Magazine stated that good cowboy humor is usually wry, dry and witty. What they failed to mention is that good cowboy humor is more often than not a result of experiencing life in a way which often bends, folds, spindles and mutilates one’s body more than a package marked fragile making a trip via the US Postal service. Good cowboy humor also comes from making light of their working conditions.
If you have ever worked cattle in a dusty set of pens, or driven them across an alkali flat you would know. You can be choking on the dust which turns into mud in your mouth. At the same time, your eyes are watering, leaving streaks of mud running down your face. Sort of turns the whole situation into a running oxymoron. If you want to see which hands are still keeping their sense of humor in this situation all you have to do is make the statement “I can’t stand all this mud.” The hands who are losing their sense of humor will look at you as if you have lost your mind. The hands who are still keeping their sense of humor and are glad they are working cattle despite the conditions will start choking on their laughter as they are spitting out blobs of mud.
This is what gives cowboys their mystique. No matter how bad the conditions get they can not only find the humor in the situation, but do it in a way which may make a person actually think about the situation. Cowboys also have a way of seeing the humor in nearly every situation, even if it means poking fun at themselves. The first week in February a whole bunch of cowboy entertainers with this knack of turning the serious in to the humorous will be gathering in Van Horn, Texas for the third Texas Crossroads Gathering. If you are looking for an old time gathering that includes everyone, this is the gathering to attend. Our jam sessions are gaining notoriety for giving audience members who happen to play, a spot in the jams! For more information visit the Crossroads Site!