Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

Cook Shack Commentary of the Clearwater


idaho! (Photo credit: sandwichgirl)

As I continue researching my novel concerning the Idaho gold rush, I wade though promising volumes of background material. One particular book  centered on the right area of Idaho, yet proved to be about lumberjacks in the 1930s instead of gold miners of the 1800s. Since it arrived in my batch of research finds I decided to glance through it in hopes of finding a nugget (yes, an intended pun). I found a dandy story about a circus elephant and a lost poker bet, but not much else I could use. I did find these pithy bon mots of philosophy at the back of the book. Perhaps I will have various characters spout them at appropriate moments.
From Tales of the Clearwater by Sam Swayne:
1. Life is too short to shave with a dull razor.
 2. Half of success is trying, and if you half try, you will succeed.
3. Too many men think that when they bite off more than they chew, they can wash it down with alcohol.
4. A dog that has been to the carcass doesn’t need to confess to his master where he has been.
5. A lean man lives long; a hog on a diet is the last to market.
6. The most conspicuous guest is usually the most unwelcome; a pole cat though long remembered is not invited to return.
 7. Some wives are like varoom motors on tricycles. Lots of noise up front, but no help on the push.
8. Them that have nothing is them that don’t take care of what they have.
9. A whipped rooster runs from a rabbit, but the cock of the hen yard will fight the bull (which goes, I presume, with this last one):
10. He who is head of the house will go twice as far as the man who is shoved by his spouse.

Now I’m not saying I agree with the sayings; I’m thinking they catch the flavor of the setting invoked: both lumber camps and miner camps functioned without the company of women ( at least the marrying kind).

Any of these sayings still applicable to today?

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7 thoughts on “Cook Shack Commentary of the Clearwater

  1. #1 is still applicable! Love this list, although I’m not sure about #7…. #10 is totally wrong– just watch Robert from Downton Abbey– how many times is he right? Where would he be without Cora giving him a shove?

  2. Yes, #1 could go with either sex, couldn’t it? The rest are rather sexist, yet, we musn’t view with our 21st century spectacles, as I say to my students, when studying the past. It makes for interesting discussions.

  3. Well, I can attest to that carcass one. I can never get away with it.

    • Ha ha–I guess you’ll have to work on perfecting that “who me?” look of innocence. Then again innocent on the outside and guilty on the inside is pretty uncomfortable.

  4. I enjoyed #5 a lot…I think it is nice to see some good old fashioned sexism on the internet for the world is to PC and sometimes we all need a laugh at each other…in the best possible way of course.

    • Wasn’t sure what kind of response I’d get with this post. But you’re right, we’re so PC sensitive these days that we forget it’s okay to let loose and laugh a little at ourselves.

  5. Not forgetting the obligatory firm slap to the backside of the nearest lady!

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