What? Wild West?

The question of the week is: If you were in the WILD WEST, what would your job be?

Me, in the Wild West.

The “What would you do if aliens landed” question was more likely an option for me to face than this.

I had enough trouble moving to Idaho in 1981.

To leave the eastern part of the U.S., where there were relative cities and go into unknown territory, where the Indians were rightfully trying to protect their lands and people, to be at the mercy of the weather, is not something I would be apt to do. (The storms we encountered in the move when passing through Nebraska were hard enough to face in a hotel!)

I have heard that women going across the plains would start to lose their minds in the vast sea of grass. The only way for them to regain their sanity was for whoever was taking them out to turn around and head back, even if they were near the end; the women knew they were going back and that is all they needed.
The only other way to get to The West would be on a boat and go all the way down and around South America, then up to California. Do you realize how far that is? (For Heaven’ sake, it’s so far south, there are penguins there!) You’d be again at the mercy of the elements, because you’d be under sail. Cape Horn is where the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans meet, and they don’t play together nicely! Rounding Cape Horn is not an easy feat.

IF we survived the trip, I’d probably get to San Francisco and stay there.
But we are talking about the Wild West, so…

I am sure everyone expects me to say that I’d be a cook. I’m not so sure.

Surely I would not be one on a cattle drive. Few women managed that. I have never been physically strong and the trail was hard. Think of being the only woman with that many men; it would not be terribly comfortable, if safe at all. Let’s face it, not every drifter they could get to go in such hardship and low pay is going to be an honorable gentleman! Many of the fellows went out west alone seeking their fortune…and never found it. Many went there to escape the trauma they suffered during the Civil War, many were looking for trouble or had already found it and were running from the law. Most TV westerns have given pretty sanitized ideas of who cowboys were and exactly who settled the West,( or those who actually slowed the settling process).

If there was a town, (and Heaven knows how I got there), maybe I could have cooked in a hotel or restaurant, but if we are talking Wild West, so they probably would not have the type of establishment in which I would be comfortable. Besides, cooking steaks or stew constantly would be a bore. Many veggies, herbs and spices would be next to, if not totally, impossible to obtain.

Push coming to shove, I, like other Foxes, could sew, I suppose. Patching shirts and jeans would also get to a person. There would be few people who would want or need quality work in the Wild West, which was the actual question. I guess I would have had to delve into more tailoring for the few who had money and style. Then my conscience might get to me; would I want to outfit the local land robber-baron? Successful hired guns? “Dance hall girls”? Those girls danced downstairs and upstairs, if you get my drift.

I shudder to think of how a person would have to have struggled physically and conscientiously in The Wild West.

(When I told The Husband this week’s topic, he laughed, but quickly told me that definitely NOT as a girl in a saloon in any capacity.)

I asked my granddaughters what a good job would be in the Wild West.  The Just-Turned-11-Year-Old said, “Merchant”; I had not thought of that. That would be a great job for the likes of me: reasonable security and constant shelter. Given time, I could sew or even cook/bake and sell. A store could really grow up with the town.

Her sister, The Almost-13-Year-Old said, “Bartender”. I said no, didn’t she realize the tough guys she’d have to fend off? So she chose ‘Piano Player in a Saloon”, to which her sister immediately admonished, “They’ll throw bottles at you!” Again, I had to tell her no, not a good idea and had to explain that the girls in the bars were professionals. (She agreed to rethink her choices.)

Wild West? Great reads, great TV, great movies, but real life?
Not so much!

About Tonette Joyce

Tonette was a once-fledgling lyricists-bookkeeper, turned cook/baker/restaurateur and is now exploring different writing venues,(with a stage play recently completed). She has had poetry and nonfiction articles published in the last few years. Tonette has been married to her only serious boyfriend for more than thirty years and she is, as one person described her, family-oriented almost to a fault. Never mind how others have described her, she is,(shall we say), a sometime traditionalist of eclectic tastes.She has another blog : "Tonette Joyce:Food,Friends,Family" here at WordPress.She and guests share tips and recipes for easy entertaining and helps people to be ready for almost anything.
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8 Responses to What? Wild West?

  1. jeff7salter says:

    Glad you worked your way around to merchant. Perhaps, if my newspaper business went bust and I opened a General Mercantile as I mused upon yesterday, you and I could go in halves. I’d could run the hardware / tack / lumber section and you could run the clothing / shoes / dry goods parts.
    Well, maybe you should handle the staples like flour and coffee and salt. I might get them all mixed up.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I can see you running a store or even a more reputable hotel in an up and coming town in the West.

    You definetly know where you don’t want to be. That’s a good thing. I never thought of staying East whenever I daydreams of living in the past but it seems that would be the way to go for a lot of people. The West was not for everyone and still isn’t.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Mind you, I LOVED Denver! And I still miss the many, many days we took trips out to nowhere…but we headed back. It was so nice to be out in the mountains or plains, but it was equally as nice to see the city lights when it was night and we were headed home.
      (Give me central heat and indoor plumbing!)


  3. Patricia Kiyono says:

    I suppose the difficult part for us is that we’re used to a certain standard of living. If I’d been born in that area during that time period I probably wouldn’t know anything else. I would never have experienced clean, fluffy towels and daily showers – let alone air conditioning – so I would’t miss them. And I probably would have been a lot stronger physically because I would have had no choice. My aunts and cousins are used to sitting on the floor, on their knees for long periods of time, because that’s their only option – several of my relatives have no chairs. But since I’ve been raised to sit on chairs, I don’t last long in that position!

    Liked by 2 people

    • jeff7salter says:

      good point, Patty. We adapt to what we’re brought up doing… what others have done without questioning it. That said, I don’t think I could live in a mud hut, made from dried buffalo dung.


  4. Joselyn says:

    I love that none of us want to be saloon girls. LOL! I think a merchant would be a good fit, maybe you could have a bakery on the side.

    Liked by 1 person

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