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Montana Freemason                                             January 2018                                 Volume 94   Number 1
                                           Hoppy, Gene and Me
                       Civility, the Code of the West & the Silverscreen
                                   Reid Gardiner, R.W. Past Grand Secretary, Editor
      In  the  50’s  and  60’s,  we  could  go  to  the  Saturday      Gene Autry’s Code of Honor
     matinee and see the real heroes of the silver screen:  A cowboy never takes unfair advantage - even of an enemy.
     Gene Autry, Hopalong Cassidy, Wild Bill Hickok, the    A cowboy never betrays a trust. He never goes back on
     Lone Ranger and Roy Rogers. All of them had a version   his word.
     of the Code of the West (Civility). The real theme and   A cowboy always tells the truth.
     lesson of those old westerns was civility. It is our own   A cowboy is kind and gentle to small children, old folks,
                                                            and animals.
     identity as a citizens and our nations self image that we   A cowboy is free from racial and religious intolerances.
     view in the Western movies of the silver screen.       A cowboy is always helpful when someone is in trouble.
                                                            A cowboy is always a good worker.
      Then the world erupted like never before, from Barry   A  cowboy  respects  womanhood,  his  parents  and  his
     McGuire we heard: “The eastern world, it is exploding,  nation’s laws.
     Violence fl arin’, bullets loadin’,You’re old enough to  A cowboy is clean about his person in thought, word, and
     kill, but not for votin’”                              deed.
      And  here  in  the  U.S.:  Bob  Dylan  captured  the   A cowboy is a Patriot.
     spirit  and  essence  that  surrounded  the  Civil  Rights
     movement:  “Come  senators,  Congressmen,  Please
     heed the call, Don’t stand in the doorway, Don’t block   There are a host of variations of the Code of The
     up the hall, For he that gets hurt, Will be he who has   West some include the following:
     stalled, There’s a battle outside And it is ragin’...For
     the times they are a-changin’.”                        Never steal another man’s horse.
                                                            Defend yourself whenever necessary.
                                                            Look out for your own.
      The Code of the West - Civility, was stopped dead in  Never pass anyone on the trail without saying “Howdy”.
     its tracks and it’s had a hard time returning to the silver  Cuss  all  you  want,  but  only  around  men,  horses  and
     screen  and  in  our  daily  lives.  Honesty  and  integrity   cows.
     still matter and what is of greater value then being men   Complain about the cooking and you become the cook.
                                                            Do not practice ingratitude.
     of good character. There are still outlaws and rustlers   Give your enemy a fi ghting chance.
     today, but now they wear designer clothes. We hear men  Be there for a friend when he needs you.
     boasting of how great they are, or rambling on about  Honesty  is  absolute  –  your  word  is  your  bond,  a
     themselves. The Cowboys knew better -Talk less, say    handshake is more binding than a contract.
     more. Today’s world is not the Old West, and longing
     for a rotary phone, wanting to return to Mayberry with
     Andy Giffi  th is a symptom of wanting to see civility
     back in our world.                                                   The Code of the West
                                                                        Live each day with courage.
      The Code of the West, the historic Code of the West                Take pride in your work.
     was  unwritten and  informal. In  Montana  the  miners,           Always fi nish what you start.
     stockgrowers,  cowboys,  and  trappers,  and  others  in             Do what has to be done.
     the  territory  knew  it  was  about  maintaining  honesty,            Be tough, but fair.
     integrity,  and  courage.  It  emphasized  pride  in  your     When you make a promise, keep it.
     work and resolution in the face of diffi  culties. Character             Ride for the brand.
     defi ned the people of the West. Their code represented               Talk less and say more.
     the core values they held to have a purpose.               Remember that some things aren’t for sale.
                                                                       Know where to draw the line.
               Hoppy, Gene and Me
               We taught you how to shoot straight
               You were going to be a cowboy
               That’s how it had to be
               Your stories from the silverscreen
               Now most of them forgotten
               Double feature Saturday’s                        To learn more about Cowboy Ethics, go to:
               With Hoppy, Gene and Me                          
                                                    - Roy Rogers
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