Saturday, June 22, 2013

How to look like you are from Osage

I always thought it kind of interesting to see what everyone was wearing depending on your background.  When you are a farmer or rancher, at least when I was growing up, you wore Levis or Wranglers but mostly Levis.  Until the boot cut I think there was only one cut.  None of this loose fitting and stoned or ragged things we see today.  In fact if you said stoned there was only one possible answer, you were on dope.  Anyway we basically wore normal shirts and bluejeans all the time with tennis shoes or cowboy boots, never sandals.  So what was normal?

Dress or formal wear was a heavily starched shirt and starched bluejeans with a crease down the front which was a little white from being pressed as they aged.  There were NEVER holes in the jeans and if there was it lasted until you got home at which time Mom would patch them with a piece of an old pair sewn to cover the hole and then that pair of jeans was put  in the not formal category.  Formal or dress was NO holes and NO patches.  As we got older someone came up with iron patches but again those were not dress.  Formal dress required a summer straw hat with no sweat marks or for winter a beaver hat which was a very crisp and clean looking hat and it was not hairy hat like a beaver.  We did wear cowboy belt buckles which typically represented your hobby like showing cattle at the livestock show or roping or steer wrestling.  Now in the part of the Osage where I was raised we did not have many of the rodeo types except Johnny Payne which is a known entertainer (www.theonearmbandit.com).  Now we all went to rodeos but just about everyone I knew were working cowboys and farmers and not into the competitive side.  I will have to say my wife's family which is from around Calvin and Kiowa Oklahoma area are much more into the competitive rodeo culture.  Uncle Wayne Sexton which married a Sartor(this is a correction which I painfully made) from Kiowa is a team roping champion and there are plenty of others in the family with a passion for the sport.  OK, back to the dress from the Osage.

On a general basis formal attire was for church and weddings or dances like square dances.  I remember one time we had a square dance in the Grainola school gym and Carl McConaghy played the fiddle (violin).  I was shocked as I never would have guessed he could plan music.  I should say that I am not 100% sure it was Carl but I know his father played the fiddle and there were other musicians in the community.  Now that I think about it I think Carl called the square dance but I don't remember who played the fiddle.  Another aspect which I always found interesting is that every church had a hat rack in the back of the church where folks would hang their hats.  Something about that was cool to me.  I think it was the respect they gave the church of not wearing their hats and it just looked cool.

Now informal wear is what was everyday and it was still bluejeans and shirts but the hats were generally baseball types unless you were of the older folks who still wore the straw hats with the sweat ring stained into the hat.  Generally everyone wore boots but it was a worn pair and not the Sunday dress pair of boots.  Most of the time it was a set of work boots and a lot of times for us younger folks it was a pair of tennis shoes.  A lot of times a pair of tennis shoes was a good way to get your foot damaged by something smashing it or a nail being driven through the sole.  Tetanus shots were common as I think I stepped on at least one nail a year.  Let me tell you, that smarted real big especially when you lifted your foot up and the board or nail did not come out but stayed driven into your foot.  Also cowboy belts were not the best thing for working if you were going to be bending over much as they dug into your belly.  Back in those days this was not as big of a problem as it would be today.  Just in case you can't figure that one out it was referencing an overweight condition where the belt buckle would dig into the belly.   However I don't wear cowboy belts today.

Not too many of us wore cowboy shirts with those snap buttons although I thought it was pretty cool.  We certainly did not have the Mobeta shirts and fancy clothes of today.  The other thing is I would say we took a few shots or jokes at folks who were over cowboyed on a work day.  Cowboy attire was more for formal things and work days were just more practical.  Even our famous Johnny Payne, The One Arm Bandit not to be confused with a gambling machine, dressed on a normal basis without the extra cowboy garb.  One other thing I should say about Johnny, he is not a gambling machine although he is a gambling man.  Confused?  When you work we wore boots and generally they could be cowboy boots but we always wore Levis.

OK, what do you learn in the Osage?


  • Respect for church, God and country
  • Hard working real cowboys don't necessarily look like what folks think
  • Real cowboys don't depend on clothes to make them but they depend on their character
Thanks for your time,
gary@thepioneerman.com






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