Thursday, September 3, 2015

The More Things Change ...

Western fiction

I moved to Omaha last year, so I found this 1877 article from the Omaha Herald interesting. For those who loath TSA, tiny seats, and surly airlines, take heart, travel was far worse in the good-ol’-days.

Here are a few of the Herald’s tips for stage travelers.
  • Don't growl at food stations; stage companies generally provide the best they can get.
  • Don't keep the stage waiting; many a virtuous man has lost his character by so doing.
  • Don't smoke a strong pipe inside especially early in the morning.
  • Spit on the leeward side of the coach.
  • If you have anything to take in a bottle, pass it around; a man who drinks by himself in such a case is lost to all human feeling.
  • Don't swear, nor lop over on your neighbor when sleeping.
  • Don't ask how far it is to the next station until you get there.
  • Never attempt to fire a gun or pistol while on the road, it may frighten the team; and the careless handling and cocking of the weapon makes nervous people nervous.
  • Don't discuss politics or religion, nor point out places on the road where horrible murders have been committed.
  • Don't linger too long at the pewter wash basin at the station.
  • Don't grease you hair before starting or dust will stick there in sufficient quantities to make a respectable 'tater' patch.
  • Tie a silk handkerchief around your neck to keep out dust and prevent sunburns. A little glycerin is good in case of chapped hands.
The article ended with a good piece of advice for modern travelers.
Don't imagine for a moment you are going on a picnic; expect annoyance, discomfort and some hardships. If you are disappointed, thank heaven.
I thank heaven every time I'm not seated next to Del Griffith!

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