Ellen Reid Smith brought the cowgirls of yesteryear to my attention in an incredibly inspiring book, Cowgirl Smarts, How to Rope a Kick-Ass Life.
The book was given to me by an old cowgirl friend of mine on a much-anticipated and well-earned camping trip. We were sitting at the campfire watching the embers of the fire go out as we finished up our lengthy conversation on the ups and downs, and ins and outs of our lives.
I was at a crossroads in my life and needed something or someone to give me something to hold on to. I needed to be inspired, but more importantly, I needed to be ignited.
“Here’s a book that is right up your alley,” my friend said, read it in bed, it will wake you up.” She handed me Cowgirl Smarts, How to rope a Kick Ass Life. Well it did more than wake me up. It jolted me into high gear.
From the moment I picked up that book, I knew my life had reached a pivotal moment. The wall of Jericho fell from around me. All my answers were in the palm of my hand in black and white in Ellen Reid Smith’s written words. I read it from cover to cover. I didn’t want the book to end. I wanted to read more and more.
To inspire and guide me throughout my life, I have read a library of self-help, inspirational and motivational books from the most brilliant minds of our times. I got a lot out of those books but they never grabbed me by the scruff like Cowgirl Smarts, How to Rope a Kick Ass Life.
Not only is it brilliantly written, it is captivating, innovating, motivating, inspiring and true.
Ellen Reid Smith writes about a group of individual pioneering cowgirls, who against all odds, with their cowgirl smarts, broke down barriers and succeeded in their quests. They had nothing but their intense desire, their passion, and their willingness to weather many storms in an era when women had no rights and were subordinate to cowboys.
Ellen then goes into detail about the lessons learned from each cowgirl in order for us to grasp the same principles, and keep on keeping on.
These pioneering women, just to mention a few for recognition purposes and to put their names before you include, Elizabeth Johnson Williams, Bertha Kaepernick Blanchett, Wilhemenia Mathews, Adele Von Ohl Parker, Fanny Seabride, Prairie Rose Henderson, Dora Rhodes Waldrop, Lucille Mulhall, Fox Hastings.
Why did they affect me like they did? I think it’s because they acted and elbowed their way in on our behalf. They made the impossible possible. They made it so we have no barriers.
The question now is who’s going to write about us? Having said that, then who’s going to take our place? We have more at our disposal than any of these cowgirls would have imagined. They would be riding high on the crest of a wave with the reins between their teeth in this era.
If Ellen Reid Smith were to write about us what would she write? Do we have enough material between us to put it in a book to ignite the women of the future? What’s our purpose? What are we going to do with our God-given intensity?
Perhaps we should work on that material and expect our names to go on into the next century for another cowgirl to pick up as she leaves a burnt out campfire.
Ellen Reid Smith, by researching and sharing the stories of the pioneering cowgirls of the wild-west has given me more than I would have possibly imagined. She thought me how not to be stopped. Thank you Ellen, I owe you one.