Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Cowboy by Bunkhouse

Today's Old Picture was taken at the Quarter Circle U Ranch in Big Horn County in Montana. The photo was taken in 1939. The cowboy is enjoying a smoke in front of the bunkhouse. One thing you can pretty much bet on is that he rolled that cigarette himself. I can remember growing up in the country back in the 60's, the ranch folks would never think about buying a store-made cigarette, they all rolled their own from a little pouch of Bull Durham. 

Funny thing happened to me yesterday. There are a bunch of old timers in the little town I live in who sit around and drink coffee. They used to sit in the coffee shop, and smoke cigarettes and drink coffee. I had noticed that they stopped going to the coffee shop, and then found that they had started gathering across the street at Ross's welding shop. Ross has a coffee pot, so they go over there and drink his coffee. It is cold in the welding shop so he has a little open flame propane heater set up for them and a little table. When I was in the welding shop yesterday, I noticed that all the old timers were smoking roll-your-own Bugler cigarettes instead of ready made ones. I am guessing that the old timers are getting hit by the higher prices such that they are now drinking free coffee and rolling their own cigarettes. I am wondering what a pack of cigarettes costs today. I have been told that a little pouch of chewing tobacco, that one would expect to be a dollar or two, is now up to costing $9.48. 


  1. A pack of cigarettes averages around $6+ in Pennsylvania, however, a few miles up the road in NY a pack will cost you around $10 dollars.
    One of the great "mysteries" in Pennsylvania is why the cafe industry is hurting financially. My own belief is the obvious; smoking is banned in all restaurants and bars--with the exception of gambling casinos. I suppose the mighty dollar wins out over health when it comes to citizens throwing away their hard earned cash on a 'sure thing'.
    I am in no way defending cigarette smoking, but I find it offensive that there cannot be sections of restaurants and bars for the consumption of a legally sold product.
    Again, it all comes down to money. They tell us in Penna. that the enormous tax money collected from cigarettes is routed to health programs, which I find very doubtful. Even if this is true, then is not the govt. profiting from the addiction of others??
    From what I read in your post, it would appear to me that the old gentlemen do not go to the cafe because they cannot smoke there. Does the Lone Star State also ban smoking in bars and restaurants?? If so, I find that very surprising.
    Sorry for the long rant, but this issue riles me up every time.

  2. George Ringo,
    Texas does not ban smoking in cafes, although some communities might.

    I am pretty sure the old timers are getting hit financially. Fixed incomes with food, gas, coffee and cigarettes all getting more expensive.

    I am against smoking but for a person's right to smoke. At the same time, I don't think the state should be responsible for the health care of people. So, I have more a libertarian bent . . . let people smoke if they want to, drive without seatbelts if they want to, but if they end up sick or hurt, they have to pay for it.

  3. I'm just glad I never picked up the habit. My wallet suffers enough.

  4. Curtman,
    I agree . . . I can not imagine being on a tight budget, and having to shell out $20 a day for a two pack habbit.


  5. I agree with you PJM.
    When I was a kid, back in the early 50's, we called cigarettes coffin nails or cancer sticks.
    So I don't understand where people get the idea that they should be able to sue because they got cancer from smoking. I sure they knew the risks when they started.

    I am glad I never smoked, even now I can't be in the same area as someone that is smoking. I can feel my lungs close up when I enter a building that has allowed smoking. The new manager, that I am training goes out into the garage to smoke, but when he comes back in I can't be any where near him because he stinks so bad. But I only have today and tomorrow to be around him.

    Less than 2,880 minutes left.

  6. This is for Roger: An early welcome to the ranks of "the old farts on the street"!! May you enjoy your retirement as much as I am enjoying mine. I hope you have some things to keep you busy and don't spend all your days sitting around watching the tube.

  7. I never smoked - had enough trouble putting food on the table, never mind burning it up needlessly.

    I used to work for a cardiologist who simply refused to keep any patient who continued to smoke. "No point it wasting my time and your money, if you are going to undo everything I try to do for you."

    As for Pope George Ringo's suggestion of a smoking section goes, it really does come down to the Almighty Dollar. Fewer than 15%of the overall population smokes now, and a "Smoke Eater" cost over $5,000 ten years ago, and must be used in a closed space. Would the few people who needed it buy enough to pay for it? And servers who do not smoke bitterly resent having to wait tables in smoking areas.

  8. That picture perfectly encompasses the need to simply sit and relax for a moment.

    Pope George Ringo and PJM: agreed! I'd be even adding those who choose to participate in "extreme" sports to that list of those who, if they take that risk, must pay for the consequences themselves instead of asking the public to care for them.

    Roger: so close! Will you share your immediate game plan with us?

  9. I love to play cards, and my wife has a Old Fart membership for us where other old farts go to play cards. So there is some of my plans.
    A lot of fixing to be done on the house we bought.
    Travel: to see Kids and Grandkids, some of them I haven't seen in 15 years or so. They are wpread for one corner of this Great Nation to another. A lot of old friends I haven't seen in over 20 years, but write to all the time. Some fishing, some sight seeing, and for PJM I will start a blog.

  10. Happy new year to the PJM family. Thanks for all the photos that bring so much funny discussion

  11. What about fat people? Should they be denied health care because they "did it to themselves"?


    Just askin'.

  12. Well, I quit smoking over a year ago only to gain 30 pounds. I was on the line of becoming obese before I quit! Now, I am.

    I can't loose those extra pounds... I'm 60 years old and everything slows down to snails pace. grrrrrrrrrrr.... I don't miss smoking, but wish I could loose those pounds.


  13. Well my dad didn't roll his own smokes in Wyoming. He taught us kids how to do it!! LOL - actually if we weren't around he would roll his own. Neither my brother nor I ever smoked but we could roll one!

  14. I'm hooked on your blog. Really like your work... and HOW MUCH work it must be. I recommended you today to all of my readers...

  15. I'm hooked on your blog. Really like your work... and HOW MUCH work it must be. I recommended you today to all of my readers...

  16. Ellen, according to "my" cardiologist, each pack of cigarettes per day damages your heart equal to gaining 100 pounds, so if you stopped smoking and only gained 30 pounds, you're still ahead of the game.

    I was in the grocry store one day, and the man ahead of me had a small child in the cart. He bought two packs of cigarettes, left, and then came back in to admit he'd forgotten to buy diapers! Talk about having your priorities straight!

    I used to work on the sixth floor and at lunch time I would take the stairs, rather than be on the elevator with all the folks coming inside from their smoke break. Talk about reeking! Yowza!

    I don't think the smoking ban has anything to do with the restaurants not doing as much business; I think it's the overall economy. We go out more now than we did, simply because we can eat without choking to death. Pubs in England were afraid the stricter drinking and driving laws would hurt their business, too, but more families came out because they didn't worry about their children seeing a bunch of drunks getting obnoxious or fighting.

  17. I too remember cigarettes were called coffin nails or cancer sticks back in the late 1950's. If you smoke you shouldn't be suing Phillip Morris. Same with over-eating. If you eat 12 Big Macs at one sitting (and don't work it off) don't sic your lawyer on McDonalds when you get a heart attack. If you are a bad driver your insurance costs more. If you do any of the above your life insurance costs more. Seems to me the same should apply for heath insurance. Why should others subsidize someones lifestyle?
    The government is a huge hypocrite when it comes to smoking. If the American tobacco industry closed shop the fed would be out gobs of tax money and we would hear hysterical crying from inside the Beltway. Yet they are relentless in forcing this source of revenue through all sorts of legal hoops and continually make them apologize for existing.

    Just my $0.02

  18. WOW! I am so glad I found your blog, two of my favorite things, history and old photographs, I am in readers heaven!! Thank you so much for putting something like it up, I am really looking forward to reading and learning more. :)

  19. I'm with you...too many rules. Let's just keep things simple -
    1. Be responsible for yourself.
    2. Help your neighbor.

  20. Like the pic and love the narrative. I will be following this blog from now on.

  21. Its not matter of discrimination but understanding the depth of harm it does how can womens who have a big task of delivering a baby can get into smoking? Trust me a decent friend ( my point of view) of my husband smokes casually.. i felt like explaining her that smoking will ventually lead you to infertility or may be even to dangerous disease to you..but then kept mum...God Bless Her..Thank God that my Hubby eventually quit smoking after 15years of continuous smoking...God Bless Him too

  22. smoking... I think it is normaly.., like to eat too much, or to drink alcohol! you people sometimes don't understant some simple things, and criticise ohter people, for nothig!

  23. I wish people would understand that we were put on Earth to suffer and eventually die, this is God's plan.
    There is no such thing as a perfect life of perfect health. I know--or knew, an exercise freak who ran four miles every morning, ate salads with no dressing, criticized me for my pack a day habit and my penchant for fried beef, who ended up dropping dead of a heart attack at 36 years of age.
    My point is, we spend too much time criticizing this guy or that guy for doing something we perceive as being wrong (healthwise), when we just need to relax and enjoy ourselves because God and God alone decides when we leave this planet.
    I bet my exercising friend would have traded his salad for my fatty steak on the last day of his life if he could do it over again.
    Nuff said.

  24. Ill bet that old man lived to be a ripe old age . just because you smoke i doesnt make you unhealthy . when i was in the army i smoked the entire time. But on the other hand i quit 5 years ago (im 44) and go to the gym 5 days a week and have never felt better . my point is just because i quit it doesnt magically make it wrong for everyone. ill bet half these readers drink is that habit better than the other . my thought is everyone has their own ways of life and as long as they are not imposed on me they can smoke all they want

  25. I have known a lot of cowboys who smoked, drank and ate beef and lived to be old because they were active. Copenhagen was 45 cents a can when I started and is 8 dollars a can now. You don't see the old guys like you used to. They lived in cabins or rooming houses and were nice to kids and had great stories. Better days and better ways.


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