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Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Draw of the Western Romance

There are many things that can be credited to western writers, but from time to time we all need reminding that our being here is all thanks to the true pioneers of the west. There is the heroism of the male counterpart, his respect for womanhood, his respect for the codes of the west, his courage in the face of many dangers and his self-satisfaction of turning a piece of hard dirt into a workable ranch or farm. There was the justice in the Sheriff who brings in the bad guys. However something a lot of people overlook is the fact that after years of fighting the elements, making their own way, defending what is theirs, their children will grow up in a better place.

But on closer look let's look at the women who came west. What did they have to look forward to? Their lives were filled with perils and challenges to be met. Just to make a pot of coffee a woman might have to pull a bucket from the well, if there was a well, if not, she'd have to walk to a nearby stream to get her water. Then she'd come back inside and have to roast the coffee beans, then grind them, then she could make the coffee. That was just for coffee, not to mention the eight kids and a husband, maybe even a parent to cook for. Every morning. And we aren't talking a quick meal, we are talking ham and eggs and biscuits and gravy and plenty of coffee and milk to go around. After that, she'd have to clean the kitchen. Now a good pioneer woman would train her children to straighten their beds, and do their chores. Some of those chores were done before breakfast too.

If it needed doing, she might reserve a big part of her day just for washing her clothes in the creeks on the rocks, then hanging them out on a line to dry.
Sickness often came without warning, and without much medical advice a woman was left to do what she could. Measles, chicken pox, scarlet fever, cholera, and many more afflictions troubled the pioneer woman as she struggled along with what knowledge she had.

Naturally neighbors helped each other out a lot. People had a close bond back then because no one knew when they might need help getting a crop in before bad weather, or nursing a child with some sort of disease no one had heard of.

When a barn burned from being struck by lightning, neighbors might come for miles around to help rebuild.

Women in the west didn't have it as easy as women in the east. Most of their dresses were cotton, dark and light for summer and winter. They wore bonnets to keep the sun from damaging their faces. But only on social events did a woman dress up in her best clothes and maybe put a ribbon in her hair.
I think truly that men and women sometimes grew to love each other from all the struggles they endured. Through their losses for children.

Men defended their homes from varmints and outlaws and Indians. Some were burnt out, some survived.

The work was backbreaking, and by sundown it wasn't a question of when they went to bed, they went to bed early so they could get up and start all over again the next day. And they did all this so their children, grandchildren and future generations could have things better.

The west is a romance in itself. We must never forget where we all came from. We must cherish the sacrifices that were made so that one day a woman wouldn't have to give birth to a child in the morning and then pull cotton in the afternoon of the same day.

Just the idea of all the struggles they had, is a romance in itself.

So any writer that doesn't find it fascinating and romantic and downright interesting, I can't imagine.

Bringing these people to life again, makes me feel as though I reached in an drug some of their stories out to be told. And it makes me proud and grateful for what they did accomplish.

Heart of a Woman is a story I wrote just recently. It's about a wealthy woman who wants to escape her controlling relatives and find a life of her own. It's about a love that transcends most physical lust and finds the true heart of a woman. It's about struggles and hardships and a love that builds an empire. These two bring out the true west, and why it endured.

Hope you enjoy it. I'd love to hear what others think of the west and western romance.
Blessings
Rita Hestand

3 comments:

Tina Donahue said...

Great post, Rita. I love western romance. Heart of a Woman looks like an amazing read. :)

jean hart stewart said...

A thought-provoking and wonderful post. We all owe so much to our ancestors...

Fiona McGier said...

None of my relatives were in the old west. Mine were in Poland and Scotland. But you asked for out opinions.

The idea of living with no medicine, no creature comforts, not even warm water to bathe in, makes me break out in hives. There was no birth control back then either, so once you had a husband, you'd get pregnant every year, and often die in childbirth.

So count me out. I don't even like contemporary cowboy romances, because I don't like the traditional alpha-male cowboys. I don't even like the smell of horses. The only part I'd like about heading west is getting to camp in the natural surroundings...in my pop-up camper. I'd admire the beauty of it all, then go back home to warm showers on demand and my dependable wi-fi for my laptop.

I'm definitely NOT a country gal!