Trewisms: Wisdom You Can Count On

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courtesy of Farm Collector Staff

I’ve always admired and respected the words of wisdom passed down by my elders. My life has been easier when I adhered to their advice. Now I want to pass down some of my hard-earned observations of life accumulated during my years on earth to date. These “Trewisms,” as I call them, will never be chiseled in stone but I hope you enjoy their content.

  • If, upon entering a bathroom, you are disappointed at not finding a Montgomery Ward catalog to read while waiting, you might soon receive a birthday card from the president.
  • Never take a sleeping pill and a laxative at the same time.
  • When you are an old man, an old woman doesn’t look half bad, and vice versa.
  • If you meet and shake hands with a man whose hands smell like bacon grease, you can bet he is milking a cow with sore teats.
  • If you still think “whoa” when stepping on a brake pedal, you probably know how to grease a wagon wheel and harness a horse.
  • If you can instantly distinguish stinging nettle from other broadleaf weeds, you know what “squatting in the woods” means.
  • If you know what cow kickers, hog ringers and monkey wrenches are, you know how to cuss.
  • If you passionately hate grass burrs, goat heads and splinters, you went barefoot until half-grown.
  • If you know about the spark on a car, the impulse on a magneto or have ever owned a mule, an X-ray of your arm will show an old break or two.
  • If you have never had a “nob-cobbing,” felt the thump of a thimble on your head or the sting of a razor strop, you are probably an only child.
  • If orange juice still tastes like castor oil, you buy Vicks in the economy size and you know how to make a mustard plaster or mix a hot toddy, you probably don’t see a doctor often.
  • If you have ever slept in a feather bed, under five homemade quilts with a hot brick at your feet, you don’t complain much about cold weather.
  • If you ran a trap line on the way to school and brought in the milk cows on the way home, you never had any problem holding down a job in later years.
  • If you think all men are created equal, you’ve never been afoot when a man on a good horse came riding by.
  • If you judge horseflesh by, “one white foot, eye him; two white feet, try him; three white feet, buy him; four white feet and a white nose, fed him to the crows,” you’ve owned some good horses.
  • If you have ever placed carrots or mineral oil in pinto beans, or rubbed two ends of a cucumber together to prevent gas, you don’t buy many antacids.
  • You may be a little slow if you have ever forgotten to curry your horse’s back, been snipe hunting twice or ate yellow snow. FC

Delbert Trew is a freelance writer, retired rancher and supervisor of the Devil’s Rope Museum in McLean, Texas. Contact him at Trew Ranch, Box A, Alanreed, TX 79002; (806) 779-3164; email:

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