Gunsmoke had it right.
There is a New tradition in the Kelly house. One that my Brother Michael and my Dad have started.
Yes, that’s right I said “Gunsmoke.”
Every day after work my brother will come over and he and my Dad watch this show. Once in a while I watch too. I was very little when it was actually “on the air” but on the Encore western channel on the cable network we have, they show re -runs of the show everyday.
Here’s a peek into “Gunsmoke” and some of the people of Dodge City.
For those who don’t know “Dodge City”
The tv show “Gunsmoke” was an American radio and television Western drama series. The radio version ran from 1952 to 1961, The television version ran for 20 seasons from 1955 to 1975, and was the United States’ longest-running prime time, live-action drama with 635 episodes. The stories take place in and around Dodge City, Kansas, during the settlement of the American West.
Life, the Dodge way
Life in Dodge most of the time is simple, honest and real. It’s a tv show but it’s much like real in many ways. People who live there wake up each day go to work, come home, raise families have friends, and they go out to dinner, they shop in the local general store and have an occasional drink at the Long Branch Saloon run by Ex saloon girl, Kitty Russel. (She may or may not be Mat’s girl, I have to get back to you on that one). They have problems they worry about, they have everyday concerns and just like in our lives, problems and situations that arise that take longer than 60 minutes to solve. But in the world of television and “Gunsmoke”, they do their best to sum it all up for you in the allotted time. I wish we could do that in real life. Don’t you?.
Yes, sometimes people disagree and there is a fight. Sometimes a fist is thrown or a shuffle takes place and the Marshall, a friend, or another Dodge citizen steps in and can, most of the time, manage to settle the dispute with common sense solutions or a simple handshake.
Yes this is “Gunsmoke” and from time to time guns are drawn and shots ring out.. Usually when that happens it’s an outsider come to Dodge and they end up causing trouble. Marshall Dillon usually handles it well though. Thats is his job .
Most of the citizens are honest, hard-working, down to earth , kind and friendly. They treat each other with respect, decency, and compassion. Most of the citizens of Dodge City are the kind of people you would like to have as your neighbors. If you need help with something, you can always find someone there who is willing to reach out and lend a hand. Most everyone in Dodge knows each other and a friendly hand or and heart is not hard to find. A kind word, or a helpful spirit is never that far away.
As I was watching “Gunsmoke” I started making correlations between the people, life and how they live it in Dodge and life and people as you and I know it in our everyday lives.
I watched and listened to the towns people, how they treat each other and what the think of each other as a whole. I listened to how they treat each other one on one, and as friends and how they treat perfect strangers.
Seeing how life in Dodge is lived ….. I had a thought…….
We should be treating each other like this.. everyday!. Friends, loved ones and strangers…..
Everyone one of us, should be aspiring to treat, not just our friends and loved ones, our neighbors, the people we automatically care about, or should, but everyone we meet each day.
I understand that sometimes having an example for us to see, to follow can be a good reminder and guide, to show us the way.
A tall drink of water
Take Marshall Dillon for instance.
Marshall Matthew Dillon. The leading citizen of Dodge. Respected and liked by most. There are only a few who don’t like Marshall Dillon. Most of the time they are those who aren’t on the right side of the law….. and most people in Dodge… are definitely,
on the right side of the law.
Most everyone in town looks up to Marshall Mat Dillon because he lives his life and performs the duties of Marshall of Dodge City with a few simple rules of conduct…
Honor. Decency. Fairness. Respect.
He is a straight forward, straight shooting guy. (no pun intended) There is a right way and there is a wrong way. He always tells the truth. He is always fair. He always does the right thing even when it’s difficult. He is always right there for his friends when they need him and does the job of protecting Dodge City, every man, woman and child and just those passing through Dodge, with thoughtfulness and care.
But one important point: He does his job not just because he has to or because he’s getting paid to, but because he truly cares about and has great respect for the badge, the meaning and feeling behind it, and the people for whom he works…The People of Dodge.
His values and ethics are pretty simple and he stands by them… No matter what the cost. They are….
Have respect for others — He is a gentleman. Treats every man, woman and child with respect and decency.
Tell the truth and stand up for what’s right — He stands for truth because he feels it is the best way to live. The best way to be. Honest. Justice is something he always tries to always keep. Sometimes though justice loses and you can lose your perspective. Though even in the face of a tragedy or wrong winning over what he knows is right, he keeps his head and tries to find some good… in a bad situation.
Be fair and decent — Fairness is something he tries to keep in every situation but it doesn’t always work that way. He does his best to be fair and serve that rule. Decency is not a question. Just simply lived. It’s the foundation of his character as a human being.
Have and show compassion and understanding — He is a human being and finds it difficult to be always compassionate for those who set out to hurt others. He tries to see all sides to be fair and just. He does his best to understand a lot of them are lost, angry, and that some people have just decided to be, just that. Lost and angry. Those people he does his best to help… if they let him.
Be patient, be in control — He would rather use his intelligence and talk a problem out. Getting into a fight or argument only if absolutely necessary to save, protect or stand up for a friend, a citizen, or himself …….Using his weapon is always the last resort. He is a person known for his Integrity, honesty, strength, fairness, selfless acts, strong values, being a good and faithful friend, and having respect for all living things.
Bottom line is….. I think we need to ‘cowboy up’ boys and girls
So exactly why aren’t we all striving to be like Marshall Dillon?
Hey, I’m serious. Is it an unreasonable request, or just too much effort? Is it really too much work to try to be the best we can be? to be truly decent, compassionate, honest, forthright people and citizens?.
And not just when it serves us to be.
I know it can be hard to stay calm and talk out a problem, “holster your six-gun” so to speak. Rather than just throwing a punch or a carefully worded insult when challenged and stopping it all right there. Or maybe sometimes it can be easier to make up a lie rather than tell the truth. Or easier not bother to put yourself out and lend a hand to someone and be there for another person rather than assume the next person can and will do it.
The problem with that way of thinking is there isn’t always going to be another person coming to help. Sometimes you are that person to carry out the responsiblity in front of you. To possibly rise to the occasion and be the strong one. Maybe the smart one, the wise one, or maybe even the one in control, the bigger person..
I get it. It’s hard….. I think the key word is… Effort.
Yes, being the best person you can be, can call upon you to stand up and put forth an effort maybe you never thought you would have to. Sometimes a situation asks you to be more than just the person who glides through life with the outlook of “yea, whatever man”.. But guess what!.
That’s the idea!. That’s actually the pay off, The Effort!.
Sometimes being the best person you can be can be tough. I mean life and people can be ….frustrating, exhausting and…. well, frustrating!.
Did I say that already?. I understand life in Dodge may be all summed up in a tidy little happy 60 minutes and that real life may take a bit longer that most of the time. Life is not a 60 minute episode of Gunsmoke.
But I think if we just put forth the effort to treat each other a little bit more like the people in Dodge City do, treat each person we meet, not just those we ALREADY respect and show kindness to, but everyone we are going to meet, with the respect, decency and compassion AND a little patience and understanding we give the ones we already care about and love, we can reach and become the best of who we were born to be.
The best version of us.
They say “Life imitates art”. In this case I whole heartedly agree it should. Maybe we all should watch a few Gunsmoke re-runs. Maybe my Dad and Brother have the right idea. Maybe the people of Dodge City and Mat Dillon knew something we sometimes have trouble remembering, something we can’t afford to forget.
That the effort we make to treat life and the people we know and meet along the way, with respect, decency, kindness and a little compassion is not only worth the effort, but in the end, hopefully like in Gunsmoke, living those beliefs, living those ethics, comes back to us, in one way or another and also in the faces of those we care about……. and in the faces of those people we meet along the way.
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Have you ever seen “Gunsmoke” and what do you think of what I wrote? Leave a comment below I would love to know any thought you have on this!
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