That “No Quit” Attitude

Heber Valley Artist Feature

Kevin Kehoe

Poem By Waddie Mitchell

While gatherin’ cattle near the ruins of a long abandoned homestead,

In the shadows of the mountains, questions swarmed around my mind

Of the people who had claimed there, most forgotten now and long dead.

Still, I wondered what had prompted them to leave their world behind.


Searching for a life uncertain in a vast and rugged region,

Up and leave their home and kin for opportunity to find,

Taking little more to start with than an idea and a reason

And the dream of their succeeding in a future yet defined.


Soon these queries led to more, like why it is that some folks always

Need to push their borders out beyond the furthest milestone

On some never ending quest to find new ways and trails to blaze

And, in the process, stretch the realm of what is built and done and known.


From the little draw above me, in my pard rides with his findin’s,

Throwing his bunch in with mine now shaded up and settled down.

I could see he’d gone through battle for his pony’s sportin’ lather

But his smile claimed he’d made it in with everything he’d found.


The sweat and dust and brush streaks on that pair done heaps o’ speaking

As he pulled up near, dismounted, loosened latigo a bit.

Said “We jumped ‘em in the roughs and would’ve lost ‘em had we weakened

But, I swear, this here caballo ain’t got one half ounce of quit.”

And that “no quit” phrase speaks volumes on one’s character and makin’s

To the cowboy drawin’ wages ridin’ ranges of the West.

Those who have it, you’ll find, usually conquer most their undertakin’s

For the best in them is drawin out when their spirits’ put to test.

Then I spot my cowdogs brushed up stayin’ well hid from the cattle

Knowin’, with a cue, they’d give all to do anything need done

And I thought, then, how the most of us will opt to shun that battle,

Never knowing fully what we could accomplish or become.

Still I believe, like dogs and horses, we’re all born with resolution,

And, like muscles and good habits, it needs use and exercise.

If left dormant it’s in jeopardy of loss to evolution

For eventually it shrivels up in atrophy and dies.

But, when flexed, it blossoms heroes and a source of inspiration

For we recognize the virtues in that “no quit” attitude.

And it proves its attributes in competition and vocation

Which evokes appreciation and a show of gratitude.

And since mankind started walking it’s been swifter, higher, stronger

As if pushed by some deep need to keep their limits unconfined.

Almost thriving, always striving for things bigger, better, longer

In an unrelenting pursuit of perfection redefined.

And, in this world of soft complacence, there’s still a few among the masses

Who will readily give all to see a job or dream fulfilled.

It’s a trait that’s void of prejudice towards races, sex or classes

Just demanding its possessor be of valor and strong willed.

Then, as we point our cattle homeward, letting dogs bring up the rear,

And we leave what’s left of, once, somebody’s hopes and dreams behind,

I’m convinced that “no quit” attitude will always persevere

And that’s the essence and the promise and the crown of humankind.