Every day we use words and phrases whose roots lie in our western heritage. Words like “brand,” “maverick,” and “dude,” along with phrases like” climb down off your high horse” and “passing the buck” all grew out of the culture and experiences of those who moved into and lived in the American West. These creative words are poetic, descriptive and often quite humorous like the saying “He’s got a ten-dollar Stetson on a five-cent head,” or “she’s as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a roomful of rocking chairs.” This was the language of the frontier and as we moved into it, the language moved right along with us like a shave-tailed mule hitched to a wagon. Ride shotgun with Renzi as he explores the meanings and historical origins of these Western words and slang phrases.
Steve Renzi, a University of Arizona graduate with a degree in history, believes that every generation must learn about who and what came before them or else the lessons learned are lost. As a writer and photographer with a teacher’s certificate in secondary education, Renzi is always searching for new ways of exploring our history. He has written and been published in over 200 magazine and newspaper articles and is currently a writing and photography teacher, as well as a basketball coach. Although he derives great satisfaction from his professional pursuits, his proudest moment was the birth of his twin sons.