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Will Rogers: a man for his time

Since I was born in 1938, I wasn’t around during the life of the great American humorist and entertainer Will Rogers. But I have read about him a lot and each time I read about his extraordinary life and times, I am in awe of his talents and accomplishments. He was a humorist, comedian and journalist. He was also a ranch hand, rodeo rider, film star, radio personality and aviation Pioneer. He was very good at rope twirling and lassoing. His laid back style appealed to many folks. He often poked fun at dignitaries, especially government officials. His humorous chatter, casual delivery and southwestern drawl proved a popular combination.
William Penn Adair Rogers was born September 5, 1879 in Oologah, Oklahoma to Clement and Mary Rogers. He was the youngest of eight children. He was raised on a ranch near Claremore, Oklahoma. Among his many talents and pursuits he became interested in airplanes. His death came in an airplane crash on August 15, 1935 near Point Barrow, Alaska. It was then that the world lost a great citizen whose wry humor and stage presence was a great asset to America. Also dying in the crash was pilot and friend Wiley Post.
Some of Rogers’ pithy quotes are as follows.
“Be thankful we’re not getting all the government we’re paying for.”
“Too many people spend money they haven’t earned to buy things they don’t want to impress people they don’t like.”

“A farmer has to be an optimist or he wouldn’t still be a farmer.”
“A man only learns in two ways, one by reading, and the other by association with smarter people.”
“We will never have true civilization until we have learned to recognize the rights of others.”
“Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.”
One of Rogers’ most widely known quotes was, “I never met a man I didn’t like.”

Rogers was a friend to presidents and unofficial ambassador of good will under three administrations. In his later years he made three films with John Ford: Doctor Bull (1933), Judge Priest (1934), and Steamboat Round The Bend (1935). It was after the filming of Steamboat Round The Bend that Rogers took off on an expedition to Alaska where his life ended in the tragic airplane crash. I missed those years by being born in 1938, but it is fortunate that I can read about that famous entertainer and his influence during his time.