Off to the Cherokee Nation

Will Rogers
Will Rogers

Guess who’s going to Oklahoma to visit the Cherokee Nation? After a long trip in Canada, I ordinarily wouldn’t want to go anywhere for a while, but I snapped up this trip like a hungry trout. One stop is going to be the Will Rogers Museum, and I’m a big fan.

He started out as a rope-trickster at rodeos, and then got the best gig in the world at the Ziegfield Follies. Then he became a movie star and then a world-famous columnist and radio commentator. When he died in a plane crash in Alaska in 1935, the nation mourned him as it had mourned Abraham Lincoln.

I wish we had a guy like that around today, someone everyone liked and trusted who wasn’t afraid to mock hypocrisy wherever it reared its ugly head. And when he mocked it, it stayed mocked.

Ogden Nash said this of him:

“With grin and gum and lariat
He entertained the proletariat.
And with his Oklahomely wit
He brightened up the world a bit.”

I’m also a big fan of the Cherokee Nation. Before the Angles came to Angle-land, before the Franks came to France, before the Germans came to Germany, before the Romulus founded his city on the seven hills, before the Greeks laid siege to Troy, the Cherokee gathered at their sacred hearth in a valley in the Smoky Mountains (as they are now called) and took fire to their villages all over what is now the southeastern US.