The Passenger

Old cowboys don’t die

They board planes and fly away

Run down boots, no spurs

I picture his horse

Long put out to green pastures

Bent neck and swayed back

The man still stands tall

Smelling of leather and dust

Old straw hat in hand

I wrote this while waiting in line at a Southwest gate in Dallas. The photos aren’t great–I was trying to be surreptitious.

Parade

She sat on the tailgate
of an old green Ford,
her narrow denim clad hips
wedged between an Igloo cooler
and a box of faded red rags.
Scuffed boots swinging.

The whoop whoop of a siren
heralded the coming display
of a starched color guard,
eliciting a respectful salute,
grandparents demonstrating
flag etiquette for the young.

Then came beauty queens smiling,
perching precariously on the
pinnacle of a tissue paper
decorated semi-trailer in gowns
of taffeta, satin, and lace.
Tiaras glittering in the sun.

She waved at those high school
princesses, pulling funny
faces to make them laugh.
That was her talent, after all.
Hardly anyone took her
seriously as the parade passed.

Marching bands from rival
schools vied for favor
as the sun heated the summer
Texas day; twirlers in spangled
shorts tossing batons inspired
ooohs and ahhs from the crowd.

Reaching inside the battered
Igloo, she dug deep, found an
icy cold Schlitz and disguised
it with a red rag. The Baptists
sitting at the curb on either
side would cluck if they knew.

A string of politicians came next,
esconced in the finest vehicles
the local car dealers could offer;
bright smiles plastered on their
faces as their well-coifed wives
wilted in the climbing heat.

Following close behind came tykes
wobbling on bikes, spokes decorated,
festooned with ribbons and crepe
paper and baskets overflowing
with flags or stuffed animals. She
called out each name as they passed.

Finishing her beer, she craned her
neck to see tractors and combines in
John Deere green compete with those of
International Harvester red in a show of
the latest in agricultural technology.
The parade’s low point, she thought.

At last she heard the clip clopping of
hooves on the WPA bricked street and the
bright clanging of a bell, as the old cowpoke,
Zeke, sang out. Smiling she popped the top
on another Schlitz, hopped down from the
rusty tailgate, and joined the parade.

Countdown to Texas

    Four days to Texas
    Amarillo bound
    Can’t wait to see my baby
    When I hit that dusty ground.

    Goin’ home, after years gone by
    Goin’ home, tryin’ not to cry
    Tears of joy and happiness
    When my baby’s by my side.
    Goin’ home.

    Three days to Texas
    I can feel it drawing near
    Like a hot blast of air
    And a cold Budweiser beer.

    Goin’ home, after years gone by
    Goin’ home, tryin’ not to cry
    Tears of joy and happiness
    When my baby’s by my side.
    Goin’ home.

    Two more days to Texas
    Amarillo here I come
    Where the air smells of cattle
    And cowboys get work done.

    Goin’ home, after years gone by
    Goin’ home, tryin’ not to cry
    Tears of joy and happiness
    When my baby’s by my side.
    Goin’ home.

    One last day to Texas
    Back to my country roots
    I’ll put aside my flip flops
    And don my old black boots.

    Goin’ home, after years gone by
    Goin’ home, tryin’ not to cry
    Tears of joy and happiness
    When my baby’s by my side.
    Goin’ home.

    And now the wheels are touching
    a runway on the plains
    broad prairie sweeps around me
    It’s different, but the same.

    I’m home, after years gone by
    I’m home, tears start to fall
    In my baby’s arms I’ve finally found
    My home.

     

    Palo Duro Canyon–a must visit in the Texas panhandle
      
    Historic Route 66 runs through Amarillo
       

    When a Cowboy Dies

    When a cowboy dies
    the world sighs and God calls out
    “come home son, and rest!”

    “You’ve no more cattle
    to brand, no roundups to ride,
    come home son, and rest.”

    “Your best horse awaits
    ready for your gentle hand
    ride home son, and rest.”

    When a cowboy dies
    loved ones cry, while angels sing,
    “welcome home; now rest.”
      

    Actor Fess Parker

    I wrote this piece as a tribute to my husband’s Uncle, Frank Parker, who passed away this week. I didn’t have a photo of Uncle Frank, but actor Fess Parker (pictured above) was a cousin, and shared a lot of the same good genetic material. 

    Uncle Frank was a true cowboy from his early teenaged years in Pie Town, New Mexico, until his body just couldn’t do the work anymore. Not too many years ago Frank suffered a broken neck in a horse-related incident.

    No one expected Frank to live, but he did, recovering fully and continuing to ride the range out near Albuquerque, New Mexico, on into his 80’s.

    Uncle Frank was one hell of a tough man, and a real cowboy. He’s ridden on home now. May he truly find rest.

    Peace, people.

    High Horse

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    Are you only passing through
    Or will you stay for awhile?
    Either way get off your
    High horse and come
    Dance with my friends and me
    Drink some good wine
    Tell us a story and
    Sing us a song.

    I can’t tell you how much
    We enjoy new folks like you
    And your horse, Stanley, is
    Pretty cool, too.
    Tell me, does he dance?
    Neigh, neigh, but he
    Reigns supreme in
    Hay rides and parlor games.

    If you decide to move on,
    Could I maybe go, too?
    My travels have been
    Brief and far too few.
    That depends, ma’am,
    He grinned as he said,
    On Stanley, you see he’d
    Have to carry both me and you.

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    Rudderless Horse

    Playing with words:

    A rudderless horse
    A riderless ship
    A butterbug and a ladyfly
    Two conepines and a pinlinch
    A bump that goes “thing” in the night
    Beaver eagers and fly soxes.
    As for Jomeo and Ruliette
    A nose by any other name would still smell.

    Continue reading “Rudderless Horse”