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Ain’t No Cowboy Yet

Goodbye Dusty
April 19, 2012
A Good Way to Grow
April 12, 2020

Ain’t No Cowboy Yet

Growing up on TV,
It was all black and white,
Roy Roger's, Hopalong, Lone Ranger,
An’ other westerns on the site.

Later came on Gunsmoke,
Maverick, Rawhide and such.
'Twas important formative time,
Setting young values so much.

Heroes such as The Duke
The right ways all entailin'
Forged the ethics of this lad
With honor and pride prevailin'.

A long time I've followed cowboys,
Purt' near all my days.
And with my following tried
Honoring their good ways.

Many years I spent a' horseback
Strugglin' through my teens.
Grew fond of hats and snap front shirts
Plus well worn ‘ol bluejeans.

My first pair of cowboy boots
(I saved up for when thirteen)
Were made of tough black goatskin
That had a wet ink sheen.

Fitted with undercut riding heels,
At first I walked unsteady,
‘Bout like a newborn colt but,
A’for long I’d the hang of it already.

Discovered a shinin' storyteller,
They called him Louis L'Amour.
I read each book he ever’ wrote.
He Cowboyed me up for sure.

But I never learned to rope
Nor got bucked off an ornery cayuse.
Never ate dust ridin’ drag all day.
Didn’t ever take all that abuse.

Still I know my way ‘round horses
And I can saddle them and groom.
Picked up those cowboy lessons
Many a summer at the Desert Moon.

I ranched my own cattle some,
I tried the cow-calf thing.
Ya know, buy high, sell low
An do it all agin’ next spring.

Once had a little 40 acre spot.
I called it the smilin’ “G.”
Sweet little spread; coulda been right
If’n I’da had m’Darlin’ Audie.

Even had me a brandin’ iron.
Used it on cow and steer.
Now it languishes here in Montana,
A neglected reminder so, so dear.

Rodeo has always called to me.
I’ tend ever’ one I can.
Once built beside saddle bronc rider,
Our boss a bull ridin’ man.

I've spent my life in Cowboy boots,
My toes are bent to show it.
But that don't make me near “Cowboy”
An' it humbles me some to know it.

See I've clocked time with weathered men
Havin’ bowed legs and metal joints.
They’d earned scars ‘n got hitchy-limps
While earnin’ their cowboy points.

Talkin' straight and fearin' little,
I watched how a gent behaves.
From time ‘o understanding
Clean through to boothill graves.

Like keepin’ yer word and showin' up
When there's chorin’ to be done.
An tippin' yer hat fer wimmenfolk,
Their “you’ll do” titles won.

I lift my hat to all those heroes,
Cowboys in one form or other.
They shaped my ways and nudged me
To wanna call 'em brother.

So, sure I've dabbled at it
Even played with their big toys.
But that just ain't near enough
To be counted with real Cowboys.

So, no, I'm not a real cowboy
Though I have hankered long to be.
Those men have earned the handle
Not just a’wishin’ here like me.

But we do share a kindred bond
Of traditions ‘n right ‘n wrong,
Of honoring our free country
And standing to keep her strong.

Their simple virtue of honesty,
Demands me humbly tell,
I've only been a wannabe.
‘Spite wantin’ to so well.

So here's the truth I speak aloud,
“I ain't no cowboy yet”.
I never fully paid my dues
‘Round those I’m proud to’ve I met.

Still, when I get up yonder,
And the bell rings time fer grub,
I hope you boys say, “Light n set”,
'Stead ‘a givin’ me the snub.

It’d shine to share yer bunkhouse too.
I'll take the coldest cot.
Cuz in my heart I'm one of you
And your backside’s what I’ve got.

By, Rik Goodell
© 2020