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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 pearl-snap 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, black-ink sheen

Fitted with undercut riding heels
At first I walked unsteady
‘Bout like a newborn colt, but,
A’fore 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 I had m’Darlin’ Audie

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

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

I've spent my life in Cowboy boots,
My toes are all side-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' understandin'
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 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

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