Cliff was a truly quiet man
Mostly held his words all the long day
Until settin' with a plate of beans
Round a campfire gave him somethin' to say
He was one of those men who're ageless
He might'a been seventy or more
Hard to tell with much certainty
Which is common for those who live outdoors
Anyway I liked Cliff cuz he could entertain
Man could he tell a story!
He spoke 'em so sincerely
You couldn't tell real from puffed glory
One morning 'round breakfast
Might be the best he ever told
It was stormin' somethin' fierce
Boss had said work would be on hold
Old Cliff let out a cussin' streak
That would'a put a pirate to shame
He'd scalded his tongue on coffee
Then admitted he was to blame
"Everything has a consequence",
Cliff chuckled shakin' his head,
"Hadn't been in such a rush
I'd'a let that cool a mite instead"
"Brings back to mind a time
Playin' leapfrog as a child
When I vaulted over my unicorn
Which left me, shall we say, defiled"
"Yep a man's gotta choose wisely
As he goes along his way
Get careless in his choosin'
Could be hell to pay"
"Take the time I wrestled a she-griz
Up the Rockies Montana one time
'Prob'ly could'a avoided the tussle
But I was young and feelin' my prime"
"Well that sounds downright scary",
Exclaimed Butch well-meaning
He was a new-hire who
Had yet to learn Cliff's yarn-leaning
"So what happened Cliff,
However did you survive?
Ain't never heard of no one
Doin' such and comin' away alive"
"Funny you should ask young man
I was just gettin' to that part
I up an' outted my Bowie
And removed that grizzly's heart"
"You might'a thought that'd be the end of it
I can tell you that I surely did
But I hadn't counted on her kin
That behind some brush had hid"
"Oh heavens no!", Butch cried,
"However did you abide?"
"Well, I didn't silly boy
Cain't you see I up and died?"
The laughter that followed
Only served to egg Cliff on
If someone didn't stop him
He might be yarnin' all day 'til dawn
"Can't say I still always choose just rightly
Time to time I lean towards obfuscation
'Specially when I set to storyin' and
Fact stretchin' might be prevarication"
"But boys my yarnin's all in good fun
And in my book that makes it okay,
Someone's gotta' provide some foolery
To season you cowboys' workday"
"But choose your actions with care boys
As you can see you'll have to account
I eventually learned my lesson though
After losin' a fight with a catamount "
"Yep, just as y'all might guess
If I were to speak truth just like it was
I dang sure would'a up and died again
If I hadn't chewed off that kitty's paws"
"Well chow's 'bout over boys
And so is all this funnin'
I can see the storm has quit
So let's get them cows a runnin'!"
'Yarnin' is one thing to entertain us all
It passes lonely time night and day
But if we don't get them beeves to market
The consquence is, we'll never draw our pay"
by Rik Goodell
© 2022. All rights reserved
I appreciate the generosity of the Price family in agreeing to allow me to post a copy of this painting alongside my work.
See more of this artist's work at https://clarkkelleyprice.com/