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Cowboyin’ On A Dime

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Cowboyin’ On A Dime

Many of y'all might be too young to remember
The mechanical horse outside a grocery store
You'd mount for free but for one thin dime
That pony'd rock you ‘til your butt got sore

There were several pretty options back then
Depending on which market you chose
You could ride buckskins, palominos or bays
And I’d’a gladly sat any one of those

But my favorite pony was called "Scout"
A chestnut tobiano like Tonto's paint
He was fitted with a silver-studded, black saddle
Along with a leather bridle and reins for restraint

The Lone Ranger and Tonto were my pardners
Each week in black ‘n white they’d reach out
When I jumped aboard that mechanical pony
With conviction I'd order, “Get-em-up Scout”

It wasn't often I got to actually ride Scout
My folks didn't have much change to spare
I mean, a dime bought a loaf of bread back then
There was rarely enough money for playin’-fare

Always hitched and waiting at the door
Scout was my patient, ever-loyal friend
I wanted to bring him an apple or carrot
But, grudgingly, I knew he was a horse-pretend

Some visits when Mom allowed
Even though we couldn't spare a dime
I'd stirrup step, swing a leg over
And dream-ride the range for a time

One day we might chase horse thieves
Who were runnin' desperado from the law
Or on another glee-filled, fantasy ride
I'd be cowboyin' strays out of a draw.

I'd memorized all the right horse commands
So, to the parking lot, those words I'd bellow
In the eager voice of a salty trail boss
Using "Giddyup", "Whoa" or "Easy big fellow"

I didn't have no cowboy hat or bandana
As Scout and I ranged o'er the purple sage
Those tapaderos were engaged by sneakers
Long before my coming of age

Often I'd pedal my Schwinn bicycle
A mile or so to the Shopping Bag
Just to free-sit astride that pony
Then bike back to my buddies and brag

Though I was still very young, I knew
At the tender age of seven or eight
Somehow, one way or another
Cowboyin' would be my undeniable fate

Who could've guessed way back then
What adventures were in store
Or that I'd devour everything ever written
By that great cowboy author, L'Amour

No question all that saddle time
With me astride ol' Scout
Helped me develop a good seat
Of that fact I have no doubt

For when my time finally came
And I mounted a horse of the live kind
I hit leather in straight confidence
With an easy, familiar, routine mind

So when you hear me tell you true
That I've been riding since I could walk
Don't question my claim for a minute
Because I'm givin' you the straight talk

It was a couple decades later
After getting home from the war
I went back to see my ol' friend Scout
But he was no longer at the grocery store

I wonder if he gave up waiting
Figurin I must be long dead?
Or perhaps he just got replaced
By a kiddie-ride spaceship instead

I'm sure sorry I missed you pal
I hope you've come to no harm
I’ll forever muck your stall for you
In my made-up, best-memories barn

by Rik Goodell

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