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Gittin’ After It

Grace on the Range
April 20, 2021
Old Glory’s Story
May 3, 2021

Gittin' After It

A spring chill was still a’hangin’ on
Winter bein' reluctant to take flight
We gathered round the bunkhouse stove
To hear what stories would get told tonight

Ol' Jake had a deep baritone voice
That was a sure 'nuff pleasure to hear
It was calm, comfort and confidence
Always good for drawin' us near

Ready for his storyin’ after grub
A fresh log cracklin’ in the stove
Me a sittin’ on my nearby bunk
Anticipatin’ this night’s story-trove

Red turned puttin' down his cell phone
A most unusual thing to see
Then asked Jake about his cowboyin’
And how it all came to be

Was he born on a ranch in Texas?
Or raised on a big spread in Idaho?
Maybe in some grass-roofed soddy
With wind a’blowin’ thirty below?

Nope, "It weren’t that way", he grinned
"I was born in a Chicago slum
I grew up on smog and concrete
A’ fightin’ with gangs and human scum"

But I’d seen pictures in books
So I dreamed of bein’ out west
I wanted to live there and cowboy
Not just visit like some duded guest

I didn’t just pray and dream however
Waitin’ for a horse under a Christmas tree
No Sir, didn’t sit around just a'wishin’
My dream would come runnin’ to me

I pored over everything 'bout cowboyin’
Devourin’ whatever I could read
Cattle and tackin’ and brandin' irons
Even studied a bunch on feed

At nineteen found my way into college
Had to work two different places
It took me more’n four long years
Muckin’ stalls out at the horse races

I studied hard on relevant subjects
Animal husbandry I was learnin’
Worked at the police equine unit
All while my degree I was earnin’

Put in a year fightin' in Viet Nam
But due to knowin' 'bout horsin' rules
Finagled into 1st Cavalry Detachment
Two years I worked horses and mules

So, yep, I learned to ride in a city
And to care for critters all day
But there was something unseen
That slipped in more’n just pay

Workin’ real hard for what you want
Is a lesson not taught in books
And y'all dang-sure know
I didn’t get here on good looks

Somewhere round about thirty
I pulled up stakes headin’ west
I musta’ asked at a hundred ranches
Before I got my first real test

Appreciatin’ that I was a good horseman
Those boys took me under their wing
They taught me ropin’ and ranchin’ skills
While confirmin' cowboyin' is king

Jake was dead serious when he spoke but
He gave us this pearl with light laughter
"Ain’t nuthin’ good ever been got boys
That weren’t a'gone out after"

By, Rik Goodell

© 2021

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