Out ridin' last week I came across
An old chuck wagon all broken down.
It brought to mind lively times past,
A'fore I had to move into town.
My eyes blurred a'ponderin'
A friend of mine who's passed.
We rode a cattle trail one year;
Forged a friendship that would last.
Ian MacKenzie was a larned man
Who'd been to college back east.
Bein’ proud o' somethin’ he called letters,
He come west to see the beast.
Fancied himself a journalist.
Doin’ a write up he called freelance.
Wanted to write a first hand story
‘Bout life with cattle an’ romance.
So he shows up right at roundup
And tells us of his need.
Said it would interest city folks,
In fancy parlors they would read.
The trail boss said, "C'mon along.
We'll drive the Chisolm Trail.
Abilene’s the railhead.
You’re bound to wanna bail.
'Course you'll have to pull your freight.
We’ll see if you’ll abide.
Don't 'spect you'll last til sunset.
Sure hopin’ you can you ride".
I was on the Yale equestrian team.
So, yes I can indeed.
I'll do whatever it is you ask.
I'll engage whatever you need.
The boss, he was a might skeptic.
Yet bein’ short a man or two,
He tells him, "Stash your gear,
I reckon you'll have t'do".
Days passed and they were long.
But the Scottish lad pulled his grit.
Boss worked him hard in dust at drag.
Long days in saddle he’d sit.
He never complained a doin’
Whatever he was entrusted.
We figgered he was writin' his story,
Too busy to be disgusted.
Fact is he was puredee silent.
He never spoke a word.
Sunset we gathered for storyin’
But he was not to be heard.
One night 'bout four weeks out,
When for chuck we gathered,
The Scotsman opened up.
Two hours nonstop he palavered.
"I'm a man of education.
Even studied some anatomy.
But I must say quite frankly
This drive's teachin’ stuff to me.
Did you know there's a spot between
Your backside and your front
Where bones sit right on saddletree?
All day they make me grunt!
It don't get better when I quit.
When I step down it ain't so pretty.
Who wants to see a grown man cry?
Ain’t said such fearin’ your pity.
Still don't rightly know the names
Of body parts I've discovered.
Suppose I need more formal schoolin’
To get technicalities uncovered.
We Scots are blamed for bein’ misers,
For pinchin’ ever’ wee penny.
But though it’s not widely known
T’was a rare thing I ever had any.
I came out here to write a story,
Earn a dollar romancin’ the west.
But what I've ended up with
Is an unexpected personal test.
There may be enchantment found
Out here in the beauty of the land.
Clearly there's fascination
In loyalty and ridin' for the brand.
There’s much to be highly boasted
Of the clean air we’re a’breathin’,
Of the pure water and free roamin’
And the cities behind we’re leavin’.
But what I've learned is unexpected.
To the endless horizon it's reachin’.
Y’lads freeze n’sweat for untold days.
Nay, it's me you've been a’teachin'.
There is a fine honed brotherhood.
It sits quiet but proud among you boys.
To have been accepted to the band
Is among m’life's greatest joys.
It’s been a rare time this ride
An' sure as my name is Ian
It’s certain I’ll look back t'days
Ridin' with y'all an' sightseein'’
I'll get on the train in Abilene.
I'll go east and write my story.
But m'heart will linger here out west
‘Midst real men an’ all God's glory".
By, Rik Goodell