Wouldn't it be real tough to decide which of our four senses to give up if we were commanded we could only keep one? At first I chose to keep sight but then decided hearing music and the likes of Guy Penrod, George Strait and Kristyn Harris was not something to be discarded. Then I tried to imagine life not feeling the touch of my wife's hand on my arm in reassurance and companionship. What if I'd never taste tacos again or be able to smell my dogs ears? That's what sparked this, a series on my gratitude for the senses. Hearing got finished first but the other four will follow in due time.
Yancy and Red we're jawing one morning
Sipping coffee outside the barn on a bale
Red's eyes drifting around the barnyard
Mulling his eight-decades old trail
Horizon-staring, he said, "I'm an old man,
But listen Yancy, I've got somethin' to say
I need to speak about my gratitude
An' I might be tellin' it in a peculiar way"
"You see it only now occurred to me
This morning I'm grateful I can still hear
Because sounds have been happily etched
On my heart nigh on eighty-four year"
"I was just listenin' to some dove
Mournin' out his routine song
I've been takin' birds for granted Yancy
I'm sorry cuz that's been all wrong!"
"Think about it some Pardner
And I believe you too will find
Hearing has been a huge part of
Our lives that have been silver-lined"
"Just try to imagine a frosty mornin'
In which there is not a sound
But you know saddle skirts are creakin'
As you stirrup-step off of the ground"
“Or what about tinkling jingle-bobs
When the boys walk outta' the bunkhouse
Or the spatterin’, sizzlin' and hissin'
When campfire flames we'd douse”
"Oh and I love hearin' rainfall at night
After prayin' my soul to keep
Raindrops on the tin bunkhouse roof
So soothin' when I'm dozin' off to sleep"
"I was thinkin' of that cow-dog, Blackie
Who's forever barkin' at strangers
He often seems a dang nuisance
But I'd miss him not warnin' of dangers"
“I love horses snortin' in the mornin'
As they anticipate their day
Or the click of a hoof on stone
When a rider walks your way”
“Heavens Yancy! What would life be
If we couldn't listen to Fats' guitar pickin'
As Willy-Bob stomps around
In his goofy way of boot-kickin'?”
“Remember that short drive we made
It was outta' Three-Forks in eighty-eight?
All them coyotes howlin' mixed with
'The Cowboy Rides Away' by George Strait”
“I'll never forget on that same drive
Whenever Johnny was nighthawkin'
He'd croon the herd and me a'sleep
If he'd pause, I'd hear his horse walkin'”
“Of course there's hungry cows a'bellerin'
And the companionship of a cracklin' fire
Do you remember the sound of wind
As it sang across barbed-wire?”
“What if we couldn't hear prairie wind?
Honestly, I miss the old days Yancy
Remember the Sunday harness sounds
When we'd hitch up the carriage all fancy”
“The funny thing is, as I think on hearing
These days what seems to make noise most
Is my mornin' joints, poppin' complaints
When I'm still leaning on a bedpost!”
“Gonna get a mite sappy here old Friend
Cuz the tone that makes me most rejoice
What I'd miss worst of all if I couldn't hear
Is the stinkin’ sound of your raspy ol’ voice”
by Rik Goodell
© 2022. All rights reserved
I am grateful for the generosity of Raymond Wattenhofer in agreeing to allow me to post a copy of this painting alongside my work. See more of this artist's work at: