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Life on the Cowboy Fringe

Daddy’s Blessings
September 7, 2021
In Praise of Bees
September 21, 2021

Life on the Cowboy Fringe

Had a gent stop me on the street last week
Askin' about Cowboys, boots and such
‘Said he’s no cowboy so he don't wear the hat
Cuz he respects real cowboys too much

He offered that I must be a real cowboy though
Sayin' I looked the real deal
That started me in examinin' myself
Which I do most honestly when I kneel

I don’t believe the man meant any harm
In fact he was respectfully admirin'
But it sure got me to thinkin’
What is wearin' a hat and boots requirin'?

Told him I ain't no real cowboy
If you measure the term in daily work
I don't spend my days with a pony and cows
Truth is I've spent my life in "Cowboy-Lurk"

I don't live in a drafty bunkhouse
With only a few possessions to my name
I can get in to town most any day
Don't need to tell some boss to why I came

But you can honestly use the word "cowboy"
In a sentence to describe my name
So long as you follow "cowboy" with "poet"
Since bein' a Cowboy Poet I proclaim

I’ve worked 'longside rodeo cowboys
Also churched with quite a few
I’ve spent many months on ranches
Gettin’ knocked around while I grew

I've even ran my own small spread once
Did the cow-calf thing a few years
But it wasn't ever how I earned my keep
Never really toiled mid workin' cowboy peers

Does it make me a poseur by clothing in
Pressed Wranglers and fine cowboy boots?
I've dressed that way since a pup
Cowboy wannabe is in my roots

Truth is I've lived more'n seven decades
Most of it out on the Cowboy Fringe
I don't dress cowboy the way I do
In some fool effort to impinge

I've done my share of cowboy work
I'm no stranger, for example, to brandin'
I can ride, mend fence and doctor cows
Though you wouldn't tag me outstandin'

It's true, I don't wrestle all day
With leather sacks all filled with dumb
I don't bake in sun or freeze into a wind
And no I never learned to ropin' some

But I've done lots of the cowboy tasks
And ain't even a little bit shy
When it comes time for hard workin'
You just holler an' I'll dangsure try

So is that enough to qualify
For not bein' an imposter?
How much cowboyin' would a feller do
Before scorin' high on the hat and boot roster?

If you want to speak to principles
And respectin' the cowboy code
Yes ma'am, that's exactly who I am
I'm reapin' those seeds that I've sowed

If bein' a cowboy poet isn't enough
Authority to dress the way I incline
How 'bout we just relax and say
I’m projectin’ these humble heroes of mine

Who're fighting against a rising tide
Of ugly change within our culture
Cowboys are the last remnant
Defending against the anti-American vulture

So let's not get all riled about
What some ol' coot will choose
To cover up his ugly old hide
Don’t jump to concludin’ it’s a ruse

Before we go half-cocked judgin'
Someone’s creds or cowboy attributes
We might wanna spend some time
In their well worn cowboy boots

by Rik Goodell

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