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No Routine Days

Teachin’ Without Words
May 3, 2022
Cowboyin’ On A Dime
May 14, 2022

Much more than the paycheck, the thing that has made the difference in my liking jobs I've had in my life, or not, has been the unusual daily encounters or challenges of the work - anything to break monotony or routine. The worst job this man could ever have would be on an assembly line where I'd be required to repeat the same, identical, mundane, boring task hour after hour, day after day and week afer week. I had one of those once. I had a real hard time getting out of bed in the morning. Let's just say it didn't last. I realize there are circumstances that will dictate a man's daily routine and I admire a man or a woman who does what it takes to feed his or her family. But as for me, I'd rather dig ditches, being confronted by rocks and roots, or move about muckin' stalls and handlin' manure, than be a robot - even if making twice the money.



No Routine Days


I'd just finished saddlin' up my sorrel
Mornin' sun was casting corral-rail shadows
I began wonderin' what this new day would bring
There were always some surprises heaven knows


Lookin' back on my years of cowboyin'
At a glance the days might look the same
But each day brought it's own curiosities
My job was bein' ready for what came


For example, out ridin' just last week
I came across a bear-mauled steer
Tracked that sow for hours but
Only saw her once, out above the weir


She was a good three hundred yards off
Way too far for my carbine
By the time I got over there
She was gone, lost up the brushy ravine


Or here's a pretty and fun surprise
One I 'spect I'll not likely forget
For some minutes I just sat in awe
And how it turned out I'll never regret


When scanning the horizon for strays
As I was driftin' some heifers last fall
A hundred yards off was a wild stallion
Skylined, standin' regal-proud and tall


Of course I wanted to catch him
So I started shakin' out a loop
When a voice inside me said, "Let him be
He'd likely only wanna die if cooped"


Some days the break in routine
Might be only something quite small
Maybe hearing one of the boys
In the bunkhouse beltin' out, "Cattle Call"


I believe that's one of the particular draws
To cowboyin' year 'round for your pay
There's just never anything close to
An assembly-line-boring, routine day


Whether cuttin', doctorin' and brandin'
Or ridin' fence or movin' a herd
I'll see new beauty in God's glory about me
Yesterday I heard a strange, new songbird


Here's an exciting break in routine
It happened several years ago
It was a lazy midsummer surprise
Work was caught up; things were slow


I was out just checking the pairs
When I came riding out of some trees
And surprised a couple rustlers
I shucked my carbine; told 'em to freeze


Hard to say who was more scared
I know it was far from what I'd been expectin'
But I guess some knee-jerk courage kicked in
Seein's them thieves were our cattle collectin'


They begged me not to shoot
I think they about wet their britches
No way were they gettin' away with this
I wasn't gonna' facilitate their riches


But the best workday surprise
I reckon I ever came across
Happened 'bout eleven years ago
When out huntin' strays with Boss


I was new to the Lazy K outfit
Hadn't figured the lay of all the land
But I happened on to a game trail
That had cow tracks in the sand


I rode that trail through narrow cliffs
'Til I had to dismount and walk
It opened to a hidden valley
Where I found seven head of our stock


It was as pretty as a heaven painting
With a blue stream a'gurglin' through
Surrounded by the greenest grass
With tall pines and willow trees too


So I drifted those cattle back to our range
After finding a wider, exit alley
Then went to the land office in town
And staked my claim on that hidden valley


Now that stroke of fortune
Into which I one day memorably rode
Is where I'm raisin' my own cattle and a family
It's the place of our everyday, blessed abode



by Rik Goodell
© 2022. All rights reserved


I am grateful to David Graham for, once again, allowing me to post his art alongside mine. If you do a search here on my website for "The Fencin' Crew", "The Cowboy Way", "Handles and Horse Thieves" or "Landed Legacy" you'll see more of his fine pieces. To see more of  his work, go to his website:

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