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Comin’ Round
January 16, 2023
Velvet, Sugar n’ Spice
January 20, 2023

The challenges of men understanding women are legendary. It’s taken me a lifetime of work (and some neglect on occasion) to begin to get even a touch handy at female communication. That may sound daunting but let me simply override that concern by saying it’s sure been worth it!

Readin’ Girl-Sign

Tommy had come out from Kentucky
Seeking adventure and his test
He was learnin' cowboyin' and such
His journey; becomin’ a man of the west

Presently he was workin’ a Texas spread
Gatherin' and brandin’ stray, wild beeves
For twenty-five dollars a month
Occasionally fendin’ off cattle thieves

The hard work came easy to him
For he'd cut his teeth splittin' rails
Buildin’ strong fence and shoulders together
His hands hard-calloused right down to his nails

Tommy was still a few months shy
Of his birthday when he'd turn eighteen
But he was man-growed and latigo-tough
There weren't much work he hadn't seen

But he never really could read girl-sign
Girls were strange and without commonsense
Yet he fancied the rancher's daughter some
Strugglin’ him ‘tween intrigue and defense

They’d exchange the occasional talk
Tommy mostly stumblin' each word
Debbie could twist his speech in a knot
Such that somethin' quite different was heard

Mostly when talkin’ to Tommy
Debbie sounded angry for no reason
She’d yell at him, even criticize a help
‘Specially when he’d tried to be pleasin’

Tommy had offered her posies one time
As she returned to the ranch from her ride
She was caught off-guard, blind-sided
Sniffin’ the petals she yelled at him then cried

On one occasion when chatting
Tommy, frustrated, said she was worse than Sue
“Oh, so you've got a sweetheart then?”, she asked
Quickly he retorted, "No, that ain't true!"

One hot August day out pleasure ridin’
She was accosted by two bullies with a knife
The look in their eyes was scary evil
In terror she screamed fear for her life

“Now we ain't gonna hurt you none missy”,
The fat one drawled in disgust
“You just relax and come on over here
Give me and ol' Slim some trust”

“I'll do no such thing”, she whimpered
Trying vainly to not act scared
Fighting back tears and panic
As Slim drooled and stared

As Fatso reached for her reins
He stopped short hearing a click
Of a carbine being cocked back
Out of nowhere his gut fell sick

"That's right", Tommy's voice rang out
"Back away from that girl careful like
And if you hope to see another sunrise
You two'd best be takin' a hike"

“You don't ever want to see me again
So you need to be lightin' a shuck
Next time you'll never hear my Winchester cock
I recommend not pressin' your luck”

They galloped off like greased lightnin'
Dismountin’, Debbie ran to Tommy's side
He apologized for talkin' rough 'round her
Sayin’ rude behavior he just can't abide

Debbie gazed up through tears at Tommy
Not hiding the admiration in her eyes
She was done being coy and difficult
Admitting now, that she'd been unwise

"Did you like Sue an awful lot?"
Debbie asked, hugging his hand tight
Tommy didn't answer back quick
His heart still a'pumpin' from the fight

"Well sure I did", Tommy finally replied
"For more'n a year I've missed her
Not that it's any of your business
But Sue? Well, she's my pesky kid sister"

by Rik Goodell
© 2023 All rights reserved

Thank you Gregory Mayse for once again providing your excellent artwork to accompany my poetry.

To see more of Mr. Mayse's work, visit his website:

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