Poetry, musings, reflections, life

Archive for the month “August, 2015”

Me and My Friend Ben

This post is slightly different than most of my writings. As it says on my blog, I offer writings that contain poetry, short stories and other musings about life’s adventures. A few years back, I decided I would venture into the poetic world of “cowboy poetry”. I could fool myself into thinking I was a part of “the old west”, relive a time that has always been in my dreams. I have somewhat an envious position for those who live that lifestyle today. Of course, I am confident the reality of those times was not nearly as adventuresome as has been depicted in the books and movies. Nevertheless, it is a part of my makeup.

Born and raised in Texas I have an affinity for cowboys, not that all Texans have such an understanding; however, I grew up in an era that idolized the character. For me, there was nothing like riding horses all day long, chasing outlaws, rescuing the fair damsels in distress or helping out the rancher whose property was about to be taken from him by some evildoer.

Please bear in mind; I never did any of these things. But I wanted to.  In actuality, I got most of my information from old western comic books and Saturday matinees. Now these many years later, I still get goose bumps when I turn on the old western movies and transform myself into the character on screen. As Willie Nelson sang, “My heroes have always been cowboys”, I relate to that.

With that in mind, I wanted to post a  poem about a cowboy and his friend. It seems to transport me back to those days. Perhaps it may strike a chord with you.

Please understand, it is does not rank even close to the class of a “Baxter Black” or a “Red Steagall”, two of my favorite cowboy poets.

Me and Ben in the Summer of 1873

I laid my old friend Ben into his final rest,
Out here on the Texas plains, in the land he loved best.
We rode together for nigh on all his born years.
old cowboys ain’t s’posed to break down in tears.

There was times when we didn’t know no fear
Just me and Ben, on the wild frontier.
We’d brushed up against the wild Comanche
Late in the summer of sixty-three

We lived through that skirmish with a wing and a prayer
Got out of their way not a minute to spare.
I’m thinking those Indians misunderstood
but we outran their ponies as fast as we could.

We put up with sandstorms pitch darker than night
Got burned up in the noonday light
stormed over by rain clouds unleashing their wrath
and blinded by snowstorms covering our path

Outran the red wolves and jumped over snakes
We did all we could, what ever it takes.
We dodged all those tumbling tumbleweeds
Roaring cross the plains, scattering their seeds.

we chased after outlaws who picked the wrong side
tracking them lawbreakers with no place to hide
sometimes we disagreed about which way to go
most times, we went the way the winds blow.

We’ve crossed over the Pecos near Monahans
near by where Old Fort Stockton stands.
we rode by Fort Phantom Hill near Abilene
And all parts of Texas, most folks ain’t never seen.

But late in the summer of eighteen seventy-three
Old Ben slipped on his old bad knee.
He came down hard and his heart gave way
He died on the prairie right where he lay.

I miss the old days when we rode together,
me and my friend, in all kinds of weather.
but as sure as the blood flows down through my veins
Old Ben surely is riding ‘cross heaven’s plains

I ain’t no preacher speaking with no preacher’s goal
but some say that animals are born with no soul
I ain’t so sure that notion withstands the test
I’m thinking old Ben must surely be blessed.

                                         I’m wondering if heaven would really be heaven                                                                                 for a cowboy without his dear horse?                                     Cowboy

Poodle Home Security

So during the past few months, I have had a tooth pulled, finished the 3rd chicken coop, gone through cataract surgery, (hooray, my vision is excellent), experienced flooding from the May rains, (now back to the August drought), and gained a new resident, (not counting all the chickens that come and go). I have much for which to be thankful.

In the meantime, I got behind on my writing. Not having the ‘muse’ sitting on my shoulder, I must take action and determine a subject for another fine piece of literature. Then it comes to me, I mean literally, he comes to me. Apollo, our Standard Poodle, places his head in my lap, looks at me with his big eyes and says, “Write about me, Dad”. He calls me Dad through the voice of the “Rancherette”.

Apollo firmly believes himself to be the dominant character in this household. He has rules, his rules. Several years ago, he became a business owner. He established Poodle Home Security. He is the CEO and the lead investigator. He is quite adapting at fending off the UPS and/or FedEx drivers. He allows no cars to enter our driveway unnoticed. The weekly refuse truck should not tarry long or perhaps suffer the consequences. He wards off squirrels, bunny rabbits, gophers, etc., which threaten us from time to time in our yard. Even evil spirits are subject to his menacing bark. Occasionally, when the cattle in the pasture across the road begin to chase their food truck, he hurries them along. And, we always know the comings and goings of our neighbors.

Once a day, he makes his rounds in the back yard. He checks his PeeMail, for messages, and replies if necessary.

PeeMailHe also inspects the kennel dogs and their surroundings, much like a drill sergeant with his recruits. He is constantly barking orders. Some recruits are a bit more stubborn than others are. This only increases his authoritative nature.
He alerts us to storm threats, issuing warnings of severe thunderstorms and comforts the “Rancherette” when there is lightning followed by thunder. Yes sir; we have the finest Poodle Home Security money can buy. Life could not get any better, or so Apollo thinks.
Enter his new trainee, Alfie the Airedale. So named for she looks like Alf, the alien from the TV series in the late ‘80’s. Notice the eyes.

AlfAlfie the Alf

Unbeknownst to Apollo, he is going to have to work overtime to shape this “recruit” into a lean fighting machine. She already has one strike against her. She is not a Poodle. That can be assuaged as long as she takes her training seriously. I dare not forget, Apollo is an  equal opportunity employer.He does not discriminate when it comes to hiring.  However, if she expects to wear a detective badge for Poodle Home Security, she must immediately realize this is serious stuff. The offenders that drift into Poodle Home Security territory do not necessarily have treats in their pockets. They do not have squeaky toys under their arms. Not everyone she meets will come bearing gifts.

She does have the ability to keep the little Silkie chickens in line, as long as they stay on their side of the fence. That is fortunate, a good first step. However, I’m thinking that the Silkies do not pose any threat to the Rancher or “Rancherette”. She is also good at urging the lawnmower along, digging holes, and chewing doorposts or any other inanimate object that gets in her way.
She is smart, already learning from Apollo that water tastes better with ice cubes in it. Not bad for a rookie. She has quickly become adept at frisking pockets. In case you have something in there that is not allowed, like doggie treats, she will promptly confiscate any items not allowed. Occasionally, for training purposes, certain objects are left in the bark of trees and other locations for her to find. She is very good at searching out those items. I might add, they smell like cheese and her smeller is superb. However, I think Apollo must work with her on her attention span. She has so much to learn before taking her place in the barking order.

I have heard that when life deals you lemons, you should make lemonade. I am not a lemonade aficionado; however, I suppose I could learn. I can use rainwater to make the stuff if it ever rains again. That is, if Alfie hasn’t stolen the lemons. We probably should have done a background check before “hiring” her. Apollo, you still have work to do. Poodle Home Security 2

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