Son, would you tuck in your shirttail
Was something often heard
At home when I was a youngster
With harsher action inferred
My otherwise kind hearted Mother
Had shirttails as a pet peeve
That boys were just naturally sloppy
Was something she wouldn't believe
It didn't seem to matter
That action was big in my plan
Like building a fort or a tree house
Or a game of kick the can
As long as my trouser tops covered
The tail of my shirt complete
Dear Mother seemed quite contented
And smiled at her son so neat
But catching fly balls and gophers
Are surely not meant I'd say
For shirttails tucked in and tidy
From the start to the end of a day
Well now that I'm older I smile
Each time I check my belt line
And straighten my shirt without thinking
Like a habit that's learned over time
Some Mothers have talent for teaching
Their lessons to boys of school age
Who think that neatness can't happen
'Till life's reached a much older stage
You see my reflex for shirttails
Was taught by a Mother with grace
Who sewed to each shirttail bottom
Two inches of fancy pink lace!
or tired love?
and weak games
Look at you!
Your such a lame!
Me cry?! Ha! Not no more!
Five point five years
What a joke?!
All you do is lie
Keep smoking your life away!
Wake up before its too late!
Before this love turns into hate!
Your too old to act this way!
Your too comfortable
You cant stay!
In my life!
In my way!
Goodbye to you!!!
You see that man over there
sitting stern faced in his chair?
Look closer, see that twinkle in his eye?
That's a glimpse of softness that you spy
You see that woman laughing there
dancing eyes & witty air?
Look closer, see the iron & grit?
That's a glimpse of strength, wrapped like a gift
They made me who I am today
tightened the reins when I went astray
The calming center in a teenage storm
The home fires that still keep me warm
He gave me the gift of discipline & control
She is the sunshine that fills my soul
He taught me young of the cowboy ways
She set my passion for words ablaze
He taught me to be fair & just
She showed me kindness was a must
He showed me how to draw respect
She taught me to rely on humor & intellect
A parent must first be your teacher
sometimes judge, jury & preacher
Their wisdom guided me in my youth
They guide me still, to tell the truth
(c) August 2003
Young Cowboy On The Battlefield
Remembered His Mama’s Words
‘Just Make It Home, Son …’
Her Voice Echoed, As He Heard …
Rapid-Fire and Revolution
Missiles, Right and Left
Bomb-Blasts and Confusion
… and Silent Tears, He’s Wept
… Every Day, A Minefield
Every Night, A Raid
Every Moment, A Terror
Trying to Make Him Afraid …
Any Second, A Horror
Of A Buddy, Laid To Rest
Every New Tomorrow
Wondering, What’s Next ?
The Cowboy On The Battlefield
Vigilant and Brave
Stood Ramrod Tall and Terse …
Looking At Her Grave …
‘Just Make It Home, Son … ‘
… Echoed Thru His Brain
‘Just Make It Home, Son …’
… Echoed Thru The Rain
And Just Before She Was Laid To Rest
She Said, ‘Just Make It Home, Son …’
And With Those Last Words, She Blessed,
And Said, ‘I’ll Be Waiting, When You Come …’
* * * *
… Old Cowboy, On The Battlefield
Remembers His Mama’s Words
‘Just Make It Home, Son …
… and We’ll Celebrate Our Return …
Of Note: In The Words Of A Lady Rocker,
Pat Benatar: ‘Love Is A Battlefield’
(but I Say, 'Life Is A Battlefield'
T-Bone was our camp cook
when we went on the trail,
whiskered an' b-grizzled
with a wit that never failed.
He took no guff from anyone,
not even the boss man,
'cause he controlled his eaten too
when he rattled those tin pans.
He made bakin' powder biscuits
'n beans most ever' day,
an' swore the meal was hardy
an' kept hunger pains away.
He always brewed black coffee,
you could cut it with a knife,
an' had a squaw he took along,
he claimed she was his wife.
We'd cross wide open prairie
an' ford the ragin' stream,
while T-Bone would maneuver
that bedraggled two-mule team.
Chuck wagon, he kept well supplied,
not only with our grub,
but also with some medicines,
liniments, an' rub.
He allowed we tie our horses
to the wagon wheels to eat,
if we was still on duty,
an' not long upon our feet.
That cook was most obligin'
in the middle of a storm,
he'd break out extra blankets
just to try an' keep us warm.
Sometimes we'd get to teasin'
an' call him Mother Hen,
'cause he always was a fussin'
an' keepin' track a men.
They say ol' T-Bone's mother
was a barroom girl from town,
an' he never had no daddy,
at least, none come around.
But he musta had some learnin'
'bout the good Lord up above
'cause our cooky was a Godly man
that filled his heart with love.
We laid the man to rest today
an' many tears was shed,
'cause ever'one loved T-Bone,
an' hate the fact he's dead.
On those cool summer evenings when coyotes haunt the night
And the campfire is dying—burning low, then flaring bright,
A cowboy plays harmonica while others sing and hum
While down by the chuck wagon a lonely guitar does strum.
A few pokes like Lon Stonecipher stare silent at the fire,
Imagining old friends and folks in times both dear and dire.
Lon sees and talks to faces that flicker in gold flames—
He asks them of the weather—remembers all their names.
“There’s Delton and Rosella, old Burlin and Rob Alcorn,
There’s that sweet Renata Robins that kissed me one June morn.
There’s Cal Shirlo and Spud Scanlon, that both died in the war,
And Addie Belle from Abilene that said she’d love no more.”
Cowpokes yawned and nodded—on this wild words did not dwell—
They knew the man he used to be, but this was just his shell.
The faces in the fire gave him comfort and offered hope,
They were his last salvation—without them he could not cope.
Lon stared into the fire for many hours before sleep—
His rest was fitful, frenzied—never calm, peaceful or deep.
And often he’d awake and gaze mournfully once again
Into those glowing embers in search of friend or kin.
“I can see my last saddle pal, young Mathew Leatherwood
And a Dodge City gambler that I shot right where he stood.
I see my dear grandmother and my sister Anna Lee—
My grandpa and brother Jim, who died at the age of three.”
The fire burned low and so did Lon out on that prairie bow,
But this was as it always was, at least until just now.
“I see you, ma—I see you, pa—your faces smile at me,”
So said old Lon one last time, drifting upon a prairie sea.
They buried Lon Stonecipher right out on that cold, dark land—
And right beside him built a blaze as hot as they could stand.
Then they watched the flames dance, and stared long into that pyre,
And to this day some still swear, Lon’s face was smiling in that fire.