If you'd have lived and worked on Juno Ranch, you’d have come away better for it. It
may not have seemed like it at the time but Pancho (Uncle Frank) would put it to you, an’ it
was for you to decide to do it, what to do with it, or to fight. The motto was, “You either work
or fight, there ain’t no quittin’ on this-here ranch.”
Pancho cultivated a reputation as a living legend in his fifty-some years in the Devil’s
River country of the Texas frontier. He loved his life, family, work and felt plumb lucky to be
livin’ it. He believed there was art in every undertakin’ an’ practiced the highest standards in
dealin’ with any an’ all comers. He savvied horses, cattle an’ the land; and death was just the
gate that opened into higher pastures.
Ride 'em Pancho!
The cowboy wakes before each dawn
With blurry eyes n'a mournful yawn;
Gets breakfast down, just bacon'n eggs,
An' biscuits dunked in coffee dregs.
He feeds the stock some oats an' hay
In growin' light of break o' day.
Then Pancho comes an' rigs a hoss,
An' chews his butt, 'cause he's the boss.
“The sun is up, you little bride!
We're loosin' light! We gotta ride!”
So they ride out to make their rounds
In echoed clops of hoof-beat sounds.
The sun is high 'bout half-passed noon,
An' dinnertime is none too soon.
He eats his beans an' taters fast,
Then rolls a smoke an' rests at last.
He dreams of how he'll spend his pay
When he's in town on Saturday,
An' where he'll go to have some fun
With gals who'll laugh and call him, "Hun..."
He gets his hat an' pulls it down,
Forgets the dream of gals in town,
Cause if he ain't just damn near dead,
The work comes first on Pancho's spread.
An old cowpoke throwed his leg over the well-worn saddle horn,
And tilted back his ten-gallon hat that was sweat-stained and worn.
From his shirt pocket he took a Bull Durham tobacco pouch,
And with one hand made a roll-yer-own - at that he was no slouch!
"Son", he drawled, "I'd be much obliged if'n you'd lend me yer ears,
Whilst my hoss old Dan an' me take a break frum brandin' them steers.
You see, I've spent nigh on fifty years ropin' dogies an' fixin' fences,
Ridin' ever' day in rain, snow an' dust over these wild expanses!"
"I ain't never gonna git rich workin' fer fifty bucks a month an' chuck,
But I'm a helluva lot happier than them city fellers a-chasin' th' buck!
They jes' sits at their desks starin' at a computer screen ever' day.
I gits to see them mountains ever' day yonder across th' way!"
"Cowboyin' is hard an' dirty work an' I shore ain't in it fer th' pay!
I live in a rustic bunkhouse with six other fellers when I hits th' hay!
Durin' lightnin' an' thunderstorms I've had to calm th' restless herd,
An' I've drove 'em through ragin' blizzards 'til my eyes wuz blurred!"
"Well, I reckon I'd better git back to work a-fore th' boss gits on my back.
He's a purty square shooter but don't cut me a great deal uv slack!"
With that the weathered cowpoke said, "Giddy up!", gave the reins a jerk,
And the old cowboy and his faithful hoss Dan trotted back to work!
Robert L. Hinshaw, CMSgt, USAF, Retired
© All Rights Reserved
Placed No. 1 in Tirzah Conway's "A Cowboy Is" Contest - March 2011
Being the urban outlaw has its own rewards, especially when this vingilante-like person is helping the Marshall oficers capture the bad guys. It's just like a modern-day version of the Wild Wild West, except that the buildings (including the saloons) have closed down or whatever. When one of the urban outlaws are riding their horses into town, they're either greeted by the townsfolks or feared by them. What's so great about the urban outlaws in the Wild Wild West is that the cowboys are playing a lot of poker and drinking, but minus the alcoholic beverages, let alone whiskey. Everybody knows that the urban outlaws have their backs, especially when corruption rises in their towns. The urban outlaw has to abide the rules that society has handed to him, especially the townspeople. God only knows that cowboys and outlaws are either against each other or working together and stuff. All urban outlaws also love sleeping by campfires and riding their horses through the heated desert and by the riverbanks. Not only does the urban outlaw has a lot of adventures, even in the Wild Wild West, he also has the freedom to ride his horse anywhere, even in town. Those cowboys and outlaws should be very proud of themselves. But what is so great about being an urban outlaw most of all is when he's on the run from the bad guys who he had jailed, even better. Well, I guess that's how these people roll in the Wild Wild West. Right now, I find the cowboys, the urban outlaws, and the Wild Wild West very interesting, especially when he and/or she's outside of the city. It's also as if we're back in the year 1867. And if there are going to be modern-day urban outlaws and modern-day cowboys everywhere these people go, even in rual places like outside of Dallas and/or Albuquerque, that would be awesome for everybody, even me.
(French terms to know: arabesque (ar-a-besk) stand on one leg, other leg extended back
with knee straight, arms out; pirouette (peer-oo-et) a full turn of the body on the top of
the toe or the ball of the foot; releve' (rel-vay) rise up from the whole foot onto the
ball of the foot; demi plie' (dem-ee plee-ay) half bend of the knees; port de bras
(por-de-bra) continual movement of the arms through a series of positions; fouette
(foo-ay-tay) series of turns on one leg, the other leg extending rapidly to side and
whipping around body; glissade (glee-sade) a connecting sliding step
When corrals turn to mush
and all dirt roads are slush,
springtime has arrived at our place.
The challenge begins
since I'm sans webs or fins
to walk outside with upright grace.
I don my galoshes
and cov'ralls that washes
to feed stock that wait in the lots.
By the time I return
I will honestly earn
my decor of brown and green spots.
As I step in the slop,
my galoshes do flop,
as ankle-deep mud gets a grip.
In slow forward motion
I ease through this potion,
resisting the muck's pull to slip.
I feed several hay bales
and balance two grain pails,
while working my way through the soup.
But before I am through
I'll lose one boot or two
from suction of that muddy goop.
My foot's poised in the air
as I (gasp) balance up there.
I execute an arabesque,
a slow pirouette
so I shan't get all wet.
What I need is a chair or a desk!
My predicament here
since my boot is so near
is to turn it around in the slop.
My balance must hold
while my foot's in this mold
and fearing my body will drop.
A controlled releve'
and demi plie'
are more than my posture can stand.
A wild port de bras
while I desperately claw
finds me catching the ground with my hand.
I snap a fouette'
and turn the other way.
I manage a slippery glissade.
For it's not every day
you see Muck Dance Ballet--
just when ankle deep mud makes you wade.
Copyright Terry Henderson
I have a name for my husband. One that can be repeated. I call him cowboy. But
he tells me I am wrong. He never redeoed, nor a Saturday night cowboy was he.
And he was way to young for the cattle drives of history. Born on his father’s
homestead in Nebraska sandhill land. He started working full time on a ranch as
a lad of fourteen. All of the work they did back then was done with horses and
teams. True cars were around in ‘45, but tractors were hard to be found. So for 8
years he proudly worked on the famous 101 Nebraska ranch. In l9 hundred and
57 I started teaching up there. When my teaching job was done the cowboy and
the teacher became as one. I moved up the beautiful valley to the ranch where he
did work and don’t laugh I then became the cook. And while we worked we kept
our eyes and ears open for a ranch of our own. At last we were blessed with the
ranch of our dreams on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota Land.
OK, maybe he is right. Maybe a cowboy he's not. He is a mechanic, a
pediatrician, an obstetrician, a veterinary, a plumber (wells), a house keeper
(stalls), a blacksmith, a dietician, a truck driver, a farmer (crops), a carpenter
(corrals and maternity wards), a construction worker, a landscaper (fencing), a
teacher, a road grader (keeps roads oven year round), a hunter (hunts stray
critters), a trapper (beavers to keep our water ways open and skunks to keep our
sinuses working), a cowboy (cattle work), a welder, a rancher, a ranch hand, a
cowhand and a_______ I give, I give. He is a Jack of all Trades, but since his
name is Billy I can’t go around calling him Jack, so he will always be my cowboy
to me. P. S. he is definitely not a modern cowboy. No three wheelers, no
pickups, no motorcycles. He did his cattle work by horseback.