I took my periodic stroll through the local antique store today.
There were the usual horse collars, clocks and various sundries on display.
Havin' no need fer horse collars and sech, I quickly passed them by,
But a paintin' of an abandoned stagecoach really caught my eye!
The artist depicted it in a field overgrown with tumbleweeds and brambles.
It looked so very forlorn, its former glory now in a total shambles!
I contemplated this poignant scene and mused upon its past,
And how it may have helped conquer the western frontier so very vast!
I could picture the cranky driver a-cussin' and crackin' his leather whip,
Stingin' the ears of his cantankerous mules urgin' them on to a faster clip!
As they raced across arid deserts and rounded treacherous mountain curves,
How the passengers must've been jostled, gittin' on each others nerves!
I visualized the characters that old stage must've transported to the west!
There were gamblers seekin' suckers, concealin' ample aces in their vest!
Platoons of preachers clutchin' their Bibles were numbered 'mongst the hosts,
And young and innocent teachers were headin' west to teach at army posts!
Soiled doves, plyin' their trade, were headed fer sawdust saloons.
I wondered if the old stage had ever been sacked by outlaws and their goons.
I reckon the old derelict had earned its repose - its axles no longer squeal.
If only that old stage could speak! My oh my! The secrets it might reveal!
Robert L. Hinshaw, CMSgt, USAF, Retired
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