Silver screen brought glamour and fame to cowboys

The Silver Screen brought glamour and fame to the cowboy way life. 

These cowboys, like Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, and The Lone Ranger were always neat, starched, and clean. No matter how dusty, hot, or cold, they always looked like they just stepped out of church! Their horses never become tired and their guns had an endless supply of bullets. And, unless they rode off into the sunset, they always got the prettiest girl in town. Plus, the good guys always won! 

At least that was the view from the public eye, which was glued to the matinee screen in the local movie theatre on a Saturday afternoon. However, down at the coffee shop, you would find a number of fellers blowin’ their coffee to cool it enough to drink. 

They might need a shave and a haircut, their shirt was a bit wrinkled, and their ol’ hat was crushed in just the manner that they desired. They didn’t wear a gun, but they could shoot and you could bet the gun in their pick-up was fully loaded. 

Most of them had a good horse, though it might have some age and their saddles showed signs of hard use. They were the kind that would ride for the brand and each one had a pride in the work they were a part of. They understood livestock, had respect for the land and the weather, and had their pardners back. Oh, they would give the girls at the Saturday Night dance, a good whirl and might be brave enough to see her safely home, though they never had much to say when it come to sweet talk. 

They had no qualms about making a hand if the odds needed evening up when fisticuffs broke out!   But they are not slackers when daylight comes and they ride out facing a full day no matter what kind of weather nor how many aches and pains might be ailing them. The silver screen cowboys are entertaining, but real world cowboys will make a hand!


Makin’ A Hand

The sun popped up over the eastern horizon,

Finding us saddled and ready,

We’d already had chow an’ strong hot coffee,

The work that day would be steady.


They was the usual jawin’ an’ gripin’,

The day had broke hot an’ dry,

It would take us a spell to get to the work,

So we would make the dust fly.


Today, we would gather cattle in the Creek Pasture,

About ten mile from the home place,

A country choked with Mesquite brush an’ Prickly Pear,

Them wild cows would give us a chase.


But we had brought along  ol’ Krushchef an’ Nipper,

They’d roust them cows from that brush,

‘Course we had miles to go an’ a creek to cross,

So we paced ourselves, not in a rush.


Pap was the cow boss an’ planned for us to keep up,

An’ we’d shore best do our job,

We was just young’uns but was expected to work,

Some days, ‘twas rougher than a cob.


Well sir, Pap sent us to ride the outside circle,

Roustin’ critters towards the pen,

Dodgin’ Prickly Pear while Mesquite limbs slapped our face,

Them dogs just raisin’ a din.


Some of them rangy mossbacks tried to double back,

But the dogs were wise to their tricks,

Nippin’ at their heels, the dogs soon changed their minds,

An’ thus got in their licks.


I’m comin’ to help when my horse broke in half,

Wild eyed he took off in a run!

But I held his head up an’ soon he calmed down

‘Twas hot in that swelterin’ sun,


We found my pardner, tryin’ to hold the line

Shakin’ his ol’ fist at me,

“I had ‘em tight but you had to put on a show,

Then slapped his hat on his knee.


I’ve got ‘em calmed down, I reckon he’ll be steady now,

Just a bit green, but he’s okay,

He’s comin’ right along, doin’ fine I allow,

This horse will finish the day!


We circled back to fill in that gap where he’d got spooked,

He’d prove that he had the sand,

We finished the day without a bobble one,

Mister, he shore made a hand,


We held the line, though a rogue or two made their try,

The dust just boilin’ at the work,

Pap would do the tally while Jake drug them in,

Not everyone got this perk.


Buster had broke into a sweat holdin’ that calf,  

Which was shore tryin’ to break free

But Bart notched his ear, while Slim came with the hot iron,

Burned on the Quarter Circle C.


We held ‘em an’ pushed ‘em in the heat an’ the dust,

‘Til we had worked every one,

Then we pushed ‘em to water an’ shade of the creek,

They pert near went on the run.


Time to head in, we was wore down to a nub,

Dreamin’ of coffee an’ chow,

It was a good day, tomorrow we do it again,

‘Cuz it shore beats follerin’ a plow!

© Ol’ Jim Cathey    


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