Hello, it’s Charley again. Back in the saddle here at the blog while the owner is on vacation. Lucky me. He gets to eat turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes while I sit in my quarters trying to clean out the crumbs in my keyboard. No, I’m not going to eat the crumbs.
I’m going to take this opportunity to do something that this blog hasn’t done before, which is to print something interesting. Obviously it’s about cowboys. No one writes much about cowboys any more, because (as Neil Young noted) there just ain’t many of us left.
The reason is, cowboys can’t make a living wage these days. As The Oregonian reported: “Hired livestock workers earn a little over $10 an hour, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In eastern Oregon, ranchers prefer to pay day wages — $100 to $150 — for buckaroos who provide their own pickups, horses and herding dogs.”
Times may be tough for cowboys, but then they always have been. You may think that all we do is dude up and meet pretty women (click the image for details) but you would be as wrong as a six-legged mule. And that is pretty damn wrong — just ask the mule.
Some of my old friends have taken to writing poems about the cowboy life. One of them is a South Dakotan about my age, Kip Sorlie:
“My life requires purpose, something more important than myself. With my children gone, I found purpose once again in cowboy verse. It is an honest, straight-forward handshake with honest, straight-forward people who, even if they do not live the life style, carry the values with great pride. It is for them that I hope to be, at least partially, successful.”
Here’s a humble man who doesn’t carry on and swagger. We need fewer cowboys in the White House and more of them doing what they do best, wrangling and writing poetry.
I swear this tale is true! But I've embellished it, As storytellers do To make the pieces fit! Of men who lived this tale, Two have long departed. The third awaits a trail, The fourth has not started. A son may sometimes spurn A dad, too proud to hope. But in the end they learn From withered, weathered rope. The first rope wagoned in Was fated on to me. It's tied to where I 've been And where I hope to be. -- Epilogue to "Rope" by Kip Sorlie, from "Cowboys Are The Magic" Hardcover volume is available for $30 postpaid from: Kip Sorlie, 24327 446th Ave., Winfred, SD 57076
Happy Thanksgiving to all my virtual pardners. See you on the trail — Charley