By David De Jong
Workin’ part time at the local farm store; evenin’s, weekends, makin’ extra cash.
Quiet night, an old fella comes in; overalls, cane in hand, sportin’ a long mustache.
He’s a-wanderin’ all through the store; lookin’ – searchin’ – scopin’ each isle, scanin’ each shelf,
A friendly sort, easy to chat, I asked if I could lend a hand find it, or fetch it myself.
He chuckled and got a spark in his eye –
“Ain’t nothin’ I really need, – just passin’ by.”
He started to smile and I started to grin,
I could tell right away – there was sport in him.
I replied – straight faced as I could –
Eye to eye – right there as we stood;
“You looked a man on a mission”,
“I could tell by your looks, what you were wishin’,”
“I figured you to be lookin’”,
“For a cold beer and a hot woman.”
He just laughed and laughed until he nearly lost a button,
Raised his cane, stopped short, cocked one eye, and said – “Now yer talkin’!”
I could tell that fired up his memory, and soon some tales I’d hear,
But this one – this one is my favorite – this one right here:
I was a young buck like you once, he said,
Tall, handsome, hair long, and red.
Ridin’ for an outfit deep – deep in the west,
Drivin’ cattle, the old way, the horse way – heck-of-a test.
We’d been drivin’ for weeks, long, hot days,
Trail master sends me – me – out for strays.
So I ride each gully, and gather a herd,
Hot – dry – dusty – days hadn’t heard a word.
Daylight was fadin’, as I broke over a shallow hill;
Plain as day, my memory clearly sees that vision still.
It was an old stage station, nestled under a butte,
I walked in callin’ – “Just a cow-poke, no need to shoot!”
The closer I got to the door, the better it smelled.
Every few steps, just to make sure they heard me, I yelled;
“Been far too many a-day, ridin’ this trail,
Gettin’ a might thirsty, for a good brewed ale!”
I finally made it in, boots on wood, squeak in the door,
Dusted my hat, pulled off my chaps, laid em on the floor.
Kind woman at the counter said, “Welcome! – What’ll it be?” – With a mug under her arm,
I couldn’t help myself, so I started at the beginnin’, and spelled her, my whole yarn.
Told in detail each stray I collected, how the trail had been long, hot, and dusty,
If it weren’t for her, they’d found me over the ridge, probably dead, and all crusty.
She finally got tired of it, and said, – “Enough!” – “Tell me what’ll ya have, not where you’d been”,
I only meant to explain to her, that’s how I got wishin’, it prêt-near became a mission.
Hadn’t given any thought, what I’d say next, would make it hit the fan,
So I told her; “All I wanted now, was a cold beer, and a hot woman.”
I’d never seen a woman raise and cock a rifle that quick,
She had it done, and these words said, before I could lick;
“You dang fool this ain’t yer stop”,
“And this sure as heck, ain’t that sort of shop”;
“If it’s hot you want, well here I am”,
“Been cookin’ – cleanin’ – workin’ since early – dark – a.m.!”
“Got sweat runnin’ through my petticoat, down to my boots, I’m so blasted hot!”
“You get any wild ideas cowboy – I’ll kill ya – just – one – shot!”
I nearly busted my stitches, started laughin’ so hard,
Done offended her, in her home, on her own yard.
I begged her forgiveness, and said “I meant no harm” –
“Just foolin’ around – jokin’ – tryin’ out my charm.”
She finally eased up, and poured me that beer,
Fed me some; potatoes, corn, and fresh skinned deer.
For some reason, my horse, always wandered that way.
Each time I’d visit, I’d hardly wait to say;
“Been ridin’ this hot, dusty trail for might long spell”,
“I’m just a cow-poke – don’t shoot!” – I’d yell.
She’d call back; – “Where ya’ll been, and what’ll it be?”
I’d smile and tell her, “Cold beer for my horse, and a hot woman for me!”
The stages are gone, but the cabin still stands, just under that butte,
I’m sure happy she waited, and didn’t just shoot;
Raised a family there, now all teachers, preachers, and docs,
I married that woman, hot in her boots, down to her socks.