As he road along astride his mount,
the rain came pouring down.
He sat his saddle in silence,
and his horse made not a sound.
He was just an old cowboy,
who's body ached with pain;
And, silently beneath his breath,
he cursed the pouring rain.
As he tightly held his slicker,
his mind raced back in time;
And he wondered what the future held,
for all those of his kind.
He'd been a cowboy all his life,
it was a good life that he'd had;
It was the life that he had chosen,
while he was still a lad.
When he was twelve, he'd been given the job,
of breakin' some old wild hoss.
He was bound, and determined to ride him,
and show him who was boss.
And ride him he did, after several falls,
but he always got back on;
All day he rode him, and finally broke him,
just before the light was gone.
And, since that day, he'd been hooked,
Cowboyin' was his life;
And because of the lonely life he lived,
he'd never known a wife.
Just a scarlet lady now and then,
when he'd sometimes ride to town;
Once a month he'd always go there,
just to kinda fool around.
Sometimes he thought he might of missed somethin'
by not having a family and a wife;
But hell, who had time for things like that,
while livin' a cowboys life?
His mind searched out all these things,
while ridin' back to his line shack.
He'd trusted his horse to find the way,
and just tried to stay on his back.
For he could not see a thing,
through the dark and pourin' rain;
But, he knew his horse would find the way,
and take him home again.
He remembered many things,
and he wondered what it all meant;
I guess you could say he was happy,
with the way his life had been spent.
Just the other day he'd told a young puncher,
the why's, and where‑for's of living;
To always ride honest, tall in the saddle,
and never feel weak for giving.
Cause givin' to folks, and caring for them,
is what our Maker intended for us to do;
And, when things got tough, just cowboy‑up,
ride tall, straight, and true.
It was three days later that his comrade found him,
lying dead there on his back;
It appeared that he'd crawled for about a mile,
then died, ten feet from the door of his shack.
In reading the signs, they seen he'd been thrown,
back yonder where lightning had split a tree;
His horse had shied, and he'd been unsaddled,
the fall had broken his knee.
But, he'd cowboyed‑up, and he'd tried,
clean up to his last breath.
It was the cowboy way, to never give up;
as he desperately battled with death.
The young cowboy he'd spoke to stepped down from his saddle
and as he squatted next to the old man;
His eyes showed the strain of heartache and sadness,
as he gently held the old cowboys hand.
He quietly spoke; you could hardly hear him;
as he said, "Good‑by ol' hero of mine'.
I'll take your advice; I'll ride tall in the saddle;
if I'm lucky, I might be just one of your kind.
Robert C. Cline
May 12, 1995