by Yvonne Hollenbeck

When the banker pays a visit
to check your inventory,
the way he figures assets
is quite a different story
than the values placed upon them
by the one who sells insurance;
and if those two would switch their jobs,
it’d really make a difference.

The first thing that the banker does
is want to claim your land.
He says it isn’t worth too much,
but on the other hand
he needs it for security
’cause the cattle market’s down,
but he can’t loan you cash on it,
’cause it is only land.

The value of your cattle
is the price the packer pays;
your machinery isn’t worth a darn,
it’s seen its better days.
You can’t borrow on your good old horse,
you can’t borrow on your wife;
your house ain’t worth a tinker’s damn,
and neither is your life.

But here comes your insurance man,
he sings a different song.
He says your horse is worth a lot!
You knew that all along.
He says you need a policy
just in case it meets its fate,
and you’d better get a big one
on your kind and loving mate.

He says, “She’s worth a million
if you figured up the cost
of hiring folks to do her work;
without her you’d be lost.
And if lightning hit some cattle,
the loss would be immense;
heck, you’ve got a hundred thousand
in just windmills, tanks and fence.”

When that agent finished tallying,
it looked like we were wealthy;
the way he figures assets
make your finances look quite healthy.
So, I hope you see my point of them
switching jobs, you see
‘cause if bankers sold insurance,
not very much there’d be,

But if insurance agents started
making agriculture loans,
we’d all be driving brand new cars
and living in new homes.
We’d be looking pretty prosperous
and live a rich man’s life
and instead of buying life insurance,
you’d just mortgage one good wife!

© 2012, Yvonne Hollenbeck
This poem should not be reprinted or reposted without permission

Popular cowboy poet and champion quilter Yvonne Hollenbeck includes this poem in her recent book, Rhyming the Range, and a CD by the same name. Both collect her original poems about her life on the ranch. The book includes the most requested poems from her two out-of-print books and all of her newest poetry.

In coming months, find Yvonne at the Western Folklife Center’s 34th annual National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada, January 29-February 3, 2018 and the 32nd annual Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Alpine, March 2-3, 2018.

March 20-24, 2018 she’ll be at Pigeon Forge’s Mountain Quiltfest in Tennessee. She and Jean Prescott will present programs, including Yvonne’s trunk show, “Patchwork of the Prairie,” along with poetry and music. Yvonne’s family collection of 40 quilts spans 140 years and includes her own prize-winning works. Yvonne’s fellow ranchwife and celebrated quilter, Vi Colombe, will also be at Quiltfest.

Yvonne is featured in the multiple award-winning Everything in the Song is True, Doug Morrione’s award-winning feature-length documentary film “of four iconic western characters” (Gary McMahan, Yvonne Hollenbeck, Brice Chapman, and Greg Nourse). Find more about the film at and on Facebook.

Find Yvonne’s complete schedule, which includes quilting events and more, at Find more of Yvonne Hollenbeck’s poetry at

This is a photo of the Hollenbeck’s South Dakota ranch, where Yvonne and her champion calf-roper husband Glen raise cattle and quarter horses.