photo by Stuart Johnson
YOU CAN LEARN A LOT FROM A COWBOY
by Andy Nelson
“Now boarding flight 63 to Denver,”
Is what the flight attendant said;
I grabbed my duffle, dumped out my coffee,
Hoping to be one place ahead.
But then she said,
“Only members of the Pompous and Privileged Club first;”
Then they loaded the first-class passengers,
It turns out, that wasn’t the worst.
They were loading the plane from front to back,
Which assures the thing I always dread;
The guy with the “too-large-to-carry-on,”
Smacks everyone else in the head.
As I walked by whacking all that I passed,
I thought, common ev’ryday folk
could learn a few things from the western world,
Especially from a cowpoke.
Stock-haulers know how to load up a rig,
They do it from nose, back to the door;
The other way, you can’t get them all in,
I don’t need to say anymore.
A packer can help you pack for your trip,
And do it with nary a glitch;
Pack lean and light and then balance your load,
Tie it with a nice diamond hitch.
Need a mani-pedi before you go?
A farrier’s the guy to pick;
He’ll only twitch you if you don’t behave,
And won’t even get in the quick.
A rawhide braider is right for the job,
With pigtails for the well-traveled;
He will braid them up most perfect and tight,
And they’ll never come unraveled.
If turbulence scares or makes you get sick,
Bronc riders can help you lick that;
A riggin, some rosin, and a thick leather glove,
Will keep you right where you’re sat.
Cowboy advice ain’t just for traveling,
It helps with a wide range of chores;
Some Utah hobbles to ground tie your horse,
Can be used to hold up your drawers.
Need bodywork on a dent in your car?
Let a rancher address your claim;
A couple of whacks with his sledge hammer,
And then both sides will look the same.
Can’t back a truck and a trailer up straight?
A teamster can show how it’s done;
Need someone to give your Shih Tzu a shave?
A sheep shearer’s prob’ly the one.
A blacksmith can save on your home decor,
With some horse shoe hangers and art;
Need assistance with landscaping duties?
A goatherd could give a head start.
There’s lots to be learned from cowboys each day,
And plenty of things to discuss;
And if you make him shop or drive downtown,
He’ll sure as heck teach you to cuss.
A little common sense sure goes a long way,
you might as well take our advice;
Load the dang plane from the back to the front,
and maybe then lower the price.
© 2018, Andy Nelson
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission
Pinedale, Wyoming’s Andy Nelson is a second-generation farrier, cowboy poet, emcee, humorist, rodeo announcer, and co-host (with his brother Jim) of the popular syndicated Clear Out West (C.O.W.) radio show.
His new CD, Uncle Charlie and the Squeeze Chute of Death, rich and varied, has bulls, dogs, geezers, horses, and things that nearly defy description (for example, the title poem, so well illustrated by top cowboy cartoonist Ben Crane on the CD’s cover). Andy can be funny, philosophical, serious, complex, and more than a bit wild. There are several tracks that also feature cowboy singer and songwriter Brenn Hill, and the experience of these two friends, who often perform together, comes through in excellent collaborations.
A couple of heartfelt tear-jerkers (“Waiting” and “The Cowboy I Never Knew”) are included. In a fine rendition of the late Don Kennington’s “The Last Nail,” Andy Nelson’s love and respect for his mentor and friend reflects the deep relationship of the two. Don Kennington would be proud.
A hidden track at the end, starring Jim Nelson, Andy’s brother and radio co-host, is as wonderfully wacky as he is. Let’s say he puts the O! in outrageous.
Beneath the hilarity, the whole project is produced with a care and professionalism that’s a great model for others.
This coming weekend, find Andy and Brenn Hill at a National Day of the Cowboy Preserve event in Prairie City, Oregon, on July 28 organized by cowboy, author, and poet Kathy Moss. See an article here. They also appear in Paisley on July 27 at a fundraiser for the Sunny Hancock-Leon Flick Memorial Cowboy Poetry Gathering and scholarship. See an article here.
And, among other places, find Andy at Western Legends Roundup, Kanab, Utah (August 23-25, 2018); Old West Days, Valentine, Nebraska (September 29, 2018); and the Heber Valley Music and Cowboy Poetry Gathering, Heber City, Utah (October 24-28).
At Heber City, he’ll be joined by poets Waddie Mitchell, Randy Rieman, Jo Lynne Kirkwood, Al “Doc” Mehl, Doris Daley, and Jeff Carson. Featured musicians are John Anderson, Suzy Bogguss, Bar J Wranglers, Max T. Barnes, Dave Stamey, Hot Club of Cowtown, Brenn Hill, Jack Hannah, Ed Peekeekoot, Ryan Fritz, Trinity Seely, Charley Jenkins Band, Dyer Highway, High Country Cowboys, Gary McMahan, Stacy Despain, Nancy Elliott, Randy Huston, Stewart MacDougall, Many Strings, Kenny Hall, Kristen J. Lloyd, In Cahoots, and the Heber Valley Orchestra. Find more at hebervalleycowboypoetry.com.
Photo of Andy and Jim Nelson courtesy of Andy Nelson.
(Please respect copyright. You can share this poem and photo with this post, but for any other use, please request permission.)