© 2006, Jeri Dobroski, photo of Pat Richardson, Jess Howard, and Stan Howe
by Pat Richardson (1934-2016)
“I wanna be a cowboy,” said the banker Larry Brown,
“an’ work out in the country, ‘steada cooped up here in town.”
When his wife got wind of this she nearly went berserk
he made a hundred grand a year, doin’ banker work.
She said,” You can’t ride a horse, you can barely drive a Jeep
the whole idea’s dumber than a hundred head of sheep.”
“Ben said he’d teach me everything I need to know
an’ how long can that take? There’s just giddyup an’ whoa.”
He went thumbin’ through a catalog of “Western wear an’ feed”
with his calculator hummin’, addin’ up the things he’d need
“A thousand for a saddle? There must be some mistake
a misprint he reckoned, a grand for heaven’s sake?”
A hat an’ vest, boots an’ spurs, an’ naturally a rope
a bridle, reins, an’ silver bit, an’ a bar of saddle soap
a pickup an’ a trailer, an’ assorted odds an’ ends
“It’s pretty dang expensive now, I’ll tell you that my friend
“Saddle blankets, underclothes, an’ oh yes a pair of chinks.”
When he hit the total button, took an hour just to blink.
So he gave up that cowboy scheme an’ sez with some dismay,
“I can’t afford to be a cowboy on a lousy banker’s pay.”
© 2001, Pat Richardson, used with permission
The late California poet, humorist, artist, cowboy, and former Pro Rodeo Sports News cartoonist Pat Richardson was known for his deadpan delivery of his humorous poems. It’s always hard to resist to mention that Baxter Black said of Pat Richardson’s poetry, “If you boiled cowboy poetry down to what’s worth savin’, this is what the stew would smell like.”
At the forthcoming Western Folklife Center’s 35th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, January 28 – February 2, 2019 in Elko, Nevada, there will be a show remembering Pat Richardson and other favorite cowboy poets who have recently left us: Georgie Sicking (1921-2016), Jess Howard (1936-2016, Pat Richardson’s brother), and Elizabeth Ebert (1925-2018). Performers for the show, all friends of those poets, are Yvonne Hollenbeck, Rodney Nelson, Brenn Hill, Dave Stamey, and DW Groethe. The show will be Saturday afternoon, February 2, at 1:30 pm, at the G Bar Three Theatre at the Western Folklife Center.
The complete National Cowboy Poetry Gathering lineup includes 3hattrio, Amy Hale Auker, Mike Beck, Geno Delafose & French Rockin Boogie, John Dofflemyer, Joshua Dugat, Maria Lisa Eastman, Mary Flitner, Jamie Fox & Alex Kusturok, Ryan & Hoss Fritz, Dick Gibford, DW Groethe, Andy Hedges, Brenn Hill, Tish Hinojosa, Yvonne Hollenbeck, Ross Knox, Ned LeDoux, Daron Little, Corb Lund, Carolyn Martin’s Swing Band, Sid Marty, Deanna Dickinson McCall, Gary McMahan, Waddie Mitchell, Michael Martin Murphey, Joel Nelson, Rodney Nelson, Diane Peavey, Shadd Piehl, Vess Quinlan, Halladay & Rob Quist, Henry Real Bird, Brigid Reedy, Randy Rieman, Jake Riley, Matt Robertson, Olivia Romo, Trinity Seely, Sean Sexton, Sourdough Slim, Dave Stamey, Gail Steiger, Colter Wall, and Paul Zarzyski.
Jeri Dobrowski took this photo of Pat Richardson, Jess Howard, and Stan Howe at the 2006 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. Find her photography at jeridobrowski.com.
(Please respect copyright. You can share this poem and photo with this post, but for other uses, request permission.)