HORSESHOES AND HEAVEN by Kent Rollins

washrollins
“Wash” Rollins, age 17

HORSESHOES AND HEAVEN
by Kent Rollins

He was covered all with sweat
As I tied my ole horse there in the shade
He said an ole horse that will stand still
For more than five minutes
Why I don’t think there’s ever been one made

He wore an old ragged pair of leggins
That had been cut off just below the knee
His old hands were hard and callused
And his arms were like two big limbs
Hanging off a giant oak tree

He said you reckon you could hold this old feller
He seems to have a lot a trouble standin’ still
Why I don’t know why I ain’t quit this
You’d think after 45 years
I had enough to get my fill

He let that ole horse’s leg down
And went to his anvil to shape a shoe
Awe I guess being a cowboy and doing this
Is about all I ever really knew

He said trimming & shoeing these old horses
Is sorta like dealing with life
Nobody said it was gonna be easy
But if you’ll do it with pride and honesty
You can get through the times of trouble and strife

With that shoe in hand and a mouth full of nails
He went back to resume his chore
Pick it up old feller he mumbled
We just like this one and one more

Well he nailed that shoe on pretty quick
He never missed his aim
He said sometimes in life
You’ve really got to struggle
If there’s gonna be any kind of gain

He said take that ole anvil there
That I use to shape a shoe
Sometimes we’ve gotta have a little adjusting
To keep us all straight and true

Now take these old horses some are pretty good
And some act awful ill
But it’s just like everyday livin,
Cause sometimes you just don’t get a fair deal

Well I watched him untie this old horse
His back still slightly bent
And in my mind I wondered about the many hours
Under an ole horse’s belly that he had really spent

His shirt by now was salted down
Soaked by the summer’s sun
It didn’t take him long a trimmin’
And my ole horse was done

Well I thanked him for his story
And paid him for his time
And as I was riding away
I could hear his ole anvil a ringing
Making a perfect chime

There ain’t a day that goes by
That I don’t think of him and his advice
I’d stopped by an seen him every week
Usually once or twice

But now his old anvil is silent
The horses ain’t lined up no more
His old chaps hang there empty
And his hammer lays still there on the floor

Sometimes I go to wondering
And it makes me feel sorta sad
Now I know the good Lord needs a farrier
And this makes me sorta proud
Because I know he got a good one
When he came and hired my Dad

© Kent Rollins
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission

This poem closes out our week of shoeing poems. Kent Rollins also shared the photo above of his father, “Wash” Rollins at age 17.

Kent Rollins hardly needs an introduction these days. He’s a popular chuck wagon cook, poet, storyteller, and television personality. Along with Shannon Keller Rollins, he runs the Red River Ranch Chuck Wagon.

As his web site tells, “Kent Rollins is from a lost period in time and a dying state of mind, when life was simple and character was king. Kent was born and raised along the banks of the Red River near Hollis, Oklahoma. Growing up, and throughout his adulthood, Kent helped his father manage cow/calf operations in the area while also taking care of their own herd.”

Shannon and Kent take their restored 1876 Studebaker wagon to ranches for spring and fall gatherings and events. They have a YouTube channel with entertaining and instructive videos at Youtube.com; an information-packed site at kentrollins.com (sign up for the newsletter); a regular column in Western Horseman; an acclaimed, top-selling cookbook, A Taste of Cowboy, and a brand new book, Faith Family & the Feast.

Right now you’ll find the book’s online release celebration and much more on their Facebook page. Cowboys & Indians magazine has a great article, with an interview and recipes.

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Faith, Family & the Feast is your answer to what to do in these trying times. You’ll be entertained, edified, inspired, and well fed.

The beautifully designed book is full of advice for cooking and for living. The irresistible recipes are accompanied by stories, poems, inspirational quotes, and the stunning photography of Shannon Keller Rollins and Stormie Mosimann. Shannon even has an amusing “Okie to English” article, complete with glossary.

Recipes go from breakfast (“Burning Daylight”) to dessert (“The Last Gate,”) with appetizers, snacks, breads, soups, salads, side dishes, and “Pasture and Pond.” An entire chapter of grilling has tips, charts, and drool-worthy recipes from Fall-Apart Ribs to Chocolate-Peanut Butter Grilled Banana Splits. You can learn how to make your own jerky right in your kitchen’s oven, your own tortillas, create warm pretzel rolls, Scotch
eggs, “Reindeer Poop,” Poor Man’s Lobster, and so much more.

Near the end of the book is a poem, “The Last Sortin’,” that sums up the philosophy and way of life for this well-loved cook and exemplary human being. He’s definitely a man for these times.

Order signed copies at kentrollins.com.

(Request permission to reprint or repost this poem and personal photograph.)