THE COOK REPORTED LONGHORNS WERE COMING IN THE GATE BUCKAROOS AT BREAKFAST SOME WERE IN THE BUNK HOUSE SOME WERE SLEEPING LATE
PRIT’ NEAR EIGHT MEAN CORRIENTE AMBLED RIGHT UP THE OLD DIRT ROAD POINTY HORNS A GLINTING THEY LUMBERED TO AND FRO
THEY WERE FREE RANGE BEEF WITH ATTITUDE AND IN ONE BY ONE THEY FILED DANGED IF THEY DIDN’T GIT PAST THE CATTLE GRATES LIKE A FARSIDE CARTOON GONE WILD
CHIRICAHUA COWBOY HE’S ON HIS HORSE AGAIN WE NEVER KNOW WHY WE NEVER KNOW WHEN BUT HE’S THE HOPE OF ARIZONA LEAST FROM GLEESON TO PORTAL THE CHIRICAHUA COWBOY HE’S THE ONE THAT GETS THE CALL ANY TIME ‘R OYSTER’S ARE UP AGAINST THE WALL THE CHIRICAHUA COWBOY, HE WILL SAVE US ALL!
ONE WAS UDDERLY FEMALE IT WAS PLAINLY CLEAR TO SEE QUEEN OF THE RODEO HEIFERS ANOTHER RATHER BULLISH ONE HE KEPT EYEING ME
THE CHIRICAHUA COWBOY HE SAUNTERED INTO VIEW HE WORE HIS LEATHER JACKET WITH FRINGE SMELLED LIKE BEER AND LAST NIGHT’S STEW BOXER SHORTS AND COWBOY BOOTS HIS PANTS STILL IN HIS ROOM
HE HAD SPURS, A WHIP, TWO FORTY-FIVES AND HE WAS ITCHING FOR A FEUD THE CHIRICAHUA COWBOY LOST BIG AT POKER AND LOVE LAST NIGHT HE WAS ONE BIG ANGRY DUDE
HE WAS READY TO SETTLE THE SCORE AND PUT THOSE BEEVES BACK IN THE PEN A BEEFLY DUEL WAS COMING ON, IT SEEMED WHILE IN THE SAGE, FRESH COWPIES STEAMED THE HEIFER HUDDLED THE OTHERS THEN WEIGHT WAS SHIFTED HORNS WERE POINTED THE BEEVES THEN THUNDERED IN
ALL OF A SUDDEN THE BRAWL COMMENCED BULL WHIP CRACKED AND BULLETS FLYING EIGHT CORRIENTE TURNED TAIL TO RUN IN THE END THEY MET THEIR BOVINE MATCH CHIRICAHUA COWBOY WAS SMILIN’ AS HE BLEW SMOKE FROM THE END OF HIS GUN
CHIRICAHUA COWBOY ROUNDED ‘EM UP RIGHT THEN THEY WERE BEATEN LIKE HAMBURGER AND LOCKED IN THE PEN “NEXT TIME YOU COME ROUND HERE THE BUTCHER’LL MAKE IT CUT AND DRIED AND MAKE LITTLE PARTS OUT OF THOSE CARCASSES AND WALLETS FROM YER HIDE!
CHIRICAHUA COWBOY HE’S ON HIS HORSE AGAIN WE NEVER KNOW WHY WE NEVER KNOW WHEN BUT HE’S THE HOPE OF ARIZONA LEAST FROM WILLCOX TO PORTAL THE CHIRICAHUA COWBOY HE’S THE ONE THAT GETS THE CALL ANY TIME ‘R OYSTER’S ARE UP AGAINST THE WALL THE CHIRICAHUA COWBOY, HE DONE SAVED US ALL! CHIRICAHUA COWBOY–NO ONE RIDES AS TALL!
under powder blue skies a brave Arizona girl rides
on her pride and joy pony the last gift from her mother
upon her death they were left almost nearly alone
her mom’s final hope that they rescue each other
the girl and her pony took their hard lives in stride
from childhood and older they roamed Chiricahua forever
diamondbacks and prickly pear, piñon pine and leather
years went by and they would know troubles life sometimes throws
loss and sadness, all of life’s madness and the pain of poverty’s woes
they shared joys and heartaches, and struggled on these two
the girl and her lineback Dun lived and breathed and grew
good people watched over them, like occasional angels above
giving food and shelter and safety in lieu of a mother’s love
then one day it happened, a new love came to call
the cowgirl fell in love with love him, cowboy warts and all
it ended some months later when she found he was untrue
Chiricahua then erupted her true love was misconstrued
angry skies and wild eyes, nothing contained her rage
the Wild West became wild then, and a cowgirl came of age
they lit out for Dos Cabezas, on beyond Apache Pass
beyond the limits of girl and horse, flat out on the open range
the ride near over, exhausted, she had cried her final tear
a scorpion spooked her lineback dun, it reacted out of fear
the cowgirl was thrown hard down on unyielding ground
she was left there forever to die, her body remains unfound
get up, get on your horse, come tell me when
the Chiricahua Cowgirl rides again
she drags herself from the ground to her stirrups
with broken bones and an unbent spirit
her last ride, she’ll never hear it
Chiricahua Cowgirl rides again
to reconnect with better days
of endless joys and simple ways
over Apache land of Chokonen
Chiricahua Cowgirl rides again
A year ago, a car was parked along the dirt road leading to the ranch and a man was on the other side of the barbed wire fence wandering in the field. This is quite a common sight here in southeastern Arizona, however I recognized neither the vehicle nor the occupants.
As soon as I heard the voice I recognized instantly that it was none other than cowboy poet Baxter Black standing there before me in all his cowboy glory, eyes twinkling out from under his wide-brimmed hat as he introduced himself and his wife the very delightful, CindyLou Baxter.
It seems Mr. Black was given the wrong date for the Southwest Pioneer Cowboy Association picnic to be held here in the Chiricahua Mountains, and he and CindyLou had arrived one week prematurely. Susan and I were just as happy to invite them for lunch, and while I welcomed our new friends and guests to Sunglow Ranch, Susan took to the kitchen making the finest lunch ever made under pressure. Baxter recited his poem, The West, phrases of which continue to this day to pop into my head such as, “the wind is the moan of the prairie” and “they don’t call it Death Valley for nuthin'”…
Today, over a year later was held this year’s SWPCA Cowboy Picnic. Over a hundred guests were in attendance just down the dirt road from the ranch, and a glorious steak dinner was cooked-out and beautifully served to all. More than one cowboy guest remarking to me that, “there are less and less of the real old-time cowboys left.”
Stackable plastic and metal folding chairs were ‘circled up’ after the meal, as raffle prizes and story-telling began. Cowboy poetry was recited. Stories were shared from the heart, and a celebration commenced for the real cowboys and cowgirls who were in attendance. Many sentences began with, “The Smith Ranch”, or “The Price Ranch”, or “The Riggs Ranch” and beautiful, time worn cowboy phrases like “prit’ near” and “howdy” were oft’ spoken.
A bit slowed by age, these were the originals–the ones who’s family tamed this very wild west from the 1870’s onward, and who continued in their parents’ footsteps ranching in this faraway land. Back then, this land had only recently been delivered up, wrested violently from the Chiricahua Apaches as their parents became the first white homesteaders here.
Now, a bit grizzled, thin and worn with age–it was clear that I was in the company of real cowboys and real cowgirls. Lord knows the hardships they faced. I couldn’t help but feel I was watching the passing of a way of life, and the end of an era. But I saw extraordinary character in these wrinkled faces, and simple lives.
Baxter and CindyLou never made it this year, but I’ll be looking down the road for them when next year’s cowboy picnic comes around. Heck, they prit’ near made it last year.