Monday, September 28, 2009

Old Rodeo Cowboy


I saw an old pickup all loaded with melons

one hot summer’s evening not too far from Austin.

Sitting beside it, a graying bent cowboy

in faded blue Wranglers watching the cars pass.

I stopped, we spoke, he arose from his lawn chair,

struggled to stand, and walked to his truck’s bed.

“Good ones?” I asked. “Sweet ones?”

He nodded. “Three dollars a piece or two for a five spot.”

“Pick me a good one.” I said as we stood there.

He turned a few over, and looked at their skin.

“Rabbits won’t scratch the ones that aren’t sweet.”

He said nonchalantly, his blue eyes a’ sparkle.

I found a scarred one and placed it aside.

“I’m Dennis,” I offered.

“I’m Joe,” he replied

“Did you farm all your life?

He answered, “No”.

Then I stood there and listened for two hours or so.

“I’m a Rodeo Champ.” He smiled as he spoke.

“Or I was through the fifties, that’s a few years ago.”

“I did it all. Rough stock, ropin’.

“We had to back then - the purses were small.”

“Bulls were my favorite. Everyone liked them.

I got extra money when side bets were made.”

He told me about it, the good rides, the great ones.

Clay Bank, Poison Ivy, the rankest of all.

Each ride was re-told from cinching to buzzer.

The bucks, the twists, the bruising come downs.

I finally left. He was smiling and waving.

Three bucks and two hours well spent for us both.

Dennis Price