THE OKANAGAN TRAIL
By Donna Penley
Have you ever heard of th’ Okanagan Trail,
Made famous by two brother? Let me tell th’ tale.
Thadeus and Jerome were brothers, Harper their last name;
At first they had gold fever, but that was not t’ be their fame.
They trekked t’ California, tried their luck at findin’ gold;
Gave that up an’ went t’ Canada -- their story now is told.
Sellin’ goods t’ miners paid them mighty good.
They decided it paid better than diggin’ ever would!
Then, all at once, in 1870, Thad, he up an’ croaked;
Leavin’ brother Jerome sad, bereaved an’ broke.
Then, Jerome, he got ‘im an idea --
Got th’ urge t’ drive some cattle;
All th’ way t’ Californy -- he knew t’ would be a battle.
Well, Jerry tried it anyway, drove 1200 head,
Just hisself an’ nine cowboys, that’s what has been said.
This happened back in ‘76, an’ th’ summer, it was mild;
They started off from Canada, cross-country they did file.
Stopped a spell in Montana, for all t’ take a rest;
Then started off again, believing’ in their quest.
Makin’ just ten miles a day, it took ‘em eighteen months;
Through storms an’ heat an’ cold, they did take their lumps.
All th’ way t’ San Francisco, arrived t’ meet th’ rail;
An’ what a feat! They was th’ first t’ make th’ Okanagan Trail.
Th’ cattle arrived there in good shape, but not follin’ round in fat;
They sold for seventy bucks a head, which filled up Jerry’s hat.
But Harper’s money makin’ skills did not match his drover’s smarts;
Ten years later he was broke, an’ so was his ol’ heart.
Jerome Harper should not be remember for what he could not do;
But remembered for that long trail drive --
An’ all this story’s true!!!
Donna Penley is a Cowgirl Poet with deep Kansas roots who has been writing cowboy poetry for over twenty five years. She is a real Cowgirl and an ex-barrel racer.