MISSOURI ROBIN HOOD
BY Donna Penley
Jesse James was a farmer boy, born in Missouri territory;
Raised up in hardscrabble times, he dreamed of fame an’ glory.
His family was as poor as poor can be. Jesse vowed to change that fact, as herein you will see.
Legends grew up around him. He was compared to Robin Hood;
Robbed th’ barons an’ bankers, stripped of riches where they stood.
He had a brother who rode with him. Frank James was his name;
Frank was never as famous as Jesse, though he robbed folks just th’ same.
Others joined them, name of Younger -- brothers Cole an’ Bob;
Bob was always th’ lookout man, an’ cased th’ banks they planned t’ rob.
They gave money t’ poor farmers, whilst runnin’ for their lives;
Two of them were later married, with children an’ young wives.
Some folks thought of them as heroes. Some called them plain outlaws;
But, Jesse believed their robbin’ was for a higher cause.
I’ll end this story soon, but this happenin’ I must tell; Of my Greatgrandmother Michael who gave them water from her well.
Th’ day was hot an’ humid, as Missouri often is -- When she heard th’ riders comin’, she called in all her kids.
But, my Grandpa William, he ran out down th’ lane,
An’ stared in wide-eyed wonder as th’ riders came.
Grandma stepped out on th’ porch, shotgun in her hand;
“What you doin’ on this property?” she demanded of th’ man.
Th’ riders looked hot an’ trail sore. Th’ leader tipped his hat;
“We need a drink an’ t’ water our horses. Be glad t’ pay for that”.
Grandma shrugged her shoulders. “Go foller William to th’ well”.
She tried her best t’ hide her fear as her bosom rose an’ fell.
Th’ riders slaked their thirst, an’ watered worn out mounts;
That water couldn’t have tasted better had it come from a chrystal fount!
As they led their horses toward th’ house, Grandma came out th’ front door, with a big ol’ plate of buttermilk biscuits an’ lemonade t’ pour.
I’ll make this story short, no I’ll bring it to a close --
Jesse James was an outlaw, but that was th’ life he chose.
An’, my family passed this story down, of Grandma an’ th’ water well,
An’ of a fine big gold piece that she’d never spend or sell.
Yes, Jesse was an outlaw, his story often told,
Grandma Michael always remembered how he gave her gold .
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.
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