TH’ COWBOY WAY
By Donna Penley
They glared at one other. toe to toe – It’d been one hell of a fight;
Friends for years, yet they ‘d duked it out, each thinkin’ he was right.
Joe a black eye. Tom a fat lip. It looked as though neither had won;
Now they stood cuffed, together,th’ two old cowboys, feelin’ real sheepish an’ dumb.
Th’ bookin’ desk officer looked at th’ cowpokes, turned aside an’ grinned;
“You fellers have a disagreement? I thought you two was friends.”
“Got to hold you ‘till tomorrow. It’s probably just as well.”
He called th’ jailer in an’ said, “Take ‘em down to a holdin’ cell”.
Once there, th’ hours passed slowly, so they each had time t’ think;
To dwell upon their folly. Joe’s eye so swole he couldn’t blink.
Tom, he finally spoke up – “What we did sure was a bust!”
Joe looked at ‘im with his one good eye. “You’re right, ya crusty ol’ cuss!”
They began to yell an’ beller, to get Sarge’s attention;
Sarge ignored ‘em for a spell – that was his intention –
T’ let ‘em dwell on what they’d done. On that he did intend;
Wanted th’ cowpokes to remember they really was best friends.
An’ when about four hours had passed, Sarge walked up to their cell;
Th’ two ol’ codgers on th’ bunk looked like they’d been through hell.
“Have you had time t’ think it over, what you two have done?
‘Cause, from th’ looks on both yer faces , neither of ya won.”
Ol’ Tom, he looked at Joe. Joe looked back at ‘im an’ grinned;
“We jest had a little tussle – but we’re still th’ best o’ friends.”
“Ya, see, Sarge, we’re from th’ old school. That’s about all we can say.
Ya duke it out, then ya shake hands. That’s th’ cowboy way!
Sarge, got a key, stepped up to th’ door. “Ya both get outa here.”
It just saves me paperwork”, he told ‘em with a sneer.
They walked out on th’ street together. Neither had much t’ say;
But they stopped on th’ corner an’ they shook hands –
IT WAS JEST TH’ COWBOY WAY.
Copyrighted Sept. 2000
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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