Th’ Story of th’ Saddle Bags
by Donna Penley
Th’ cowboy leaned against his horse, tied to a hitchin’ rail;
Th’ cowpoke looked as if he’d rode in right off th’ dusty trail.
I walked up to th’ cowpoke, an’ he flashed a wolfish grin –
He asked if Id care t’ hear ‘bout th’ predicament he was in.
Now, me bein’ a real friendly sort, I told ‘im that I would;
An’ offered my assistance , in any way I could.
Now, he held a pair of saddle bags, stained an’ grayish brown;
Said they’d fallen off a mule he’d passed on his way into th’ town.Th’ woman ridin’ on that mule ignored his strident shouts;As he tried to catch her eye as he waved th’ bags about..
“I follered her aways,” he said. “She plumb ignored my cries –
An’ m’ voice fell on unhearin’ ears, an’ her unseeing eyes.
I asked about ‘er from th’ owner of th’ gen’ral store.
He said she was a strange one, but he didn’t know much more.
Now, ya see I didn’t want no one t’ think I stole these bags;‘Specially from a woman --even if she be a hag!An’ jest when I thought th’ bags was mine, th’ ol’ woman, she appeared,
As if by magic, on that mule. She looked at me an’ sneered.
Accused me then of stealin’ ‘em, but that I did deny.
Then she drawed a pistol –I feared I’d surely die.
But, I drawed m’ gun an’ shot her dead, an’ she fell off that mule;
No cowpoke, puncher or no hag should take me for a fool!”
My eyes were wide, my mouth agape as I listened to his tale;
How could he act so nonchalant, a’ leanin’ on that rail?
If he’d just killed a woman fer a pair o’ saddle bags!
What made th’ bags so valuable, t’ make him shoot that hag?
My curiousity got me, an’ I warmed up t’ th’ task --
“What’s in them bags there, Mister” I jest had t’ ask.
Th’ cowpoke looked at me, grinned an’ then replied:
“It took ya long enough, boy, t’ ask me what’s inside!
Ya see, I been a’ punchin’ cows. Ain’t been here fer a spell --
An’ funnin’s hard t’ come by, I can tell ya, sure as hell!
But, I’ll tell ya what’s inside these bags, since you fell fer m’ yarn --
It’s th’ same b.s. that you’ll find, son, in any rancher’s barn!!!!”
AND AS I TURNED AWAY, I HEARD HIM SAY –“HEY, KID, DON’T TAKE NO WOODEN NICKELS!!”
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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