Gwen Petersen
Big Timber, Mont.

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November 4, 2013
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Gwen Petersen: In a Sow's Ear 11-4-13

In “cleaning out” old files (a hopeless task), I found a 2006 copy of The Tombstone Times, Arizona’s Historic Fun and Informational Journal. My file cabinets are like crypts. Which is to say, interred therein are manila files holding stuff I thought was interesting, attracted my attention, sparked an idea, inspired a poem, and on and on. In the aforesaid Tombstone Times, the lead story talks about Allen English, a highly talented Tombstone lawyer in the 1800s who utilized an assistant — John Barleycorn — on a regular basis.

Once, during his law career, the Santa Fe Railroad offered him the job as their head attorney at an unheard of 25,000 dollars a year. However, they did ask English to agree that he would quit drinking.

“What!!” he yelled, livid with rage. “Give up my rights?! Hell no!” And he didn’t.

Allen English’s story inspired the following poem — built around a favorite Montana Redneck joke.

DUI – Montana Style

’Twas a Saturday night in a Montana bar

And the boys were whoopin’ it up.

They’d just finished shippin’

the cows and calves

They were dry as a thirsty pup.

So they stopped for a beverage in

the Doggone Saloon

And gobbled down burgers and fries;

The bartender served up beer and whiskey

To darned near all the guys.

The time flew by and then it got late

The bartender hollered, “Last call!”

Jake left first, staggering around

As if about to fall.

He lurched to a pickup

and searched for his keys

While leaning against the truck;

Across the way a police patrolman

Watched the drunken schmuck.

Well, Jake he tried a dozen pickups

Before he found his own;

He managed somehow to crawl inside

And sat there still as stone.

Then several cowboys left the bar

And drove away in their rigs;

Jake just sat and fiddled with lights

And made the wipers whiz.

He started his truck and drove it a foot

Reversed it, then braked to a stop;

More cowboys drove away and Jake

Was alone in the parking lot.

At last he started the engine once more

And slowly drove down the road

The watching policeman started his car

(He’d waited, patient as Job).

The officer turned on the flashing blue lights

And pulled the cowboy over

And administered a Breathalyzer test

On this drunken joker.

But the gadget showed no alcohol!

The cop said, “What the hey!

This breathalyzer must be defective!”

“I doubt it,” answered Jake.

“You see, I ain’t had a drop to drink,

I just been helpin’ the boys;

We flipped some coins and tonight I’m

The designated DECOY.” ❖

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The Fence Post Updated Oct 31, 2013 02:32PM Published Nov 18, 2013 04:48PM Copyright 2013 The Fence Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.