Gwen Petersen: In a Sow’s Ear 12-5-11 |

Gwen Petersen: In a Sow’s Ear 12-5-11

A bunch of the boys were saddling up

in the rancher’s saddle shed

The crew that wrangles dudes were

choosing horses for the day ahead.

To work the cattle – to shape up pairs

to go out to summer range.

When into the corral with a strut & a shout

came a weird and wonderful dude.

He wore a big hat with a brim so wide

it blocked the morning sun.

His shirt had a pattern so fancy it

rated a score of second to none.

A big bandana swaddled his neck

and batwing chaps on his legs.

The jingle-jangle spurs on his boots

were as big as ostrich eggs.

He swaggered, he postured, he threw out

his chest dreadfully loud and rude.

A cartoon of a man, “This sorry Cayuse

the best you got?” he stewed!

There’s folks who come out west to

know the joy of riding the trails.

They love to help with cattle work;

they go beyond the pale.

Leaving cares behind, these guests so fine

learn to sit the trot.

And don’t complain even in pain;

they bravely endure a lot.

They saddle up at dawn and

they’re off to one more interlude.

But such was not he, this strutting,

shouting weird and wonderful dude.

He growled he aimed to ride the wildest

booger they had on the ranch.

Didn’t matter if the Cayuse was rank,

by gosh, he’d take that chance!

Well the boys they stared and some of ’em

glared but none of ’em said a word.

They couldn’t believe, just couldn’t conceive

of the dangerous boast they’d heard.

He was asking for trouble!

Well the boys wouldn’t cuddle

this know-it-all phony baloney.

They eyeballed their string and

felt their hearts sing

And selected a fine-looking pony.

This was Two Layer, a fine-looking Paint

and named cuz he’d buck in a trice.

Tossed once by him was like being

bucked off by any other, twice!

A wrangler held the reins but

Dudeman snapped, “Outta my way!”

He pulled up his pants, pulled down his hat

and mounted the Dudeman way.

The boys stood back & then stood stunned as

Two Layer walked off like a lamb.

For the first of the trip, he never looked

crosswise, he traveled like a champ.

Dudeman jogged way up to the lead

but the boys could hear him whine.

About country, cattle and horses

(and got in the way most of the time).

At noontime he griped about the food

and bragged how he’d run the show.

Then belched he’d best get back

to tell the boys how they should go.

He mounted his horse and spurred him

out of standstill into a run.

Twas then Two Layer decided this job

just wasn’t any fun.

The Dudeman soared so high,

he interfered with passing planes.

Joe the Wrangler retrieved the horse

and handed Dudeman the reins.

Dudeman held his wheel-sized spurs

away from the big Paint’s side.

He eased on over toward the cattle

before Two Layer tried –

And successfully unloaded Dudeman

at least two times more.

Joe the Wrangler surmised

Two Layer was merely feeling bored.

Joe figured the big Paint came uncorked

when he had to stand still at a gate.

So Joe rode ahead and opened the gates

so Two Layer needn’t wait.

As long as the horse could keep on moving

that pony was pretty cordial.

Dudeman discovered Two Layer became

a horse that was calm and social.

So he handed over his big shiny spurs

to cowboy Wrangler Joe.

(But Dudeman kept a grip on the horn

when Two Layer commenced to go.)

He rode pretty tight in the saddle,

but when the ranch corral could be seen

He straightened some and hoped he’d soon

be out of this bad dream.

He began to speak in his braggy way

how he’d tallied the cattle count.

As the riders pulled up to the big corral gates

and the Dudeman made to dismount.

Two Layer dumped the man square

on his head in front of the gate.

A heroic effort was made by the boys

to keep their faces straight!

Dudeman was still a garish sight but

his garb had smears of cow poop,

And grass stains and dust and mud

and sweat and other mystery goop.

His hat was jammed on the bridge of his nose,

the crown molded his noggin.

The brim had squashed his ears in folds;

his fancy boots were scuffed and sodden.

From somewhere, floating on air, the question,

“Did you have a nice day?” was heard.

Dudeman fiercely stomped toward his cabin

but uttered nary a word.

He didn’t go down to supper that night

(he’d had a real bad day).

Next morning before the breakfast bell,

Dudeman had gone away.

No one said a word and no one said

they were glad he’d gone.

But there was humming among the boys

and some broke out in song.

The damage? A few torn-loose saddle strings

for the crew to repair.

And Two Layer survived in outstanding shape

except for some missing hair.

These are the simple facts of the story

as told by Wrangler Joe.

Dude guests come and dude guests go

as every cowboy knows.

While most are as fine as well aged wine,

there’s always that one dude

Turns out to be a little bit weird

and often wonderfully skewed.

This poem was inspired by a story in “40 Years’ Gatherin’s” by Spike Van Cleve.

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