Sow’s Ear: Clem
by Gwen Petersen
Big Timber, Mont.
Clem is an excellent cowboy but he’s a bit shy around girls. Oh, he attends dances and doin’s, but mostly he does a lot of standing in corners staring at moths flying around the ceiling lights. His courage tends to fail when he contemplates actually conversing with someone of the feminine persuasion.
Clem, The Complimentary Cowboy
Clem’s got a case of shy
As big as all outdoors;
To stand near females makes him twitch,
He’d rather hug his horse.
His courage fails him every time
He tries to make a date;
But in his mind, he’s oh so cool,
And suave, and smooth ” he’s great!
Clem sought advice from braver guys,
They told him how to act “
“Just treat the gals as if they’re colts,
Just use your cowboy tact.”
“Build a loop of compliments,
And grain ’em up with words,
Why, girls will follow you around
A-twittering like birds.”
And so Clem practiced sweet remarks
To casually impress;
He formed a picture in his head
Of how he would caress.
But when Clem asked a real live girl
He breathed as though in pain;
He stuttered and sputtered but at last,
He asked out Mary Jane.
When she agreed she’d go with him,
He nearly lost his mind;
Say nice things, he told himself,
And treat her really kind.
Clem took her to the movies so
He wouldn’t have to talk!
Then wondered, should he put his arm
Around her? Would she balk?
Behind her back, Clem slid his hand,
It trembled on her chair;
Then bravely leaning close, he sniffed
The perfume of her hair.
In agony, Clem tried to think
Of something swell to say;
His brain decayed, it turned to mush,
And words stayed far away.
His tongue got furry, and Clem could feel
His Adam’s apple clutch;
He croaked, “Hey, Mary Jane, for a fat girl
You ain’t sweatin’ much!”
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From June through September, John Etchart spends most of the day driving a tractor through hayfields below the mountains near Meeker in northwestern Colorado.