Chaps for Hire

I wrote this a few years ago. Decided y’all might enjoy it a bit.

His hair ain’t gray and his back ain’t swayed,
But his face is lined and his legs are bowed.
It’s a 60-something cowboy comin’ up the lane,
And he’s spent decades reapin’ what he sowed.

His leather batwings brush with each step he takes,
And his old cavalry saddle has seen better days.
His hat is sweat-stained and skewed to the side,
And his hands have witnessed a few barroom frays.

He grunts a greeting and sets a boot on the porch.
“These chaps are for hire; I’m looking for work.”
Well, he made a fine picture there in his cowboy gear,
And his stance said there wasn’t a duty he would shirk.

The foreman nodded but noted he was gettin’ old,
“Maybe I can use you, ever dig any post holes?”
The cowboy’s smile waned and his shoulders settled,
“Well, I reckon I can manage to set you a few poles.”

As the 60-something cowboy worked in the dirt
He groused about this rotten downturn in his life.
There once was a time when he’d had a nice little ranch,
But a swindler rustled the title and slept with his wife.

Nary a place did the old cowboy have to dig in his spurs.
He had hit the trail with his chaps and saddle in tow.
Never did he think his wandering would stretch so far,
But the day he left home was over twenty years ago.

The holes got dug and the poles got set three feet in the dirt,
The old cowboy looked down the line and smiled with pride.
No horseman likes to build fence and he was no exception,
But it was a job well done and that couldn’t be denied.

The foreman asked the 60-something cowboy to stay on
Stretchin’ wire, repairin’ water gaps and fixin’ rusty plows.
And though the times were hard and the jobs few and far,
The cowboy said no thanks, he needed to be bossin’ cows.

He thought he’d find his ridin’ job before autumn was gone,
But winter came and went and still he wandered the west.
The Lazy T finally hired him on for the tough old bird he was,
Now he’s ridin’ herd, ropin’ steers and doin’ what he does best.

The 60-something cowboy stopped into a bar and ordered a beer;
A young dude sauntered over to announce his chaps were for hire.
The old cowboy took in the kid’s new gear and then said real slow,
“Chaps ain’t much good unless you’ve got the heart and the desire.”


  1. Lord Lord now that’s hit’n the nail on the head of an ole cowhand..some’n in our stride can’t be denied whether we’re tween come’ere or sic’em..enjoyed the poem shor nuff! Ya might enjoy one I wrote on my blog..Heart of a Cowboy!

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