Lesson on the Trail

When my Dad was a young man, he worked as a cowboy for several different ranches. He once worked for the old CY Ranch in Wyoming, the land on which Casper Wyoming stands now. He used to tell a lot of tales from back in the old days. This is one I remember from when I was a kid. My Dad has been gone for more than 20 years now, and I may not have the names right, but the story is a true one. I would like to dedicate this poetic effort to my Dad.


Lesson On The Trail


The trail cook just up and quits one day,

'Cause belly achin' about the grub was the cowboy's way.


And 'Cookie' got real tired of tryin' ta please

This bunch of complainers he was havin' ta feed.


"Red, we're gonna starve right here on the trail."

The repentant buckaroos, they began to wail.


'Old Red' was the oldest, the wisest one too,

And he knew that somebody had to feed this crew.


"O.K., I'll try it. I'll rustle some chuck,

But the first one complains, with this job he'll be stuck!"


Now ol' Red didn't like it, not one little bit.

And he devised a plan that he thought would fit.


He thought to himself, "I'll fix these cowpokes,"

Then he went off to bed and smiled at his joke.


The next night for supper Red cooked up some beans,

And he went out and picked some lamb's quarter greens.


Now, he salted them beans, then he salted again,

And the more that he salted, the more he would grin,


Then finally the cow punchers came riding in,

They were plumb wore out, and hungry as sin,


They quickly washed up, it was getting quite late,

And Slim was the first one to fill up his plate.


He grabbed up a spoon and shoveled right in;

He swallowed twice, then he swallowed again.


"Red, these beans are salty!" he bawled,

Then his brain kicked in and he suddenly recalled


What Red had told them the previous day.

"And you know, don'cha Red, that we love 'em this way!"


They cleaned up their plates, each and every man,

And Red kept on cookin' til they finished the brand.


Well, a lesson was taught, and the memories remain,

Of a bunch of young cowboys learning not to complain...


by Mary Yetter

January 25, 2000