"Fly fishing is my passion, hunting is my weakness, and mules are a perplexing addiction."

Thursday, December 4, 2014



The other day while out workin’

I was muckin’ out horse stalls and pens

When my wife hollered out, "Time for supper,

Get washed up, it’s time to come in."

I scrubbed up at the sink in the kitchen,

Then reached for a towel on the rack

When my dearly beloved informed me

"Honey, you need a new hat."

Confused, I said, "Huh?" and was certain

I’d misunderstood her decree.

But it soon became clear when she said "Listen here,

Mister, don’t you play stupid with me."

Now there are times when a cowboy should listen

And choose wisely the words he will use

But I spoke up instead for the crown on my head,

Defending it from such abuse.

"Why, what’s wrong with this one?"

I asked to fend off her attack.

"It’s finally broke in like I like it, my Dear,

Now why would I want to do that?"

Suddenly I realized my error,

How I should have kept quiet instead,

With her eyebrows pitched and her hands on her hips

She glared down her nose and she said.

"`Cause it looks like it’s been through the pig pen,

In a stampede and hit by a train

Not to mention the waft when you take your hat off,

Honey it’s time to retire that thing."

"The brim’s full of cracks, tears and creases,

It’s seen better days that’s for sure,

It’s cause for concern from its stem to its stern,

Sweetie, face it, it’s lost its allure."

Now I suppose if I’d just kept my mouth shut

A slim chance might have remained

But I antagonized her ire when I tossed fuel on the fire,

"And your point?" I proudly proclaimed.

The argument then escalated

From debate to just short of war,

My sweetheart’s demeanor went from nasty to meaner

When she added, "And further more!"

"You’re gettin' a new hat tomorrow,

So for the funeral we’ll burn that old thing

‘Cause a burial would spoil and contaminate the soil

Not to mention the underground spring."

"So the subject is closed, done and settled,

It’s finished, completed, thee end,

You’re getting a new hat and that’s final, that’s that,

So don’t act like you’ve lost your best friend."

I resigned myself to my penitence,

Which for me, a fate far worse than death,

Tomorrow I’d retire my old friend to the fire

And fall prey to my sweetheart’s bequest.

The next day we jumped in the pick-up,

We took off and headed for town

To the Buckaroo Emporium and Old Hat Crematorium,

Final resting place of old hats broken-down.

The Emporium was a cathedral,

The walls lined with hats overhead,

Confused and bewitched ‘cause ain’t none of ‘em which

A cowboy’d be caught wearin’ dead.

A salesman waltzed over to greet us

And it didn’t take me long to deduce

This feller’d never straddled, let alone seen a saddle,

When he said, "Howdy there, my name is Bruce."

I whispered a word to my sweetheart,

I said, "Let’s get one thing real clear,

What winds up on top will be my choice, or not,

So tell 'ol Bruce there, I don’t wear cashmere."

So my wife and the salesman began walking,

While me, I trailed slowly behind,

Then `ol Bruce began pointing, detailing and anointing

Each hat as if created divine.

"Our hats come in a variety of flavors," he said,

"All different colors and shades,

There’s chocolate and gold and chartreuse I’m told,

Even fuchsia if you’re leaning that way."

"And they come in all shapes and sizes

From derbies to ten-gallon hats,

There’s oval and round, short and tall crowns,

And each has a brim sized to match."

"And we have hatbands galore that will dazzle,

From snakeskin, or maybe peacock instead,

Folks will spot you from a mile, you’ll at last be in style."

"That’s what I’m afraid of," I said.

As my bride wandered aimlessly onward

She’d Oooh and she’d Ahhh and she’d gawk,

I grabbed Bruce by the hide and I pulled him aside

And said, "Sport, we need to have us a talk."

"Look pard," I said with my hackles up,

"These hats you’re a showin’ ain’t me,

They’re fine I suppose if you wear pantyhose

But they’re just a little more glitter than I need."

"So do you have something a little less garish?

Without all the pomp and circumstance?

That doesn’t belong atop 'ol Elton John,

Come from Hollywood, or God forbid, France?"

"You got anything back there without sparkles,

And won’t set off an airport alarm?

That’s not made by Versache, or worn by Liberace?

You have anything that doesn’t glow in the dark?"

"I need a hat for my head that’s quiet,

A plain ribbon band would be great,

It shouldn’t look absurd like I’d wrecked with a bird,

No buckles or conches or snakes."

Bruce gasped and tossed his arm to his forehead,

For a moment I thought he might faint,

"Oh, you’re one of those, well I guess, I suppose,

I can find something a little more quaint."

As Bruce turned to leave I stopped him,

I said, "Hey Pard, just one little thing,

I wear a seven and an eighth round, and prefer to shape my own crown."

He said, "Certainly, what color shall I bring?"


"We’ll that’s the easiest part," I told him

"That decision is pretty matter-of-fact,

You see, a cowboy can wear any color he dare,

As long as it’s gray or it’s black!"

 thomas firth

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