I’d Sure Call Him a Friend

I hadn’t known him long

But I’d sure call him a friend.

A bunch of us had gathered at the River

To set his ashes free upon the wind.


By the crowd that had assembled

He had touched a lot in his short life.

Most stood in somber silence

And others consoled his wife.


They had rode life’s trail together

For more than sixty years.

She gently swiped a kerchief

To hold back a falling tear.


His son, he came up to me

Said, “My Pa would sure be glad you came.

It means a lot to Ma and me

I just hope I can live up to his name.”


He handed me a piece of paper

A picture of his dad on a horse,

A quotation there on the bottom that said,

“Keep your saddle tight and try to stay on course.”


Then he said, “We’d better get started

My dad hated to make people wait.

He used to tell me when I was younger

Get in or get out but don’t stand there in the gate.”


So I thank you all for coming he said

This was Dad’s most favorite place.

He liked the smell of the sage in bloom

The cottonwood trees, the river and wide open space.


He’d come here and just sit and listen

Said this is good place to rest and think.

With shade and bluestem grass

And water nearby to drink.


My dad he grew up a cowboy

Just like the generations that came before.

Settled here in the 1870’s

A family known for survival, integrity and lore.


Before the post or the stretching of the wire

Before the scaring of the plow,

They set out to make a living

With family, horse and cow.


He took over this ranch

Raised a family and taught life’s lessons.

At times there wasn’t much money

But he taught us to count our blessings.


He left us a legacy, a tradition

To be stewards of the land.

Always work to make it better

Remember your neighbors and lend a helping hand.


Oh my God, how we will miss him

But I know he’s in a far better place.

He has unsaddled for the last time

His bunkhouse is now a heavenly place.


So, I will sum it up this way

We’re sure honored you came out.

To this, our special place at the River

Where wild things grow about.


A place of serenity

This spot of hope and love.

His place of tranquility

Sent forth from Heaven up above.


I watched in silence

As they scattered him in the wind.

Saw the expressions of the loved ones

As tears flowed down faces of family and friends.


They led his horse up to the bank

His companion and his friend.

He too stood in reverence

Paying tribute to the wind.


As the crowd began to scatter

I took his son by the hand.

Held a trembling forearm, and knew

His son had just became a man.


I offered my last regards to his widow

Got in my truck and drove away.

Just driving there in silence

His son’s words, I can hear him say.


“Keep your saddle tight

 And try to stay on course.

I hope I can fill his shoes

Will I ever be able to ride his horse?”


There was a gentle breeze stirring

A cool, calm refreshing wind.

As I pondered what was the meaning

Of a person, someone called a friend.


Was it what you had accomplished?

Or maybe all that you had acquired.

The sum of cattle and horses

Huge amounts of grass behind a wire.


Or was it what everyone needs

A house, a home filled with love.

Green grass and plenty of water

With clear skies up above.


It made me stop and think

This feller had figured it out.

The true meaning of life

What living is truly about.


He only took what he needed

Giving much more in return

Knowing that everyday was a lesson

Always something to be learned


 To leave it better than it was

You have that obligation

To your family and the land

No matter the situation


 He was a man who spoke few words

But they resonated with thought

They stood a lasting testimony

To life and the struggles he had fought


His take on life was like those ashes

That drifted so gently in the wind

Settle down with the land and family

Just try to be a friend.

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