Twelve Days Down the Trail

Twelve Days Down the Trail

 

Man it was an awesome sight,

To see 1200 longhorns cross.

Horns and hooves a splashin’,

In the evening’s fading light.

 

Cowboys hooping and hollering,

Cattle and horses not wanting to go.

But here comes ol’ Cookie a cussin’ and a whoopin’,

Those old mules poding along ever so slow.

 

Twelve days down the trail,

And we had finally crossed the Red.

Twelve days of dirt and wind,

And this youngin’ was ready to roll out his bed.

 

“Twelve days down the trail,” he said,

“Seems like a year to me.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m glad I came along,

And look at all I’ve gotten to see.”

 

‘Bout that time we heard ol’ Cookie say,

“Button don’t you go to getting home sick.

Why you ain’t worked long enough,

I don’t even think you can draw no pay.”

 

“Joe and Bill ya’ll got first watch,”

He heard the boss man say.

“The rest of you boys eat your grub and hit them rolls,

Tomorrow’s going to be an awful long day.”

 

Well that night as he tried to sleep,

It wasn’t like those 11 nights before.

All the hands were nervous and restless

And he couldn’t even hear old Hank snore.

 

He didn’t know what time it was,

When the boss came riding in.

He said, “You boys get saddled and mounted,

There’s a bad storm a comin’ with lots of dirt and wind.”

 

He was just fixin’ to ride out of camp,

When he heard ol’ Cookie holler,

“Button don’t you get lost in that dirt storm.

And make sure you don’t get bucked off ol’ Dollar.”

 

Well he reached into his pocket for a kerchief,

And around his face he drew it tight.

He rode out into total darkness

Full of dirt and black of night.

 

Figures road past him,

Like prairie ghosts in the wind.

Twelve days down the trail,

And the boy wished he was home again.

 

But he and ol’ Dollar had a job to heed,

To turn all them steers around.

And there at the banks of the Red River,

He and ol’ Dollar stood their ground.

 

I know he never saw it coming,

That lead steer hit ol’ Dollar in the flank,

Knocking both horse and rider,

Down the steep, slick River’s bank.

 

Well the storm was finally over,

And the cattle had settled down.

We ‘d gathered back at the wagon,

Drinking coffee and just sittin’ around.

 

That’s when we noticed,

Ol’ Dollar Came running back.

He was covered with dirt and mud.

But there was no rider in his kack.

 

In frantic desperation,

We started searching for that young lad,

Fearing the worst had happened,

But we hoped it might not be so bad.

 

Old Hank was the first to find him,

And he let out a mournful cry,

“Boys I’ve found him here in the sand,

But I fear he’s about to die.”

 

And before we could get to him,

The little lad was gone.

His arms reaching outward.

Pointing toward the direction of home.

 

So we wrapped him in a wagon sheet,

And dug a hole in that wet sand.

Twelve days down the trail,

Every man had a hat in his hand.

 

So if you ever cross this River,

A little marker you might find.

And burnt there in the wood

You will read these lines:

 

Twelve days down the trail,

We laid him in the sand.

Twelve days down the trail,

This boy of 12, became a man.

2 thoughts on “Twelve Days Down the Trail

  1. Kent;

    This was powerful, very thought provoking for me. It brings to mind that ol’ John Wayne flick, “The Cowboys”. That was one of my favorites, out of all the movies John Wayne made.

    Thank you for sharing your talent with all here.
    Stan

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