Special Poem

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Jun 10, 2004
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This was written last November by a good cowman. His name was Mel & he wrote this on finding he had cancer. He will be missed!


It was just one of those days, when everything seemed to go wrong.
With hours the same as usual, though the day seemed twice as long.

I was tired and a might bit cranky, so a quick supper and right off to bed.
As I lay in a restless manner, with a million things goin’ through my head.

Tryin’ to keep up with things at work, and a’ copin’ with the family stuff.
I guess everyone’s been through it, just when you think you’ve had enough.

Spiritual convictions then arise, as countless decisions come to mind.
The web of faith that’s supposed to hold, suddenly seems untwined.

So sleep is very special now, to halt all the struggles I must face.
This quiet peace I now savor, and this seems to be the only place.

With eyes closed and my mind finally at ease, I drifted to quiet rest.
Then awoke in tremor of startled fear, with mass confusion to my quest.

Now standing a lush grass prairie, the horizons of perfect panoramic scene.
With all my senses so in tune, unlike an occasional quick drifting dream.

Snow capped mountains to the north and west, and foothills within my reach.
As in the blue stem tall grass prairie I stood, that met the horizon to the east.

Each direction I viewed beautiful scenes, all special and familiar to my mind.
But a bit confused as I looked to the south, the country had yet to be defined.

Then off in the distance a man on a horse, and was trailed by a riderless mount.
The hair stood on the back of my neck, each pounding heartbeat I could count.

There was never a doubt of his destination; he seemed headed right straight for my soul.
He rode old long-toothed flea bit grey, behind him a buckskin with socks black as coal.

He introduced himself as “Gabby”, claimed he was and old acquaintance of mine.
I searched my memory long and hard, though his name and face I could not find.

“No ya aint gonna remember me, but ya gotta trust me cause I know ya fairly well.
“You can kind-of say I kept ya, nearer to heaven’s gates and away from the pits of hell.”

“You’ve been somewhat of a handful though and pulled some stupid no brained stunts.
Most of life’s lessons I’ve tried to teach you, well at learnin’ it’s taken more than once.”

“But our keeper has made us a promise, and with you he’s done well more than his part.
I’ve even questioned your destiny, then the Master reminds me of the good in your heart.”

“That’s enough said for now” Gabby says, “ mount up, we gotta head south for a gate.
Ole impatient Pete is will be a’waitin’ on us, and trust me we sure don’t wanna be late.”

“He’s the one that says whether you come or go, and has a list of your good deeds and crimes.
“And the ole coot has a silly but hard ole rule, to be there before rooster crows three times.”

“Hold on Gabby, just one simple question, is this journey of mine the gates of hell or heaven?”
“No, it’s just a big ole spread of ranch down south, that carries the brand of the circle seven.”

Together in stride in a long fast trot, grasping the reins with hand that continues to quiver.
Then we come to the banks of clay stained water, I could swear we just crossed the Red River.

We crossed the prairies to find rocky hills, then to country that stirred my passion the most.
Was flat, sandy land, scattered with oak motts and brush, in the wind I could smell the coast.

Country where a labor of love is beyond comprehension, as we dodge the thicket and thorn.
Where your blood and the sweat bonds with the land, it’s a special place that few will adorn.

I see cattle scattered about but just for a moment, then to the brushy motts they disappear.
And suddenly I see the hip brand circle seven, wondering if my final destination was near.

We crossed a dry creek carved by tropical storms, then around a tank where the water was low.
For a moment it was as quiet as I can ever remember, then the silence broke with a rooster crow.

Gabby looked serious as he spurred ole grey, as the rooster cackled his second verse.
Gabby grumbled, “ Come on you flea bit snide,” with a bit of panic I thought the worst.

With the gate now in sight I gave the buckskin the reins, just to arrive in the nick of time.
Only two crows of the rooster was my triumph, knowing a third could be my final crime.

The gate was plain and common; the words Pearl Pasture were painted on a board.
Inlaid in gold was the brand circle seven, then pondered is this where I meet the Lord?

Pete impatiently flipped through pages, of some sort of a leather bound tally book.
Pete opened the gate and waved us through, just as the rooster his third crow he took.

Gabby then said, ”That was a bit of a close call, then gave me an ornery wink and a grin.
And as far as your destiny you need to always remember, there is no beginning or end.”

Now with a moment to try and absorb, this bewildered journey that I seemed to be on.
I saw a narrow path just ahead in the brush, and then realized Pete and Gabby were gone.

I took a deep breath to fill a soul of confusion, wondering what the next moment would entail.
Then pushed the reins forward and the buckskin moved out, and followed the light traveled trail.

I saw vast herds of cattle, broodmares with fancy colts, and cowboys of various styles.
And stayed close to the trail of unknown destination, with no measure of time or miles.

Then a silhouette of a chuck wagon and a picket line where the remuda was tied.
As the buckskin’s ears perked to attention as he nickered and picked up his stride.

Now in my view a large group of cows, which appeared to be held by twelve men.
My heart pounded with honor and passion, to sort the pairs without the use of a pen.

The twelve held the cattle in calm behavior, as a man on a Grulla Steed eased into the herd.
Then cuts the dry cow from the group in perfection and never a need for motion or word.

He was a line back mouse colored steed, with little fox ears that were black on the tip.
Black stripes like a zebra above his four socks with a short back and an extra long hip.

The grulla was abundant with cow savvy and sense, though his talent appeared to be green.
Though the man with the reins knew how to handle him, and was the best I’ve ever seen.

When the grulla was asked for all that he had, his temper flared with a bolt of rejection.
But the man with the reins in calm demeanor, settled the grulla with patience and affection.

He knew when to snatch a rein to get his attention, and when to drop them to have his way.
As the sorting went from rebellious behavior, combining labor with a sense of child’s play.

I watched till the last animal was sorted, when suddenly Gabby rode up to my side.
We both commented on the potential of the grulla and how much fun he’d be to ride.

“I’m glad you found the trail” Gabby said, “The decision was for your future and fate.
“There are several that get to that point, only to turn back and go back through the gate.”

Then the man on the grulla motioned to me, as a chill turned to a shiver down my back.
Who was this man and what did he want, what will I say or just how I’m supposed to act.

The closer I got the sky glistened like gold, to where I could not see the man’s face.
I reached for my faith and all fear vanished, now overcome with wonderful grace.

“Here’s your horse,” he said, only to see as I reached for the reins a nail scar in his hand.
Then awoke in a cold sweat of shiver and fear, did I just dream or journey to another land.

Now overcome with conviction I prayed to the Lord, for guidance to all the journeys ahead.
Then was overcome by a peace like no other, then off to sleep as I lay back down in the bed.

Now each and every morning, I pray for guidance as I plan my daily course.
And always ask the question in prayer. Lord, you still ridin’ that grulla horse.

Lord I ask for your comfort and guidance, take these reins and I follow your lead.
And I’ll be waiting so whenever you’re ready, for me to straddle the grulla steed.
Mel was a great man and truly missed by all who knew him. I especially loved his Wal-Mart peom. :D
Do you have his book "No Trophy on His Belt"? I always loved The Bull & the Pickup
I have his book somewhere but I haven't seen it in a coupke of years anyway. I like almost all of his stuff. He had a way of really captivating an audience.
Mel was a great man. I always enjoyed hearing him recite his poetry, especially at the TLBAA World Show.