God directed you on this path
I recently had the honor of being asked to write the Foreword for my friend, David Smith’s new book of his own original cowboy poetry that he titled Truth and Wealth.
We developed this friendship after I retired and began to travel the western trails of cowboy poetry gatherings where my young bride Stella and I have had the good fortune of meeting and interacting with many “Salt of the Earth” folks.
Friends that we might have never met had we not taken the road less traveled.
Of course, I would be remise if I didn’t mention my old fishing pard, J.C. Penney and his wife Donna.
We both started the cowboy poetry trail about the same time, writing and reciting at cowboy poetry gatherings, often in historic places. Some grand friendships were developed such as ours with David and Pat Smith and I thank God that He guided our pathway in this direction. David’s book release was held at the Nicholas P. Sims Library & Lyeceum in Waxahachie, Texas. Following is the Foreword to Truth and Wealth, David’s book.
Truth and Wealth
Gather around my friends, to hear,
To laugh, and maybe blink a tear,
As heavenly stars twinkle their light,
With vivid visions brought to sight,
That stand to meet this earthly test,
The spark in kindred soul ignite,
Bringin’ mem’rys meant to delight,
And your fantasies to endear,
By the words of the Bard upon your ear,
As he brings alive the heritage of the West!
Words are just not adequate to describe a chance meeting of this artist with his exuberant and outgoing nature. No, it is more like a moment in your destiny when you realize that God has directed the crossing of your paths to turn this moment in time to a predestined decree from eternity. And that is just how my young bride Stella, and I met David and Pat! We found kindredship through Christian fellowship that allowed us to show our love for our churches and the Grace of Jesus Christ.
Pat, with her Catholic affiliation and David, through affiliation with the Methodist Church and its history that includes the Circuit Riders, which gives volumes of material for cowboy poetry. Stella and I, with our Baptist history and great grandfathers that were preachers, one in the Baptist Church and one in the Methodist Church.
We were two ships in the night carrying the same cargo destined to merge in a lifetime friendship welded by our love for the prose and rhyme of our ancestors and our western heritage. David and I both shared a passion for writing and reciting and the preservation of the “cowboy way!”
How do you describe David Smith? He was born in Dallas in the early 1950s and raised in Waxahachie where he graduated from high school and then attended the University of Texas Arlington in the early 1970’s destined to eventually takeover and 45 years later retire from his father’s flooring business in Waxahachie. During this time, he married his love, Patricia French, and together they raised their family. Throughout this time in his life, David was involved with church and civic activities such as volunteering as a docent with the Dallas Museum of Art.
Much of David’s time was consumed by grandchildren and his love for early spring’s magnificent display of the many varieties and colors of the irises that put the crowning touch on his bountiful gardens.
Actually, to describe David Smith involves more than is capable from the written word or even a chance to listen to his narrative. It is to experience his pure joy as he presents the artistic beauty of those by gone days setting the stage to allow our heritage to expand and build to glorious pinnacles of human nature. Yes, you sense the daunting courage emanating from the very being of hardy settlers as they forged ahead toward uncertainty to meet and conquer the unknown beyond the horizon. These are the resilient souls that sought a better life offered by the free-flowing current of adventure.
You will learn, as you read David’s work, that he has a passion for wordsmithing that spreads in many directions, from historical fact to whimsical fiction and from serious drama to humorous episodes.
You will applaud the minute detail applied to a tale of historical importance, yet run the gamut of emotions from a belly laugh to anger and a feeling of relief to blinking a tear as characters draw you into an extension of their lives. You will experience David’s pure joy as you listen to his recitations of his written work depicting life in yesteryear.
Listen and your imagination will hear the lowing of the longhorn, the crack of a whip, and the whistle of a drover. This will blend with the shrill cry of a red-tailed hawk or the constant push of the wind accented by the pleasant creak of the saddle and the nicker of a sidekick’s horse. You will fear the scent of rain from an approaching thunderstorm with its streaking lightning and booming thunder that might precipitate a stampede.
You will relish the early morning smells of coffee and smoke from Cookie’s fire and thrill to the thunder of pounding hooves from the remuda being herded toward a rope corral as cowboys select mounts in the cool crispness of an autumn morn. And soon, you will see the straggling column of beeves winding down the valley across a sea of waving grass, traveling in the right direction because Cookie pointed the wagon tongue toward the North Star before he turned in for the night.
David’s poems show not only his love for the preservation of the western heritage, but also for people as he brings out the humanity of his subjects through their successes and failures, their trials and tribulations, and their joys and satisfactions. You see this as you experience the interactions, excitement, sorrows, and acceptance of their plight. Or find in explicit instructions such as those given to Thaddeus and Nathan as they crossed a creek in Ellis County, Texas, where they saw an old woman stringing beans out front in her yard. And she calls out, “That’s Mr. Chambers’ creek you’re acrossin’. Keep them critters amovin’, you do not want him to come abossin’.” You see the inadequacies of a child, with the realization that his elder’s boots may be hard to fill, but destiny will have him fill Daddy’s Sunday shoes! And you see how a youngster’s fantasies allow him to take on the posture of a cowboy and experience “cowboy grit,” even to learning how to spit, and becoming a cowboy hero in his own mind!
And the true humanity of a cowboy that “raises his hands in praise to thank the Lord above for all His grace and gifts and for His unconditioned love.” So, take a deep seat an’ get a faraway look in your eye because you are going to enjoy the ride! David Smith’s book covers the gauntlet of emotions, humanity, and reality as it entertains and helps to preserve our western heritage.
© Ol’ Jim Cathey
Truth and Wealth will be available at the Waxahachie Chautauqua Event September 30, 2023.
Mark your calendars, come join us, enjoy some great cowboy music and cowboy poetry!
God continues to give His blessings to us in abundance!
God bless each of you and God Bless America!