For The Men That Ride The Trail
On The Back Porch
By Ol’ Jim Cathey
Reflecting on the happenings of the past year, my thoughts took a wide swing and I found myself reminiscing about the courageous women and men that rode the trail as our past caught up with today. Ancestors that we never had a chance to meet, yet they were instrumental in shaping our lives and our way of life.
Yes, we could go back to our great-great grandparents, but it started centuries before that. All the way back to the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve. That ol’ devil tricked Eve into taking a bite of that apple, okay, call it forbidden fruit if you want to.
That act was close to being the first step in forming the nucleus of how future generations of humans would behave. That simple act of disobedience spread like oil on water, until we find today's worldliness being complacent with a myriad of human interactions.
Yet, along the way, we find that many times a hero will step up and yank a kink out of our trails and head us along that straightened path until we begin to sag and meander down an available “rabbit hole” because it seemed to be easier.
Well, I thank God that there have been and will continue to be numerous heroes that have the courage and grit to take the “bull by the horns'' as they try to re-establish our direction.
Through the years, there have been many women and men that have accepted the leadership role and attempted to give us new direction, though sometimes we have become so embroiled in the “easy way” that we tend to resist the efforts to change a way of life that history shows will lead to destruction.
I know that there are men and women that not only have the gift of leadership and wisdom, as-well-as, the grit and determination to get the job done.
An essential element in this combination is vision, and when you mix these traits together, you will find an exceptional person. Then, if that person has an inherent desire to reach a known goal, they will have a possibility of reaching success!
Even then, it is not guaranteed. But, given these traits, to fail means that this individual will re-evaluate and make another try.
The men and women that rode the trail often had to re-think and re-start to get us to this point in our history. If you fancy yourself as one that cares about the direction for future generations, step up and become “one that rides the trail!”
My own life was largely directed by some that “rode the trail.” My Great Grandpa, James Allen Weathers brought the word of the Lord to the folks that settled the Llano Estacado, the high plains of Texas, as an itinerant Baptist preacher in the late 1800s.
My Granddad, Papa Hop, taught his family to laugh, live, and love despite harsh conditions. Traits that our family still exhibit and teach to new generations.
Papa Hop often had to help me up and tell me, “Bub, you gotta get back on, for your own self-respect and to complete that bronc’s education!”
I was all of four years old, but that was one ornery and meaner than heck stick horse! Take your spill but get back on.
My parents and my young bride Stella’s parents were a part of the “Greatest Generation” a time that furnished many that “rode the trail.” Without a doubt, we have all been influenced by “the men and women that rode the trail.”
I will finish with an expression used many times throughout history. “It ain’t the easy way, but it’s the cowboy way!” Will history record you as One That Rode the Trail? America’s future depends on you!
For The Men That Ride The Trail
Mornings dawn at break-o-day, to greet folk in a special way,
Like as not, the wind will wail.
Cold an’ crisp or wet an’ gray, it’s yours to do with nought to say,
For the men that ride the trail.
The cow boss there with his twine, each rider quick to give their sign,
An’ then his loop will sail.
You saddle up an’ then opine, a cowboy’s job is not to whine,
Solemn are the men that ride the trail.
Cantankerous cook has coffee hot, biscuits an’ meat in the pot,
Hunger surrounds you like a veil.
Bear sign that hits the spot, you’ll fill your belly like as not,
You are the men that ride the trail.
The Cow boss lays out his plan, creeks an’ valleys an’ where they span,
Brush an’ canyon, hill an’ dale.
Obstacles to every man, but you ride out to do what you can,
Tough are the men that ride the trail.
The cold is sharp an’ breath will fog, ponies hump but soon will jog,
An’ move along with swish of tail.
Then slow to a steady slog, like a monotonous analogue,
Hard men that ride the trail.
The grandeur of the mornin’ unfolds, with changin’ colors of blues an’ golds
The fresh scent of sage to inhale.
Clingin’ shadows steady holds, but, soon sun will heat mornin’ colds,
These men that ride the trail.
Cowboys see God’s beauty throughout, leaves one thankful with nary a doubt,
The cowboy way like unto the Holy Grail.
‘Cuz cowboys work with whoop an’ shout, knowin’ God’s Grace is all about,
Grateful men that ride the trail.
Then the mavericks in a hush, holdin’ tight, but soon they’ll flush,
Their stealthy tactics always fail.
An’ from their lair they will rush, crashin’ from the underbrush,
Snared by the men that ride the trail.
An’ thus unfolds a cowboys time, the things of which he makes a rhyme,
An’ therein lies the tale.
The joy he considers prime, the western way, a life sublime,
Western men that ride the trail!
© Ol’ Jim Cathey 2019 Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering
Inspired by 2019 Durango Gathering’s poster painting titled “Riding Out to Meet the Day” by Tim Cox.
God Bless the Women and Men that ride the trail! God Bless each of you and God Bless America!