The Sewin' Cowboy  
by Michael L. Charters  

I remember years ago
When my pappy learned to sew,
And the other cowboys ragged him night and day.
But I was just a buckaroo,
And I 'spose I ragged him too,
For doin' women's work to supplement his pay.

He tried to make me see
That a man is always free
To do any kind of work that he respected.
But the ranch hands they was tough,
And their ways was mostly rough,
And a sewin' cowboy just weren't what they expected.

I feared what they would say
As I saddled up my gray,
And I didn't want them gettin' down on me.
So I laughed along with them
As he repaired a tattered hem,
When all I really wanted was to flee.

The sharp wire on the fences
Often pricked those cowboys' senses,
And tore holes in their dusty pants.
Their disputes was always scrappy,
So they brought the clothes to pappy
Which was needed to go to town for the monthly dance.

He had a way with stitches,
And would mend those cowboys' britches
So you couldn't even tell that they was tore.
And the work the cowboys done
As they chased cows on the run
Always kept them to bringin' him some more.

I used to watch him sew
As his hands would go and go
With that needle that went deftly in'n'out.
But as I saw him growing older,
With more pains in that thar shoulder,
I began to have the beginnin's of a doubt.

I'd see the cowboys jeer
As he cut out a rangy steer,
And wheel his horse across that bone-dry plain.
And he started to gettin' mad
That they treated him so bad,
When all they had to do was thank him now and then.

His sure was not a common skill,
And one day he'd 'bout had his fill
Of always havin' 'em act so doggone mean.
So he came up with a plan,
And went round from man to man,
And gathered up all their tattered jeans.

While they was off and ridin',
He sat there down by the sidin',
And he rightly grinned from dawn to noon.
He shore knew that come next Friday,
They'd most be clean and tidy,
Headin' into town to Crusty Bill's Saloon.

He knew that all that dancin',
And their energetic prancin'
Would put a strain on the seams he sewed.
So he played a little trick
While they was down the crick,
R'membering how they joked and crowed.

Come the ev'nin' after payday,
His old wrinkled face was gay,
As he saddled up his apaloosa mare.
He sang a little song,
And he told me to come along.
I could tell that there was somethin' in the air.

Crusty Bill's Saloon was mighty crowded,
And there was no one there that doubted
That a good time would be had by all.
The piana player played,
And the light began to fade,
And the bargirls filled the place from wall to wall.

Now it were Tall Tom's pants went first,
But that shorely weren't the worst,
And soon those cowpokes were hoppin' everywhere.
Their faces was all red,
And they wisht that they was dead,
As they tried to keep their legs from bein' bare.

My pappy sat there smilin'
As those cowhands started pilin'
Out the swingin' door of Crusty Bill's Saloon.
And the bargirls they was a'howlin',
While Bill's old mutt was yowlin',
And the piana player plunked out another tune.

Well, it 'pears they learnt a lesson,
And my pappy kept them guessin'
When they brought him their old clothes to mend.
You see, they couldn't take no chance
Of droppin' down their pants,
And they started treatin' him like he's a friend.

My old pappy died last autumn,
But the lesson that he taught 'em
Shore weren't forgot by those old wranglin' boys.
Now I'm the one they look for,
When their dirty pants is tore,
And they never, ever, make a bit of noise.

© 2010 M. Charters, Sierra Madre, CA.