COWBOY POETRY: The Handshake

Bryce Angell is a cowboy poet. Angell was raised on a farm/ranch in the St. Anthony, Idaho area with approximately 75 head of horses. Horses remain an important part of Angell's life. Angell shares his poetry with Cache Valley Daily every Friday.

He sat behind the table, all his guns laid in a row.  I’d spotted him, across the room, at our yearly town gun show.

His dark black beard and solid frame were daunting at first sight.  Then I noticed his old shotgun.  Looked to brighten up my night.

The grizzled man stared at me, then he handed me the gun.  He said, “She’s sure a beauty.  Take a closer look for fun.”

A Remington 870 with shorter barrel to boot.  Had the butt snugged to my shoulder when I asked, “How does it shoot?”

He offered me a smile, and then he pinched another chew.  He said, “There ain’t none better.  This old gun is meant for you”

I slightly uttered, “What’s the price?”  He asked a worthy fare.  But my wallet fell a little short.  I’d spent the cash elsewhere.

I feared someone would snatch the shotgun if I stepped away.  So, I asked how much he’d need to hold while getting cash to pay.

He reached, then opened up a hand.  His grip as hard as lead.  “A handshake’s all I need today.”  And he meant just what he said.

His eyes dang near looked through me.  A keen but gentle look.  Pure honesty conveyed to me.  And a handshake’s all it took.

I found the nearest ATM and pulled out all my cash.  I hurried back so doggone fast!  A record ten-yard dash!

His shotgun now belonged to me.  The gunsmith held his word.  Another handshake clinched the deal.  A marvel had occurred.

‘Cuz I’d found someone who wasn’t always out for number one.  His handshake was his moral creed.  An act that’s all but done.

Now, when I shake another’s hand.  Dang sure he’ll get my eye.  And if he’s thinking talk is cheap.  My handshake’s not lie.

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