Now that you’re ninety-seven, God could take you any day. So, Dad I’m
contemplating ‘bout the words I’m gonna say.
I guess I’d like to thank you for the time you’ve spent with me. You gave more
than a father owes to a knucklehead like me.
My mind reflects, when I was young, back in the Yellowstone. We’d camp next to
the Bechler, not a light bulb or a phone.
You’d feed the men your sourdough of hot cakes golden brown. I’d tend the
grazing horses. Sometimes tack a horseshoe down.
When alone at camp you taught me how to play at five card stud. Said, “Don’t
ever trust the dealer, never know when there’s bad blood.
“And there ain’t no room for cheatin’. Learn to read the cards you’re dealt. ‘Cuz
any man who cheats at cards deserves his father’s belt!”
When all the men were in their tents we’d sleep out under stars. The time with
you meant more to me than pretty girls or cars.
I won’t forget your Short Cut and old Stretch my trusty steed. We’d ride the trails
then hurry back to cook a campfire feed.
Well Dad, I’d like to ask you when you reach the other side. Round up Stretch and
Short Cut; get ‘em ready for a ride.
And find two high-back saddles that ain’t weathered from the rain. Then we’ll sit
straight in the saddle riding free of earthly pain.
Search for a heavenly trail that never saw a hoof or face, which leads you by a
river near the sky of open space.
We’ll pack our fishing rods, black licorice in each saddle bag. Then ride the
mountain trail in hopes of never coming back.
So, give me time and through God’s grace this life I’ll too defy. Then one day you
and I can share a trail ride in the sky.