The Old-Timer


He showed up in the springtime, when the geese began to honk;

He signed up with the outfit, and we fattened up his bronk;

His chaps were old and tattered, but he never seemed to mind,

‘Cause for worryin’ and frettin’ he had never been designed;

He’s the type of cattle-puncher that has vanished now, of course,

With his hundred-dollar saddle on his twenty-dollar horse.

He never seemed to bother over fortune’s ups and downs,

And he never quit his singin’ when the gang was full of frowns;

He would lose his roundup money in an hour of swift play,

But he never seemed discouraged when he ambled on his way.

He would hit the trail a-singin’, and his smile was out full force,

Though he’d lost his fancy saddle and he didn’t have a horse.

I have wondered where he wanders in these late, degenerate years,

When there are no boundless ranges, and there are no long-horn steers;

But I’ll warrant he is cheerful, though unfriendly is the trail,

And his cigarette is flowing, though his grub supply may fail,

For he had life’s happy secret?—?he had traced it to the source

In his hundred-dollar saddle on his twenty-dollar horse.

Excerpted from Out Where the West Begins, 1917 by Arthur Chapman