Long have I waited for the time
When opportunity I’d find
The story of old Hal to trace
Through some of his eventful days.
Now this, I vow, is not a lie
And my endeavors are to try
To keep my composition free
From all untruth and heresy.
Part 1: The Bicycle
When Hal was just a little tot
He was far from the common lot.
It seemed that he could find no joy
In things that pleased the other boy.
I’m sure that this will bring remorse,
But once old Hal possessed a horse.
Religiously twice every day
He’d water her and give her hay.
One day, while thinking of his steed,
Said he, “She eats a lot of feed.
My other bills then I could meet
If my conveyance did not eat!”
So on he thought on this same track;
He thought it through, then thought it back.
“I’ll sell my horse,” said he, “and hike;
Or better still, I’ll get a bike.”
So ’round the countryside he drug
In search of one who’d buy his plug.
That one he found and soon agreed
To take the bike and leave the steed.
Now, unprepared for what it’s like
To tour the country on a bike,
Hal pedaled over hill and vale
Until his strength began to fail.
With every ounce of vigor gone,
He simply couldn’t pedal on.
He stopped to rest beside a bush
And then commenced his homeward push.
With every step his burden grew,
And he began to sadly rue
The trade on which he had agreed;
He yearned to ride his faithful steed.
At last he reached the old homestead
And parked the bike within the shed.
His body ached, remembering
Each mile he’d pushed the hated thing.
Now, unbeknownst to Hal and me,
Our dad had bought a Model T.
As Hal collapsed upon the ground,
The proud new owner drove from town.
But Papa hadn’t formed a plan
On how to stop or where to land
So, as the shed came into sight,
He didn’t recognize his plight.
He confidently hollered “WHOA!”
But his new buggy didn’t slow.
On through the shed the Ford careened
And smashed Hal’s bike to smithereens!
I’ll leave this story for a spell,
For better things I have to tell.
I’ll tell about an episode
That happened on a mule he rode.
Part 2: The Buckaroo
One day he said, “Doggoned my hide,
I think I’ll take a little ride.”
He got his rope and hat and spur,
And caught the mule and saddled her.
Before he left to me he said,
“My lily cheeks will turn bright red.
Shame and disgrace will come my way
If I don’t make a catch today.”
He climbed aboard, I swung the gate,
And down the road he went in haste.
Along the road were posts that hence
Supported wire to make a fence.
Now to the saddle horn was tied
One end of rope, and by his side
He held the other unattached,
In preparation for the catch.
Before he reached the bois d’arc tree
He turned around and cried to me,
“I’m comin’ in, but don’t you fret,
I’ll make a catch of somethin’ yet!”
The mule with speed came down the track;
Her tail was high, her ears were back.
The leather creaked, the metal rung,
The stirrups clanged, the lasso sung.
Old Hal stuck tight just like a vet,
With naught to snare in sight as yet.
The mule had surely smelled the corn,
For she was headin’ for the barn.
Now just before they reached the place
Where Hal would meet with much disgrace,
He closed his eyes and threw his rope;
His last resort, his only hope.
The loop came open with much grace
And elegantly reached the place
That once the wire had occupied,
And caught a post on all four sides.
His rope now tied at either end,
Oh what a fix old Hal was in!
The mule was headin’ for her stall,
But Hal was headin’ for a fall.
And when it came, oh dreadful day,
Hal and the mule went separate ways.
The mule went on as she had planned,
But Hal went down into the sand.
He laid there for a little while,
Then looked at me and sorta smiled.
He said, “I’LL TELL YOU WHAT’S THE TRUTH:
DON’T CATCH THINGS THAT YOU CAN’T TURN LOOSE!”
And then I thought I heard him say,
“I’ve been a cowboy many a day.
While bustin’ broncos, I’ve been thrown
So high that birds built on my dome.”
“I’ve handled steers of every kind,
The roughest, toughest you can find.
The Brahma, Longhorned, Shorthorned stuff,
I”ve thrown ’em down and tied ’em up.”
“So, from my story you can see,
I have not lived a life of ease.
Although I’ve borne my share of pain,
I have not been one to complain.”
“Now, I must answer to the cry
That’s comin’ to me from on high.
I faintly hear the angels sing;
Alas, the bells begin to ring.”
“Today the Lord has called me home;
No more the open range I’ll roam.
My one regret is this, I say:
I wish He’d called me yesterday!”