About Dan Faught
BANKIN WITH AN OLD COWBOY
I met an old cowboy in front of the bank today,
He was acting hesitant, and unsure of himself
In an old-timer's kind of way.
I could tell that he knew about cattle and horses
and keeping pastures green. . .
But he didn't have a clue about working that ATM machine!
Now, I thought about minding my own business you see,
But that old peeler was fast losing his dignity.
Cowboys are my heros, Rough, Tough and Strong,
And watching him fumble around, well, it was just wrong!
So I said, "Could I help you out old pard?
These here new fangled machines can be tricky and hard!"
"Well," he said slowly, "I just come to get some of my pay,
I've got my card here but. . ." Then his voice just trailed away.
I asked if he knew his P.I.N., as I pointed to the slot for his card to go in.
He slowly poked in those digits while I politely stared at the ground.
And. . .
For that moment there was silence between us with nary a sound.
Then he said, "I usually do my banking with the ladies inside,
But, my pickup had a flat and it slowed down my ride.
I sensed his embarrassment as he reached for his dough,
So I quickly changed the subject and asked,
"Do you think its going to snow?"
He spit some chew, and looked at the sky
He paused, shook his head and let out a sigh.
I knew it was his turn to teach and to shout, for weather in the West
Was a topic this old puncher knew something about!
"Naw!" he said, almost with a bawl, "first snow won't fly
till later this fall. . .
Them clouds are too light, they'll just be drifting on by."
He paused for a bit and let out another sigh.
Then we talked of breakin horses and best ways to treat cattle,
Then we even talked about the right way to care for your saddle!
As we talked about ranchin and country ways,
I heard the proud old cowboy speak of better days.
He talked of cold mountain mornings, roaming meadows and streams,
And driving the great herds of cattle and chasing a young man's
This cowboy's voice was now ringing steady and true
As he recalled the glories and struggles that he'd been through.
Seems he started punchin when he was just thirteen.
He worked for his old man and the neighbors
And got his schoolin in-between.
He wanted me to know that he saddle-bummed for a few years just to
make his way,
That there were lots of long hard hours and not too much pay!
Then he spoke of learning the lessons of a cowboy's life.
"Some smarts," he said, "come pretty easy and others, only with some
pain and strife."
The rancher said, "Cowboy knowledge can come from the strangest
sources, and son, I've learned from the the best of men and the sorriest of
I asked him of all the lessons he'd learned each day if he had a bit of
wisdom to throw my way.
He paused, as he thought, "Well shucks," he said, "You're a sharp
young man who's found his head, I can see you're well on the road,
But, since you asked, here's a thought I might unload. . ."
"Its not important if what you learn makes you rich or poor,
But just ask yourself. . ., What's this learning really for?"
"If it has a purpose and heeding it will make you a better man,
then learn it well, for its part of the maker's plan." His voice again was
steady and did not sway.
"Some things you learn can come back," he said, "in a funny kind of way."
"Now, I'm sure your modern skills with this bank machine
are no big deal,
But son, you don't know how good your help made this old cowboy feel."
He shook my hand and climbed into his pickup door.
He said, "Thanks for your patience and teachin me what all those
gizmos and buttons were for."
I watched as his old truck slowly pulled out of the lot,
but I couldn't help
thinking what my time may have bought,
Yea, I helped the old fella you could say. . .
But, I wondered,
Who really did the teaching today?
© 1997, Dan Faught
About Dan Faught
I am a school principal in Roseburg, Oregon. I grew up on farms and ranches in southern Idaho and lived around cattlemen and ranchers most of my life. My parents stayed on their place until retirement and have now moved to town, Shoshone, Idaho.
About seven years ago, I and a fellow principal (also a country boy) in Roseburg decided we would go to Elko, Nevada to the Cowboy Poetry Gathering. We have been back each year since! I have done some writing and reciting but most of what I have done is for my own enjoyment.
I hold a Bachelor's degree in English from the University of Idaho and a Master's degree from the University of Oregon. I know enough about the language and poetry to appreciate it when I hear a real good cowboy "wordsmith." I am always amazed at the crafting and memorization of some of the older cowboys who are involved with their poetry!
My biography ends about there except to say that I have a wonderful wife and two children both grown (most of the time) now. One is a lawyer and one is a politician. Mom and I are still trying to figure out where we went wrong!
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