COLONEL JOHN M. HUTCHESON
About Colonel John M. Hutcheson
The Fast Elk
Ed Dabney, for the freezer, shot 'im an elk one Fall.
He was living out near Dubois, working for the "Hole in the Wall."
It was gettin' late, so Ed, he thought, "I'll quarter it in the morn."
But that night come a snowfall, eighteen inches of fresh corn.
Next morning Ed, he trailered up, with Penny and old Dan.
Thinkin', "Quartering and packing is lots of work, old man.
With this fresh snow I could slide it down, and take it home intact.
The shed would be much warmer, plumb dry and cozy in fact!"
"It ought to be real easy, it's downhill to my truck.
We'll have this done 'fore breakfast time, with any kind of luck."
So, up the hill he rode his horse, Dan breaking through the snow,
And found his cow elk ready, pointed downhill for the go!
Ed dropped a loop right on her head and dallied up just right.
He broke her free and turned his horse and felt things come up tight.
There was a little bench up there, and the elk it seemed to lodge.
Ed says to Dan, "Come on ol' friend, we're getting' outta Dodge!"
He touched old Dan with Texas rowels, the Honda choked down tight.
The rope, it sang like Dixie, Dan's eyes they bulged out white.
Ever had you a premonition? A blinding flash of light?
That elk came free like a NASA launch—it passed ol' Dan in flight!
Now, the rope it snarled Ed's dallies. The elk, she run up tight.
And that cow, again she passed them, only this time, on the right!
Ed and Dan are leaping, twenty meters at the bound.
Ed's fumblin' at his dallies—seemed like light years from the ground.
Old Dan's a'Grand Prix jumping, logs and five foot spruce,
Adrenaline's a'pumping, thoughts of morphine, pins and screws.
Ed saw the purple mountains, he heard the siren song.
He marveled God's creation and prayed his life be long.
But now the slope, it levels out. The truck, it is in sight.
Ed guessed he's dodged the bullet, it just might be alright.
But he's too old, too wise in fact, his victory to boast.
He thanks the gods of mercy, and that old cow-elk's ghost.
The moral of the story, friends? Wrecks happen in a flash!
Gravity can lead to problems, when you get all bold and rash.
Corn snow's like ball bearings, slick as gravy on a fork.
So keep your knife real handy, when you try to save on work!
© 2011, John M. Hutcheson
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.
Col. Hutcheson comments: Ed Dabney survived seven winters as a cowboy in Wyoming. He told me this tale of fright over dinner one evening and the next day I wrote this poem sitting on my horse on the third day of a Buck Branaman Clinic. Buck probably thought I was trying to take down every word he said. But the muse had come on me and I had to get it down on paper. So this is a cowboy special literally written in the saddle. It is funny now. But a feller can easily get crippled for life if not killed out right in a situation like this. (Thanks to Brian Brannon who tweaked the meter and encouraged me to submit the poem.)
About Colonel John M. Hutcheson:
Colonel John M. Hutcheson was raised in Mac Abercrombie's barn (www.mrmacsbarn.com) in Douglasville, Georgia.
Commissioned as an Infantry Officer from North Georgia College in 1969, "Hutch" is known in the Infantry community for always seeking to be where soldiers were and for keeping his boots "muddy." He commanded at all levels to include platoon (51st Infantry Scout Dog), company (B/1-60), battalion and brigade serving in Korea, Alaska, Central America and Europe. As a young Captain, John was Colonel H. Norman Schwartzkopf's Adjutant. As a Major he served four years in the 101st
Airborne Division. As a Lieutenant Colonel he commanded 6-502 in Berlin Germany, while the wall was still up. His battalion took casualties in the La Belle Disco bombing. Colonel Hutcheson was the senior trainer for Infantry at the National Training Center in the Mojave Desert. He was the first Chief of Staff of the Joint Readiness Training Center and Ft. Polk, Louisiana. He was the Chief of Staff of the Alaskan Command and his final tour of duty was as the Chief of Staff of the 5th U.S. Army at Fort Sam Houston. Through all of that he always managed to keep his hands on a horse.
Now as a retired soldier he raises the old foundation Morgan cow horses at Gab Creek Farm in Georgia, and is quick to tell you
that is because Morgans are distinctly American, have a great history with the U.S. Army and have a reputation of being steady under fire...to include Commanche, Little Sorrell, Traveler, and Renzi. Hutch has ridden Morgans in the Golden Trout Wilderness of the Sierra Nevadas, in the Big Bend of Texas, in the Cloud Peak Wilderness and the Platte River Wilderness in Wyoming, and has ridden them alone among the Mustangs on top of Pryor Mountain, Montana.
He is a published author with articles in Texas Wildlife, The Morgan Horse Magazine, and Military Review. Hutch gives an occasional clinic on the art of Hackamore Horsemanship but has never forgotten where he first was taught to put a leg over a horse.
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