About Leland Parker
The SilverbellyI was sittin at the steamer cleaning someone else's Black Gold
When I looked up at a young cowboy standing in front of me, not very old
The hat he was holding in his hand was an old Silverbelly
It was crushed and full of stains and I looked at him and said "Really?"
He said "Can you clean my Grandpa's hat? I know it's really dirty"
I said "It'll take me a while and it's already five-thirty"
But I said "Sure, it won't put me that far off track
But tell me son, I need to know when does your Grandpa need it back?"
He looked at me and said through his sad green eyes
"Oh, you don't understand mister, my Grandpa has died"
I got a lump in my throat holding that hat in my hand
Looking at all the stains caused by cattle, dirt and sand
I said "See this thumb stain right here under the brim?
That's where your Grandpa grabbed it when he took it off of him
Probably at a rodeo when the American flag went by...
Or at the hunting lease when he fanned the campfire high...
Maybe on Main Street after a breakfast of eggs and ham...
He passed a lady, took it off and said good mornin ma'am"
He looked at me and said as if I'd hit the nail on the head...
"Yep, that was my Grandpa mister, just the way you said."
I said "Son, if that was my Grandpa's hat, I wouldn't change a thing at all
I'd take it home with me and find a place for it on the wall
And every time you walked by and saw it hanging there...
I'm sure you'd think of something that you and his memory could share"
So I took the hat and handed it back to him...
He reached out and grabbed it by the stain on the brim
He put it on his head and as he walked through the door..
He stopped and said "Thank you mister, I love it that much more!"
© 2012, Leland Parker, All Rights Reserved
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's permission.
Leland told us: The inspiration for this poem comes from an accumulation of several instances of someone bringing their father's or grandfather's hat in to be cleaned. A personal touch to me is the reference of the thumb stain on the brim. My grandfather rolled his own Prince Albert cigarettes and his thumb and forefingers were stained with tobacco and he always had a thumb stain on his hat.
About Leland Parker
I am Leland Parker. Born in Cuero, Texas, I now reside in Thornton, Texas. I have three kids and two grand kids.
I have been shaping my own hats since high school and started doing friends hats also. I also have been the "Seasonal Hatman" at Cavenders on 290 in Houston for a little over 20 years. I start each year before Christmas and work thru Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo in March. I have made a lot of friends during this process.
What's New | Poems | Search
Features | Events
The BAR-D Roundup | Cowboy Poetry Week
Subscribe | Newsletter | Contact Us
Authors retain copyright to their work; obtain an author's
permission before using a poem in any form.
CowboyPoetry.com is a project of the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry, Inc., a Federal and California tax-exempt non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization.
Site copyright information