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RON W. BROWN
Louisville, Kentucky
About Ron W. Brown

 

 

Punch

From out of the West
Come tales by the score
Of cowboys and dogs;
Here's one more.

It's about bowlegged Hager
And a heeler named Punch
Who was far and away
The best of the bunch.

Haig broke a colt
For a fella named Bogg
And when it came time to pay
All he had was this dog;

A two-year-old Aussie
With a head like a bear
And from nose-tip to tail
Was wearing blue hair.

One lip was ripped,
He was blind in one eye.
Old Haig looked him over
And let out a sigh.

"Well, I feel like a fool
If the truth was to tell,
'Cause when I broke your colt
I broke me as well.

But, if the best you can do's
This snaggle toothed winner,
If worse comes to worse,
We can have him for dinner!"

Well, all of us hands
Laughed fit to bust
'Till red faced Old Hager
Started to cuss;

"You S.O.B's.'ll soon eat your words
When you see how much help he'll be working' the herds.
According to Bogg he's cowdog clear through.
Heck, there ain't' nothing this puncher can't do.

Why, he's three-quarters wolf
and eight-sixteenth's fox
and if I told him to
he'd put you in a box!"

But the first time we worked him
On cow and on calf
Punch pulled the cork
And we spilled about half.

"Boy, you sure been took",
We jibed the poor thing.
Get a canary,
At least it can sing."

Haig would've shot him
If we hadn't tied the man down
And Punch came to be
Our favorite clown.

It went on that way
For the rest of the season
Until Punch changed my tune
For this very reason:

I was knockin' a hole
Through one frosty morn'
To get me a loop
On an old mossy horn.

I dallied twice 'round
Slid my horse to a stop,
And when the slack tightened up
My cinch went "Pop!"

I took to the air
Still sitting my rig
And finally found out
Why Montana's so big.

I came to in the brush
With a mouth-full of mud
And looked up at a steer
That was hunting for blood.

He covered his back
With fresh real estate
Then started charging
Like a runaway freight.

I began praying while
Awaiting the jolt
When out of somewhere
Came a blue lighting bolt.

Where he had come from
I don't rightly care
I just thank my stars
That Old Punch was right there.

He got a mouthful of nose,
Clamped down good and sound,
With that steer bawling
And mauling poor Punch on the ground.

The steer called it quits
And lit out for the well
With Punch on his heels
Just giving him hell!

When he limped back to me
And lay down by my side
There were bruises and cuts
All over his hide.

I pulled him up close,
Used my hat for a shade,
Then made quite a list
Of mistakes I had made.

Haig and the guys found us
As the sun left the sky
And, I'm not shamed to say, boys,
There were tears in my eyes.

A few evenings later
While just standing around,
Some guy made a joke about
"That lazy old hound."

After I'd set him down
On his silly behind
I said, "Watch what you say
He's a good friend of mine."

Punch wagged his tail
To see me so riled.
As for Haig?  He said nothing,
He just sorta smiled.


2004, Ron W. Brown
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

We asked Ron how he came to write this poem, and after he gave us a bit of  bio (below) he said: I partnered up with a good buddy who remains so today in spite of the fact he quit cowboying and became a lawyer in Sheridan, Wyoming. He had a blue heeler named Punch who was the smartest, most loyal dog I've ever had the pleasure to know.

To watch him work cattle was a treat.  At the command "get em Punch", he'd work his magic. Punch was Hollywood's idea of what a dog should be. Loyal as hell to my buddy and just as loyal to anybody who was a friend of his.

The incident in the poem is a bit of a stretch of facts, but it captures the kind of dog Punch was. He did in fact actually save my butt from a drugged
out guy I caught breaking into a car one night when Punch was with me for a walk. The guy came at me with a screwdriver and all I did was say "get em Punch."  Suffice it say I have no screwdriver holes in me anywhere.

One summer's day in Sheridan when Punch was 14 he lay down to take a nap at my buddy's home and never woke up.  He was laid to rest on my pal's spread near the corrals where he can watch the horses graze.  Very fitting.

About Ron W. Brown:

I'm 62 yrs old but 100 years and 100 pounds ago, back in the early '70s, I took my horsemanship abilities out West and spent a few years living out of
my pickup and cowboying on ranches in Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and Arizona just to get it out of my system before settling down to a "normal" life.

My most memorable time was spent on the Padlock Ranch, headquartered in Dayton, Wyoming. The Scott family owned and/or leased 250,000 acres of plains spreading into Montana to north of the Custer battlefield. They ran about 20,000 head of black baldies and, between cowboys, feedlot crews, fencing crews, haying crews and maintenance crews, employed over 150 guys.

 

 

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