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TIM R. "DOC" MASON
Stephenville,Texas

Featured in "The Big Roundup," an anthology of the best of CowboyPoetry.com.

 

 

The Bull Ride

Gather round here my friends
I'll tell you a tall bull ridin' tale;
It took place many years ago when
I was ridin' the Owl Hoot Trail.

"Twas the fourth of July in 1890
When I  rode into El Paso town;
A crowd was gathered in one place
So I decided to git watered down.

It seems a rodeo was takin' place
When a cowboy dared me to ride
The famous bull, never been rode;
They called him Perfect Suicide.

I had jist about enough fire water
To give me raw courage fer shore;
A better name was "pure stupid"
But I'd try eight seconds or more.

I wore them fancy Mexican spurs
With rowels like a rattlesnake fang;
When stuck in a bull only once
He'd buck 'til the glory bell rang.

It did too, when I mounted that bull
And sunk the spur deep in his neck;
The gate swung wide, he jumped outside
You'd a thought 3 trains had a wreck.

Move over Mr. Tuff Hedeman and
All you big name Champs of the bull;
This here young cowboy is on his way
To makin' a ride eight seconds full.

Now, I'm shore that Lane Frost
And many of his bull ridin' pards
Was watchin' from Bull Riders Heaven
To see if I needed to reshuffle my cards.

I was spurrin', bangin' and bouncin'
While hangin' on to 'im fer dear life;
Only four long seconds had passed,
I thought I was stabbed with a knife.

Around and up, then down with a jolt,
Old Suicide I couldn't turn loose;
He pert near fell backwards on me
Surely he'd about cooked my goose.

We neared the 8 second marker,
I had rode him longer than most;
He swung a horn, I jerked my head
And woke up when it hit my bed post.

© 1997, Tim "Doc" Mason
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Life Goes On

I guess it was his eyes that caught me
As I looked down at his wrinkled skin;
The more than 90 years had taught them
To show pleasure where pain had been.
  
"Tell me how it used to be Old Timer,"
His eyes lit up as he remembered back;
"I came to this ranch in '68," he said,
"This place was known as Tiger Track.

"We didn't know about modern things.
I was 18 when the end of the war came;
The jingler boss took me on my word.
I stayed and worked at every job the same.
    
"We ran wild horses ever now and then,
Branded cattle for shipping to the East;
Me and Acey and some boys I forget rode
Night and day. Tough on man and beast.

"We made a hand, though, so I'm told
And didn't mind we never struck it rich;
Many times we talked about leaving here
But, we forever got rid of that itch.
    
"A man needs roots, my pappy used to say.
So we stayed to work for the DOUBLE T;
We rode hard for the Brand too, Son
They don't make spreads better, you see.

"Times are a changing, Son.  It's clear
That things'll never be like they usta be;
Why last year, we rode to camp in a truck
Pulling a trailer of horses.  Can you see?
 
"The Longhorns are gone, faded years ago
And Herefords now graze in their place;
They are brown, red, and yellow and big
And have white hair all over their face.

"I miss the Texas Longhorns too, Son,
They was sturdy and tough on the trail;
I've took 'em to Dodge several times
They managed to survive without fail.  

"I'm like them Texas Longhorns, Son,
I too will soon be just out of step;
The sun rises, the sun sets as well
The body once useful no longer has pep.

"Don't fret at my passing, just look ahead,"
He said in a voice that was fadin' low;
"There's a time for going, time for staying
And I reckon its time for me to go."
    
"I thank you Old Timer." I called his name
As his eyes watered for just one last time;
"You've made my trail easier for work today"
And he passed to his new world sublime.

You see, I've since learned a lesson:
The Lord planned his world this way;
For some, it's leaving, some it's staying,
Right now, seems it's my time to stay.

While here, I've learned a lesson as well
About making life easier for those to come;
Cowboy Poets pour their hearts out in rhyme
To make life happy and pleasant for some.
  
© 1995, Tim "Doc" Mason
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

The Ostrich and the Cowboys


I remember one time, many long years ago
Me and Jake had ridden for several days;
We trailed a herd from San'tone to Dodge
Back to Red River Crossing in Texas a ways.

We wuz both leadin' two horses apiece
That we used in trailing them rangy steers;
"Jake," I says, "What say we stay awhile
And chase a girl and have a few beers."

We didn't find no girls, but beer was there
So we soused ourselves with quite a few;
We then headed south and both were shocked
When we saw what would surprise you too.

This giant of a bird, (I guess maybe it was),
Stood in the trail and stared at Jake and me;
He stood eight foot tall and had black feathers.
He had two toes where he should've had three.

Jake said "Tex, let's have us some fun"
So we loosed our ropes and slung a loop;
We both missed because his long neck
Ducked and weaved as he'd hop and stoop.

We got serious then and started to run
In circles that would wear him down;
As that ole bird headed for open spaces
Jake and me just watched with a frown.

"Hurry up, Tex! Chase him over my way,"
So I got a fresh horse and headed out;
That bird must've been going for ten miles
But he still looked to be strong and stout.
                                                         
After changing horses two or three times,
We finally got that bird by heel and head;
It was late in the day and we were tired
So we camped that night by the River Red.

Old Big Bird, as we called him that day
Stood proud and pranced around the tree;
The ropes wound around and snugged him
So me and Jake jist giggled with glee.

We both had tried to get closer at times;
Bird, he would kick and act kinda mad.
Them wings would flare out and he'd roar
'Til finally, I swore he looked so sad.

"Put a blinder on him then," said old Jake,
So I took off one boot and removed a sock;
I quietly raised it and covered his head
And Old Big Bird dropped dead as a rock.

Jake looked at me and I wondered too,
What would make that bird die so quick;
Jake took my sock off the poor bird's head
And he turned pale and began to get sick.

"I reckin I know what happened to him now,"
Said Jake as he grabbed hold of his nose;
"There's a river over there, go jump right in,
I'll furnish the soap, just wash yore clothes."

© 1992, Tim "Doc" Mason
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


The Panhandle Wind


I don't go back to the Panhandle very often
But I really miss the place where I was born;
I love to see the cotton and maize growin'
And lately the silage that's made from corn.

The place has changed over the years and
New people have replaced those that went;
I make it back there every few years it seems
And often reflect on where my youth was spent.

Some of my folks are buried out on the plains
Where I used to chase the tumblin' tumble weed;
There's a bunch of cattle feedlots all around that
Came in the '60's & '70's and filled a great need.
  
I have found over the past few years one fact
That hasn't changed, well, it won't even bend;
If you go out of doors up in that flat country
You'll always see and hear that Panhandle Wind.

Some folks will tell you it blows up in Wyomin'
Though the Okies will say it blows harder there;
I'm tellin' you the Texian truth of the matter:
It blows harder in Texas than most anywhere.

I seen an old cowboy wearin' a Boston Derby
When he really needed a big five inch wide brim;
The thing looked funny on his head that day
Because it had only one inch showin' on him.

"What happened to yer hat Old Timer," I asked
And he looked at me with a look that could kill;
"I was up on the Matador chasin' some cows
When the wind took it away clear over the hill.

"I wore out two horses that day, runnin' South
All the way down to Plainview, more'n 60 mile;
I finally found it behind a bunch of tumble weeds
That'd stacked up on a barb wire fence fer a while.

"That there brim you now see, it was once over
5" and is now down to 1" all the way around;
It seems when the Panhandle Wind caught it,
It wore it plumb down as it rolled over the ground."

I heard about a feller who dug him a deep well and
A wind begin circlin' and sucked it out of the hole;
He found it standin' straight up, so he painted it
Blue, filled it full with corn silage, a sight to behold.

You can brag all you want about the wind in yer State
But, I'll never concede that you got braggin' rights;
In a sandstorm from Amarillo, them Prairie Dogs'll
Start diggin' straight up fer air; now them's real sights.

I asked another Old Timer who wrangled fer the XIT
"Does the Panhandle Wind always blow this a way?"
With a critical eye he looked straight  at me and
Said, "Naw,  sometimes it blows North ever' day."
   
© 2000, Tim R. "Doc" Mason
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Educated Cowboy

I sometimes get aggravated
When folks poke fun at me;
They must think I got no sense
Cause I've got me a Ph. D.

I learnt a long time ago that
Coyboyin' requires horse sense;
It comes from stable thinkin'
Else yore troubles will commence.

I give the Cowboy Life a try
But I soon had to give it up;
It seems my git up and go
Went when I was jist a pup.

It ain't that I was so lazy
But my Daddy said it best;
Young Tex don't mind the work,
But he much prefers to rest.

I shore ain't like one man I met
Educated beyond his intelligence, you see;
When he graduated he shouted, "World,
I've got my B.A., M.S., and Ph. D.

The World looked up with raised eyebrow
And trying hard not to appear upset,
Said, "Set down, Son, I'll do my best
To teach you the rest of the alphabet."
 
In my case I believe you'll find
I want to preserve the Cowboy Way;
Included in that faithful caring part
Is writin' rhymin' poetry, every day.

Some folks may like the woman
Called the Poet Laureate of the USA,
But, her style, they call it "Free Verse"
Don't make sense to me, no way.

Free Verse folks and others like her
Who learnt and promote that stuff
Ain't got no place in Cowboy hearts;
It ain't real poetry, its jist a bluff.

What I like is for words to rhyme
Whether every line does it or two;
There's many ways to make it so
And it shore is good when they do.

Cowpokes like Waddie, Baxter & Buck,
Red Steagall, our Poet Lariat of Texas,
Plus Reba & a host of Cowgirl Poets
Make these Gatherins fun for both sexes.

The Free Verse folks can go their way,
Us Cow Folks will try our very best
To assure you that what we produce
And perform will promote the Olden West.

© 1997, Tim R. "Doc" Mason
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

 

Stephenville on the Bosque 

I was born in a dugout on the Bosque
I think the year was close to 1910;
Listen to my story while I tell you 
What it was like to be here way back then.

Texas Rangers chased the crooks and robbers
While Cowboys worked on cattle, spring and fall;
A Maverick was a calf without a mama
And the Stars lit up brightly for us all.

The Stephenville Country Opry came in later 
To provide a place to entertain and please;
Roy Rogers and Gene Autry werenít born yet
And kids had never heard of Chuckie Cheese.

We sometimes went to town in a wagon
Pulled by two mules named Jake and Myrt;
Us boys sometimes would sneak a hurried look
At girls walking by who thought we were dirt.

We grew up fast and finally finished school
Then moved away to make our lot in life;
We knew that God had plans for His people
And marriage was always for a man and wife.

Some settled here and raised their little kids
Iím proud to be in a place with much to give;
Thereís no place like Stephenville on the Bosque
Thatís why I chose to come back here to live.

Iím happy to be a part of Country Opry
And do my part to fit in with this crew;
Itís great to be alive and tell my story
I really do enjoy being here with you.

© 2001, Tim R. "Doc" Mason
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Doc says his performing pards at Cross Timbers Country Opry are "a great bunch of entertainers and I'm proud to be on their shows." 

 

Catch Up Time

I look back through the many long years
Since they buried Grandpap on that windy hill;
The thoughts I have still bring on tears
And wish him and me were partners still.

     I was only eight years old when he was slain
     By Big Jake Logan from over at Sugar Tree;
     Them Logan boys was always raising cane
     And had no feelings for kids as young as me.

I vowed that day in Beardstown, Tennessee
To pay my respects to Big Jake when I got old;
There weren't no need, it seemed to me
For him shooting Grandpap and acting so bold.

     I growed up a lot over the next twelve years
     And spent a long time in a terrible war;
     I suffered loss of only my pride and tears
     But considered Grandpap's loss my biggest scar.

When I returned home I started asking around
For Big Jake Logan and this was told to me:
He was no longer anywhere to be easy found;
So I guessed right, he must elsewhere be.

     I reckin I was right about the Logan boys
     And run into Joey, Big Jake's little bud;
     Him and me ? we fought with lots of noise,
     I won because at fighting, he was a dud.

I choked an answer from Joey that day,
Big Jake had gone to Texas, so he said;
I left Joey hurtin' on the ground in May
And probably should have left him dead.

     I said my goodbyes to family and friends
     And headed southwest down the Natchez Trace;
     I carried my old coat of buffalo skins
     My guns and a tin type print of Grandpap's face.
                                                                           
I wound up in Jefferson alone on Christmas Day,
The cold wind was blowin' hard from Caddo Lake;
Huntin' a man is hard, no matter what you say,
But I had promised in my heart to find Big Jake.

     No one around Jefferson had heard of the big man
     So I moved on southwest toward the rollin' plain;
     Come Spring, I was day?workin' any place I can.
     Money was hard to come by, but I soon left again.

In July I stopped near old Fort Phantom Hill
And began inquiring about Jake around there;
A lead came from a rancher at Morgan Mill
So, east I went filled with hate to spare.

     Jake Logan had left some big tracks so well
     That people wanted me to find him right quick;
     He had robbed and cheated a farmer named Bell
     And violated his daughter and left her sick.

The world doesn't need a bad man like him,
And the sooner I found Big Jake he'd know
The likes of me ain't goin' out on a limb
Just to prove I'm man enough for the show.

     Before the rifle sounded I felt a big whack
     And then the shot echoed in my ringing ears;
     The bullet landed me hard and flat on my back
     And I reckoned that ended all my short years.

I couldn't tell where I had been hit that day
But it was somewhere down low in my back;
Dying did not scare me, but anger I must say
Caused me some concern, though I didn't crack.

     Things got all hazy, then cloudy and bland
     And my breathing slowed pert near to none;
     I reached up to take hold of Grandpap's hand
     But he said, "Ye ain't quite ready yet, Son."
                                                                           
When I finally woke up I was in a strange bed
Lookin' up at a right pretty girl I must say;
She blushed and smiled and walked out instead
Of answerin' how I got to where I then lay.

     Later on when her Paw came in the room there
     He answered my questions just like a man;
     "Bud follered the backshooter to town somewhere,
     So lay still Son 'til you're able to stand."

They told me how they found me right soon
After hearing the shot that sent me down;
They doctored me next day and again at noon
'Til Bud came home with the news from town.

     "They's a big man over there, Jake's his name
     Who said he'd shot a big skunk on the trail;"
     "He may have," I said, "But I'm not the same,
     Just let me up and I'll grab hold of his tail."

It took me two weeks to get out of that bed
Before I could walk around the whole place;
A month later, being glad I weren't dead,
I was earnin' my keep with a smile on my face.

     That pretty girl, it was Lennie they said
     Who cleaned me up on that very first day;
     When I realized that I was naked in bed
     It left me without courage or words to say.

I couldn't look at her for three days or four
For fear I would embarrass both of us you see;
She'd look at me and then walk out the door,
Bud teased her about taking my clothes off me.

     I stayed on their farm for sixty more days
     While mending my back and also my brain;
     I knew I had to stop Big Jake and his ways
     So I said goodbye and thanked them again.

Big Jake was long gone when I got to town;
They told me he'd headed south last week;
I lit out again looking almost cast down,
'Membering Grandpap's words about being meek.

     October was near gone when I hit the trail
     With the distant Blanco River my goal;
     The wind was howling and the sun was pale
     For winter was coming, it was getting cold.

I came upon their camp on Blanco's south shore
But there was three of them and just one of me;
I sure needed to even the odds up some more
Since Big Jake was the one I wanted to see.

     They were asleep when I sneaked right by
     And led their horses away in the dark night;
     A well placed rifle shot sent sparks up high
     And they yelled and ran for cover in fright.

In darkness they waited until it was light,
But I had moved away with their horses too;
I repeated the shots again the next night,
Only this time they were down to just two.

     The third night I yelled out to Big Jake
     And the cussin' I got, well, it was bad;
     He called me things from a skunk to a snake.
     I smiled knowin' Jake was now really mad.

I decided to call Big Jake to his face
And let him know who was comin' his way;
Several months of trailin' and keepin' pace
Was about to come to a head on this day.

     I 'membered some words Grandpap once said
     When I was a just young boy way back then:
     Always ask God, and be sure you are right,
     Then full speed ahead and you'll surely win.

I got Big Jake's attention early that morn
By callin' him a backshootin' killer of old men;
I told him about his sissy brother in scorn
And Jake knew he was cornered right then.

     "Come out in the open," I said with a big smile,
     "Just you and me, Jake, with fist or with shell;
     You're a big coward, Jake, and in a short while
     You'll be ridin' a line straight toward Hell."

He drew on me first and I laughed out in jest,
He'd missed the first shot that he'd thrown;
Two bullets punctured two holes in his chest,
His partner headed out fast for parts unknown.

     The Devil reached up and then he caught ahold
     Of Big Jake and drug him down in the mire;
     "It's Catch Up Time," I said to Grandpap so bold,
     Then huddled up and warmed myself by the fire.

After a day or two, I remembered the young girl
Named Lennie up near the town of Morgan Mill;
I decided I'd best go and give her a whorl
So, saddled and packed, I rode up the long hill.

     It taken me two weeks, but I made it alright
     And Lennie grabbed me and took hold of my hand;
     I told her about Big Jake and the fight
     And promised her I'd stay and be her man.

Grandpap would be proud to call me his son
As I am so proud to be one of his kin;
When givin' advice, I find I ain't a good one
But, stay close to God, serve man and win.

     It worked that way for me and my clan,
     For you it'll be the same way, too;
     Give love to one woman, serve God and man,
     At God's CATCH UP TIME he'll favor you.

© 1993, Tim "Doc" Mason
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


 

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