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He’s the tumbleweed chef and rides with the wagon
Ahead of the thunderin’ herd.
His pots and pans clack like a diamondback’s rattle.
He growls or he don’t say a word.
His face is a roadmap. Looks like a carcass
Hung too many days in the sun.
He smells like a mule and cooks with a shovel,
And his fly is always undone.
The riders kin tell when he’s in the kitchen,
The buzzards all come onto view.
He spits in the pan and shaves in the taters,
And clips his toenails into the stew.
His gunpowder biscuits explode in the fire.
His beans explode in yer bowel.
His meddalark soufflé is hard on the belly,
They say it tastes like an owl.
His coffee’s so rank a horsefly won’t touch it.
Even buckshot floats in the slop.
You don’t pour a cup, you twist off a swaller,
Then chew a sip off’a the top.
Now cowboys are tough guys who face death each day
In blizzards or stampedes or storms.
They ride them bad horses and sleep with the snakes.
And duel with the hooves and the horns.
But many a cowboy who follered the wagon
Has joined the ‘last roundup club’
Not from Indians, gunfights or even bad whiskey
But from eatin’ ole Camp Cookie’s grub.
Baxter Black is a cowboy poet, former large-animal veterinarian and entertainer of the agricultural masses. Learn more at www.baxterblack.com.