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    I WAS just about to take a drink--

    I was mighty dry--

    So I hailed an old time cowman

    Who was passing by,

    "Come in, Ole Timer! have a drink!

    Kinda warm today!"

    As we leaned across the bar-rail--

    "How's things up your way?"

    "Stock is doin' fairly good,

    Range is gettin' fine;

    I jes dropped down to meetin' here

    To spend a little time.

    Con'sidable stuff a-movin' now--

    Cows an' hosses, too,

    Prices high an' a big demand--

    Now I'm tellin' you!

    "I've loaded out my feeders,

    Got a good price all aroun';

    Sold 'em in Kansas City

    To a commission man named Brown.

    A thousand told o' mixed stuff,

    In pretty fair shape, too,"

    Said the old Texas cowman,

    "Now I'm tellin' you!

    "I've been in this yere country

    Since late in fifty-nine,

    I know every foot o' sage brush

    Clear to the southern line.

    Got my first bunch started up

    Long in seventy-two,

    Had to ride range with a long rope--

    Now I'm tellin' you!

    "Lordy, I kin remember

    Them good ole early days

    When we ust t' trail the herds north

    'N forty different ways.

    Jes'n point 'em from the beddin' groun'

    An' let 'em drift right through,"

    Said the reminiscent cowman,

    "Now I'm tellin' you!

    "Yessir, trailed 'em up to Wichita,

    Cross the Kansas line,

    Made deliveries at Benton

    As early as fifty-nine.

    Turned 'em most to soldiers,

    Some went to Injuns, too,

    Beef wasn't nigh so high then--

    Now I'm tellin' you!

    "Son, I've fit nigh every Injun

    That ever roamed the plains,

    'N I was one o' the best hands

    That ever pulled bridle reins.

    Why, you boys don't know range life--

    You don't seem to git the ways,

    Like we did down in Texas

    In them good ol' early days!

    "Yes, thing's a heap sight diff'rent now!

    'Tain't like in them ol' days

    When cowmen trailed their herds north

    'N forty diff'rent ways.

    We ship 'em on the railroad now,

    Load out on the big S. P.,"

    Says the relic of Texas cowman

    As he takes a drink with me.

    "I figger on buyin' more feeders,

    From down across the line--

    Chihuahua an' Sonora stuff,

    An' hold 'em till they're prime.

    So here's to the steers an' yearlin's!"

    As we clink our glasses two,

    "Things ain't the same as they used to be,

    Now I'm tellin' you!

    "I got t' git out an' hustle,

    I ain't got time t' stay;

    Jes' want t' see some uh the boys

    'N then I'm on my way.

    There's many a hand here right now

    That I know'd long, long ago,

    When ranch land was free an' open

    An' the plowman had a show.

    "'Tain't often we git together

    To swap yarns an' tell our lies,"

    Said the old time Texas cowman

    As a mist comes to his eyes.

    "So let's drink up; here's how!"

    As we drain our glasses two,

    "Them was good ol' days an' good ol' ways--

    Now I'm tellin' you!"

    He talked and talked and yarned away,

    He harped on days of yore--

    My head it ached and I grew faint;

    My legs got tired and sore.

    Then a woman yelled, "You come here, John!"

    And Lordy! how he flew!

    And the last I heard as he broke and ran

    Was, "Now I'm tellin' you!"

    I won't never hail old timers

    To have a drink with me,

    To learn the history of the range

    As far back as seventy-three.

    And the next time that I'm thirsty

    And feeling kind of blue,

    I'll step right up and drink alone--

    Now I'm tellin' you!

                           _From the Wild Bunch._