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The Day it Nearly All Ended
In the Big
by Ty Fowler
In the big
desert, where the
Lives a legend in that country, with countless other ties.
Was 'dropped' in
, and left there when of age,
He just quit that country, and sorta slipped right off the page.
'Never did go back' he said, 'nothin' left behind for me',
'My hearts out in
, and it's there I want to be.'
His trip there took it's time though, made other tracks of course.
Years of other work was done first, before his livin' from the horse.
Took time in the Great Northwest, hunting varmints from a plane,
Cause the stockmen needed help, shooting coyotes was his game.
Made many friends, and lived his life only on his terms.
Didn't tend to tiptoe around, and that made some people squirm.
He had some kids and did a lot, adventures did abound.
Life didn't tend to be too slow, when Mike was close around.
He found his 'partner made for life', selling insurance door to door.
He asked her out, she said "NO!", he nearly hit the floor.
But he kept it up, she saw the light, he got a final "Yes",
Grab your hat and boots my dear, the future will be your best.
They headed east to
, 'come wrangle dudes with me',
Worked more horses there in the hills, than most will ever see.
She named them all, knew by sight, each horse has his own face.
A job so big that few could do, it seemed they'd found their place.
But they left there, was more to see, more things yet left to do.
for a time, a circle cut, and other places too.
A writing job, and photos too, at many ranches in the west.
It fit them well, they knew the life, they always did their best.
called, they answered it, worked cattle every day,
A hardened cowboy wrote the checks, they really earned their pay.
Calves to brand, and stock to work, it was a cowboy's game.
They loved the life, and loved to ride, no day was ever plain.
But all the while they had a plan, they knew where they should be.
So they packed 'er up and headed west, come back 'home' with me.
range was calling them, they knew their place was there.
It was always where they belonged, was where they were a 'pair'.
They pack in salt, and work wild cows, way high up in the hills,
They'll never quit, it gives them joy, and they are at it still.
But the winter snows do push them south, where snow is pretty rare.
To Fallon where it stays real nice, Mike has a riding job down there.
At "Lightning Jack's", to ride the pens, and take cows into the ring,
Jack needed help, and Mike can't sit, yes cow work is his 'thing'.
Most guys by then have settled down, and found a slower pace,
But he can't think of doing that, you'd think he's in a race.
A useful life should be our goal, and his for sure has been,
With lots of friends and stories told, and more before the end.
A lucky man to live his life, and make his living off a horse.
Some bad ones sure, but on the list, some great ones, too, of course.
Like Fox and Brownie, Coyote too, and countless other rides.
A day outside and horseback, is worth ten other days inside.
I asked one day if he would stop, and look for calmer things to do,
Not a chance in hell, was what he said, I'm not even close to being through.
It's an 'ego' thing he told me, to draw a paycheck from horseback.
But more than that, it's his life, he's made so many tracks.
I hope someday that when I am done, I have something to say,
Of what I have done with my own life, that shows I made my way.
Like he has done, and done it well, I know he'd never trade.
He loves the life, and always will, till his last card is played.
Ty's tribute was written for Mike Laughlin
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