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by Hilma (Volcano) Volk

He lay there not knowing if
He was going to live or die.
And if he lived, for what?
His prayer was, "Why God, why?"

His leg was amputated.
What good was this cowboy now?
His head fuzzy from anesthesia,
He tried to remember how.

In and out of consciousness,
It was all one bad dream.
And when the drugs wore off
He'd awake to his own scream.

The doctors saved his mangled hand,
But it might not work any more.
His waking hours were filled with fear
Of what the future had in store.

He had no family and few friends.
His boss had called to say
He'd try to visit if he could
But they had to harvest the hay.

The ranch was short-handed now
And it was taking quite an effort.
Of course the cowboy understood -
He was the hand that they were short.

An occupational therapist came
And started talking about computers.
Man, if he was allowed to drink
He'd drown himself in shooters.

He'd been married and had a son
Till they were killed three years ago
On a road trip to visit her mom.
He just couldn't tell her "No",

But he had a bad feeling then --
He didn't want her to think he was nuts.
He felt the same 'bout that old baler --
He should have listened to his guts.

When he was keeping busy
He wasn't near so lonesome;
And though ranch housing wasn't much
At least he called it home.

But where would he go now?
Was this some life's cruel lesson?
When he got back he'd end it all
With one click from Smith and Wesson.

He kept the hospital TV on
And it woke him with a start
When special program came on
About a ranch called the Flying Heart

Where handicapped children were taught
How to ride and care for horses
Some were in wheelchairs, one was blind
But they were using new resources.

He asked the therapist when she came,
Now that his life had hit the skids,
Did she think a crippled cowboy
Could work with crippled kids?

He told her about the show he'd seen.
She said that ranch wasn't far away.
It sure surprised the heck out of him
To have visitors that next day.

Broken children with happy faces
Put wild flowers on his shelf.
Then and there he vowed that never again
Would he feel sorry for himself.

They came to visit every day
Bringing homemade cards.
They got to know each other well
You might say they were pards.

His condition kept improving
The hospital let him depart
This physically challenged cowboy
Went to work for the Flying Heart

It was owned by a widow, Mary Lou
She became his best friend.
In the evening by the fireplace
They'd talk for hours on end.

All that was quite a while back
His hand almost works like new
And at the Flying Heart, his heart
Went flying in love with Mary Lou.

They've been married 'bout a year now
Her two boys, they call him dad.
He marvels how the twists of fate
Made this the best life he'd ever had.

Now he smiles all the time.
And although there was a cost
He gives thanks to the Lord above
For the day his leg was lost.

  Selected Cowboy Poetry
by Hilma (Volcano) Volk

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Manure Happens
by Hilma (Volcano) Volk
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