Boot Hill

It wasn’t even a one-horse town,
This place they called New Scenery.
It had a pharmacy, a dry goods store,
A barbershop and a beanery.

They all belonged to old Doc Laughlin,
Located in his front room.
He’d keep your horse in a stall out back
And for a quarter, would give it a groom.

He’d pull your tooth or set your bone,
That’s why they called him Doc.
He had his prices on a sign out front,
Painted on a big white rock.

They buried the good as well as the bad
In the back of his house on a hill.
The better the man, the higher the plot
And of course, the higher the bill.

Now Jeremy Jones was a righteous man,
Though somewhat lacking in gumption.
He rolled his own, from the strongest of leaf
And he died, Doc said, of consumption.

They carried him up to the top of the hill,
In a box made new out of pine.
Doc Laughlin’s store was out of nails,
So they tied it together with twine.

With the box propped up on top of the hill,
His friends gathered ’round for a prayer.
But when they got ready to bury the box,
They saw it no longer was there.

The gravel was round, the bottom was flat,
It had gotten somewhat of a start.
The path down the hill was steep and rough
But it was rolling along like a cart.

Those who were chasing would all say later,
That even the parson swore.
The casket was bouncing ‘tween rock and tree
And was heading for Doc Laughlin’s door.

It was gathering speed but it stopped dead
When it ran into old Doc Laughlin.
The sheriff said, “It’s sad that Doc’s gone
But he finally stopped poor Jerry’s coffin.”

I have a friend, Bob, who likes cowboy poetry. It was from him that I found out that there are entire books of nothing but cowboy poetry. They even hold conventions and publish several magazines on the subject.

After reading several of Bob’s books, I decided to try my hand at cowboy poetry; Boot Hill and Omniscience were the result.

When I was young, I discovered that I had some Indian ancestors way back there somewhere, so I always played ‘Indians and Cowboys’.

Boot Hill has my usual O’Henry type twist to it, so I won’t ruin it for you by giving away the ending. I hope that Bob likes it.


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