The Cowboy and the Little Man
Last Saturday in a big and crowded mall shopping mart
I met a remarkable young boy riding in his mother’s cart.
About five, he looked like a little man, neat, sharp and alert,
Wearing a regimental tie and pressed white button down shirt.
Politely, solidly he spoke, man to man“ I like your cowboy hat.”
I told him I liked his style; he smiled and thanked me for that.
I turned to speak to his mother but she glared and jerked away
Telling me more with her eyes than she was ever willing to say.
He didn’t say but I could tell he liked my clean but worn boots.
We wanted to talk but mama wanted me gone to other pursuits
So I said adios and winked at him because I had nothing to lose.
I bumped into them again while they were trying on new shoes.
With smiles we passed silent hellos as his mother pinched his toes.
He looked me over and said “Mama, can I have some cowboy clothes?”
I smiled, then looked away as she leveled a withering glare on me.
“Lord no, Billy,” she scolded, “people will laugh at what they see“.
It hurt me to hear the little man’s pleading words when he said
“But, Mama, he’s neat and clean like the cowboy above my bed.”
“That cowboy was all Hollywood,” she said, “And a long time gone.
“It’s silly and foolish, son, to believe in a man called Hopalong.”
The little man’s mouth twisted down as a wad of tear touched an eye.
“But he’s a real cowboy, Mama, please ask him, I know he won’t lie.”
“Mam,” I cut in, “please give me a few minutes to help you understand
That being a cowboy is more than pretty songs about the Rio Grande.”
She threw a glare on me to beat that of an old raging rank red eyed bull.
“Well, go ahead if you must,” she snapped, her patience bucket near full.
The little man looked at me and I saw a love you just don’t see anymore,
Lord, I prayed, help this old cowboy say the words Billy is hoping for.
“A cowboy loves his life, and he has to be open , honest, and free.
He respects all lives ,the people, the animals, all the critters we see.
He works hard and he believes in his country, and he knows God is real.
He does not cheat, he does not lie, he does not covet, he does not steal.
The two people he loves with all his heart are his Mom and his Dad
Because he knows they worked hard to give him what they never had.
Your boy’s a good little man, Mam, I can see by his grit and cut
That, cowboy or not, he’ll make a top notch man I feel in my gut.
You see, Mam, like I was saying being a cowboy is a way of living
That leans more toward being yourself, being kind and forgiving.
Mam, it is true that I talk too much, please forgive me if you can
You‘ve got things to do, it’s that I took a liking to your little man.
Excuse me, Mam, good day to you, I’d better let you be on your way.
Adios to you little man, listen to mama, and have a nice cowboy day.
As I stood in line to leave, pressed by the crowd, I felt eyes on me.
Somehow I knew whose they were but the face I couldn’t hardly see.
I tried hard and I shook it off wanting desperately to be out of doors,
I was weary of stuffy, smelly places, closeness, and crowded stores.
At the door I tried not to look back but the feeling was too strong.
I glanced and there he was the little man on the edge of the throng.
I winked, smiled, and tossed him a big wave and he really liked that.
He smiled big then rolled his eyes up proudly at his new cowboy hat.
Author: Rocky Rutherford