Yonder cowpuncher of morality and mortality

This may surprise many of you, I’m sure, but sometimes I feel melancholy. Sometimes I get downright moody. I know! Who would have guessed? I generally just chalk this up to the black bile (one of the four bodily humors, believed to be associated with a melancholy temperament).

Today’s mostly-wordless post is an attempt at communicating a feeling. I find myself thinking about my good, good friend Mediocre Fred and his fate in our society. I find myself thinking about a 55-year-old man who lost his job in order to be replaced by a youngin’. A man who suddenly found himself out looking for work after years of faithful service and without health insurance. A man who was diagnosed with a spot in his lungs and who was dead within six months. Lastly, I find myself thinking about a presidential debate where an issue about health care prompted a question, “Let him die?” and a few members of the audience in cheers and whoops of “Yeah!”

America is a country built on a strong work ethic. Here’s a story about one man from long ago who did his job right up to the end.

When The Work’s All Done This Fall

A group of jolly cowboys, discussing plans at ease
Says one, I’ll tell you something, boys, if you will listen, please
I am an old cow-puncher, you see me dressed in rags
I used to be a good one boys, and went on great big jags

I have got a home boys, a good one you all know
Although I haven’t seen it since very long ago
I’m headed back to Dixie once more to see them all
I’m going to see my mother when the work’s all done this fall

When I left my home, boys, my mother for me cried
She begged me not to go, boys, for me she would have died
My mother’s heart is aching, breaking for me, that’s all
With God’s help I’ll see her when the work’s all done this fall

That very night this cowboy went out to stand his guard
The night was dark and cloudy and storming very hard
The cattle, they got frightened and rushed in wild stampede
The cowboy tried to head them while riding at full speed

Riding in the darkness, so loudly he did shout
Trying hard to head them and turn the herd about
His saddle horse did stumble and on him it did fall
He’ll not see his mother when the work’s all done this fall

Send my mother my wages, boys, the wages I have earned
I am so afraid, boys, the last steer I have turned
I’m headed for a new range, I hear my Master call
I’ll not see my mother when the work’s all done this fall

Fred, you take my saddle, George, you take my bed
Bill, you take my pistol after I am dead
Then think of me kindly when you look upon them all
I’ll not see my mother when the work’s all done this fall

Charlie was buried at sunrise, no tombstone for his head
Nothing but a little board, and this is what it said
Charlie died at daybreak, he died from a fall
He’ll not see his mother when the work’s all done this fall

4 responses

  1. Right this second I’m sending you a virtual hug. *squeeze* Feel better?

    I had a joke all ready to go but see? For the first time, I choose the high road. It really is “the undiscovered country” for me up here…I think a touch of vertigo is setting in. Must get back down to my usual low road but I’ll be thinking of you the whole way.


    1. Could you swing by the meat processing plant and pick up a stun gun? I always wanted to take one of those out for a spin.

      Funny thing about the high road. It doesn’t quite live up to its name, if you know what I mean. Either way, don’t look down!

      Thanks for the hug, though. That was definitely second on the list. I think.


  2. Deborah the Closet Monster | Reply

    After reading those lyrics, I was imagining something darker sounding than that! Its lyrics are definitely melancholy inspiring.

    The thought of people actually cheering at the thought of a countryman dying, OTOH? That’s nausea inspiring. How much must you dehumanize others and cast them as different from yourself to do such a thing?

    Egads. 😦


    1. I agree. Step One to dividing our country internally is to think of the other side as the “enemy.” Once you do that it’s a lot easier to support ideas like “Let ’em die!”


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