“Oh, Beat the Drum slowly …”
by Gay Williford

Spurs, an aging ranch hand, had lived
and worked on Circle X lands most of his life.
His brown, weathered face reflected time
on long roundups and hours in the sun.
Crow’s feet splayed out from eyes that
had squinted from both sunlight and laughter.
A ranch gathering for this well-loved man
was being held to celebrate his eightieth year.
As the evening sky darkened, out of the blue,
he began to sing some old cowboy song
a surprising occurrence as he
was known to be quite taciturn and shy.
Soft, sad strains of “The Streets of Laredo”
filled the patio as his raspy voice
sang out each mournful verse.
Involuntary tears flowed and a silent
reverence for this cowboy was felt by all.

(the title–a quote from the song “The Streets of Laredo”)


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