THE BALLAD OF COWBOY CLARENCE Now hark to the ballad of Cowboy Clarence, Who come of a line of illustrious parents! Whatever was noted some of 'em had been it, From soldiers an' Presidents down to the Senate. His grandpap a captain that sailed on the sea, His pappy a gen'ral like Robert E. Lee; One grandma, when settlin' in pioneer lands, Had strangled a grizzly with jest her bare hands; One uncle was such a great man with a gun He'd often had even Wild Bill on the run! 'Twas natcher'l when Clarence joined up with our spread, He wore a big hat fer to fit his big head; And to match the big talkin' he done with his lips, He toted twin cannons swung low at his hips. "Now Boss," he says, "call on me just any time For expert advice ... it won't cost you a dime! Fer wrongs that need rightin', an' fightin', call me, Instead of these punchers with no pedigree. Yuh can't expect much from a scrub-blooded hoss ... The same way with men ... me, I'm thoroughbred Boss!" The Boss kinder grins an' says, "Okay young feller! I'm glad I got one hand at least that ain't yeller!" At workin' a roundup Kid Clarence is new, But learns quick enough that the Boss says he'll do. "This here's kinder tame," he says, "workin' with cattle. I'd do a heap better in gun smoke an' battle!" "Don't tease him," the Boss says, "he may be plumb right About this here pedigree stuff in a fight!" An' so us scrub cowboys we don't make no fuss About this here fam'ly-tree, thoroughbred cuss. They's no time fer monkeyshines when yuh're short handed, With cows to be gathered an' calves to be branded. Then one day some tracks at Lone Tree waterhole Shows plain as yer nose that somebody has stole Three dozen or more of the Double B's steers ... Jest drove 'em right off! The wust rustlin' in years! They've drove 'em up Macho Creek into the bresh, Both hoss tracks an' cow tracks is plumb plenty fresh. We rides like a hurricane houndin' their trail ... Kid Clarence rides with us, determined an' pale. The bresh claws our faces, the trees thump our knees, And many a cliff trail's a mighty tight squeeze. Way over on Bear Creek we fires the fust gun. The rustlers ... an' Clarence ... shoot oncet an' then run. I yells back at Clarence to make him come on, But fust thing I know I look round an' he's gone! The battle ain't much but one wild runnin' race, With sixguns a-poppin' an' bresh in our face. But when it's all over they's two rustlers dead, An' one of our boys bleedin' some from hot lead. We rounds up the cows then an' drives 'em to camp, And there we find Clarence complainin' of cramp. "I took sudden sick, or o' course I'd of stayed," He says, "I killed one, boys! I wasn't afraid!" The idee! Him claimin' a man for his bullet! He'd only shot oncet afore fear made him pull it! "My stomach ..." He means ... I bust in with a beller: "Is jest like yer gizzard an' both of 'em yeller!" I starts fer to grab him, the Boss beats me to it. "He's only a kid, Jude," he says, "Lemme do it!" The Boss yanks him up by a hand on his collar An' slaps into silence his whimperin' holler. He gives him a kick in the pants seat ... ker-plunk! "Yuh're fired!" he says, "Git, now, yuh thoroughbred skunk!" Goodbye to our ballad an' goodbye to Clarence, Who come of a line of plumb pedigreed parents. In hosses ... or men, boys, believe me or not, No pedigree counts if the colt doesn't trot!