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Many city folk dream of vast plots of land, a big red barn, and a veranda equipped with comfortable rocking chairs and hanging loveseat swings, a peaceful place where they can retire and
“get away from it all.” But a working ranch is just that: work!

By Mary Foran


Considering the latest news, it’s hard to believe that there are still cowboys and cowgirls in America. Cattle ranches and ranges still exist, and farmers still plough their fields and “make hay while the sunshines”!

cowboys-prayer-true-grit-movie-poster-fair-useThere is even an online dating service for just for country folk, since “city slickers” don’t understand the lifestyle of the backbone of the U.S.A.

The Old West was really won by “True Grit” (the movie), and many city folk dream of vast plots of land, a big red barn, and a veranda equipped with comfortable rocking chairs and hanging loveseat swings, a peaceful place where they can retire and “get away from it all.”

But a working ranch is just that: work!

Cubical dwellers must fit their dreams into studio apartments or look-alike condominiums which are springing up everywhere.cowboys-prayer-red-barn-us-forest-service-pd

Cowboy hats and boots, and Country Music are still popular in some areas, and Rodeo is king for some. But cities are gobbling up the land as fast as a lightning bug can fly!

America’s “Breadbasket” states and land is being encroached upon by housing developments as I write this piece, and everyone knows how important bread is to the world.

On one of my travels, I stopped at a wayside restaurant and saw a painting on the wall that I just HAD to have. It’s cowboy theme intrigued me, and the text to the side spoke volumes, in my opinion.

The painting(too dark to see the name of the painter or the date) showed two men on horseback looking longingly into the clear windows of a country worship service where the congregation could be seen raising their voices in song. The cowboys faces were thus lit up in the semi-darkness, their hats humbly off their heads.

On what looks like parchment paper, “A Cowboy’s Prayer” is printed, which explains so well the open plains of America, that I think it bears examination here:

(© Badger Clark)

cowboys-prayer-prairie-cc-by2-0-copiaOh Lord, I’ve never lived where churches grow.
I love creation better as it stood,
That day You finished it so long ago
And looked upon Your work and called it good.

I know that others find you in the light
That’s sifted down through tinted window panes,
And yet I seem to feel You near tonight
In this dim, quiet starlight on the plains.

I thank You, Lord, that I am placed so well,
That You have made my freedom so complete;
That I’m no slave of whistle, clock, or bell
Nor weak-eyed prisoner of wall and street.

Just let me live my life as I’ve begun
And give me work that’s open to the sky;
Make me a pardner of the wind and sun,
And I won’t ask a life that’s soft or high.

cowboys-prayer-prairie-cc-by2-0Let me be easy on the man that’s down;
Let me be square and generous with all.
I’m careless sometimes, Lord, when I’m in town,
But never let ’em say I’m mean or small!

Make me as big and open as the plains,
As honest as the hoss between my knees,
Clean as the wind that blows behind the rains,
Free as the hawk that circles down the breeze!

Forgive me, Lord, if sometimes I forget.
You know about the reasons that are hid.
You understand the things that gall and fret;
You know me better than my mother did.

Just keep an eye on all that’s done and said
And right me, sometimes when I turn aside,
And guide me on the long, dim trail ahead
That stretches upward toward The Great Divide.

Starlit nights and open air mean nothing to the city dweller. But they mean quite a bit to the Folks!


Featured image by Larry Lamsa via Flickr CC BY2.0

True Grit movie poster, Fair Use
Red Barn with Eagle Cap by US Forest Service, PD

Prairie, Oklahoma  by Nicholas A. Tonelli via Flickr, CC BY2.0 (split photo)
Poem,  Fair use