One Hell of a Ride

This week the prompt for Jingle Poetry’s  Poetry Potluck #47 is “history and stories”. This poem is a brief synopsis of the life of my grandpa, Luther “Bunk” Stringer, whose life, in my opinion, was one of historic note, and whose story deserves to be told and remembered. He was the best man I ever knew–by far–and he was my hero. If I am one day considered to be even half the man Bunk Stringer was, I, too, will have had one hell of a ride.

I wrote the following poem shortly after my grandpa’s passing, and it is to his memory I post it now:

One Hell of a Ride


Come over here and sit for a spell

Lend an ear, I’ll give it a bend

I’ve been known to tell a tale or two

Of things that were, or might have been


With words I’ll paint a picture of days

When I was young and I was lean

Of days I sat tall in the saddle

Long ago when just a teen


I’ll tell of the time I met a girl

Who made me blush and act the fool

The most beautiful girl in Texas

Was no mistake they called her Jewel


I’ll tell you about the sunlit days

                              Out on the north Texas plains

Where I chased the steers that wandered

                                 ‘cross the hot mesquite filled range


I’ll tell of how I sat atop my mount

         On a hill as I pondered and dreamed

             Dreams of what lay beyond the hills

                   Far places I’d never been


I’ll tell you ‘bout some of those places

For a bit of traveling I have done

                                Oh, I wandered from ocean to ocean

                              In pursuit of that brighter sun


     But all roads lead me back here

                         Now I’ve lost the lust to roam

And so you find me here on this porch

       In Texas, my home sweet home


No, I don’t have much to show

                               For the eighty some years I’ve lived

For I lived hard and I loved hard

                            I gave this world all I had to give


But cry not when you look upon

             The few things I leave behind

My life was full of love and laughter

            And I had one hell of a ride


Copyright © 1996 C. Mashburn



  1. Gosh…you touch me so with this! What a wonderful tribute to a man you are just like! I was also very privileged to have grandparents who influenced me in similar ways 🙂

    • Sweet music to my ears, Susan; to be compared to my grandpa, Bunk. He was a story teller that could keep a person entertained for hours on end. We could never tell with him, where fiction took over and true life stepped aside.
      I’m so glad you enjoyed the poem/tribute, and I sincerely appreciate your wonderful comment/compliments. My day is off to a rousing start!

  2. Jaan Pehchaan said

    Sweet contentment at the advanced age – what more can one ask for?

  3. Sherry Mashburn said

    Good poem and wonderful tribute to Pa. Thank you, Charlie, for taking me along on YOUR ride!

  4. Your grandfather looks as if he was one of the last real cowboys!
    What a wonderful tribute to what sounds like a fabulous man and great and good influence in your life, too.
    A lovely read, thanks for sharing it with us and thanks for visiting me.

    • You are very welcome for the visit, and I thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment here.
      My graandfather (Pa) was THE father figure in my life. I loved being around him, and wish now I had been able to spend more time with him, and paid coser attention when I was with him.

  5. Now this was some special and emotional writing. Though I don’t know you or I didn’t know your grand-father, I felt like I was the one to hear all these stories. It reminded me of my grand-parents …

    I was a first grand-child in the family from both, mom’s and dad’s side and I know as a first child I was favorite, I’ve been on many trips and heard many lovely stories spending time with them … and now that they are all gone, your poem here took me back to those sweet days …

    I want to thank you for the comment you left at my blog, it was a real compliment!

    • I am pleased to see so many comments from folks who had wonderful grandparents. It is a great thing.
      You are quite welcome for the comment. I try to make meaningful and accurate comments. You and others are so talented, I feel unworthy of commenting on your work, but I try to say something to encourage.

  6. Victoria said

    I loved this, Charles, because I had the same kind of admiration, love and close relationship with my Grandpa. We are blessed to have had such father-figures in our lives.

  7. Jess P said

    Very beautiful writing for what I’m sure are sweet memories.

  8. Well, about time I visited you after the comments you have left for me and I’m glad to have picked this one to do so.. I love it 🙂
    Makes me want to slap my thigh and shout yee-har!! And it also reminded me straight away of Thin Lizzy’s Cowboy Song (check the lyrics). But seriously, great the rhyme and rhythm..and the story 🙂

    PS… I think I have your avatar 😛

    • Better late than never, Andy! I’m going to assume you ain’t from aroound these part, too. Yee-har might be something you’d here on a movie called Cowboys and Pirates; ’round here we’d be hollerin’ YEE-HAW!
      Just foolin’ with ya now! Don’t go callin’ me out to the street.
      You write some great stuff, Andy. I always enjoy visiting your site.
      Thanks for droppin’ by and jawin’ a spell.

  9. I loved the earthy ambiance of this piece! I had relatives like that and remember how fascinating it was to listen to their tales of “breaking the prairie” and farming with rattle snakes for neighbors. Good write!
    And thanks for your kind words at my blog.

    • Yes, I heard some tales from Pa. I neer knew where fact walked out and fiction walked in. That was part of the charm of it, I reckon.
      I enjoy reading your poetry and comments. You are a very talented poet.

  10. Neni said

    How lovely poem… what a nice story and history of yours… I did enjoy reading this…
    The second stanza I loved most… 🙂

    • Yes, the second stanza is a good one. I think he was 19 in the picture beside it.
      Thanks for the visit and wonderful comments.

  11. Seabell said

    That’s the way to live! Really nice tale…

    • Yep. Live hard and love with all your might. A recipe for some mighty fine living, if you ask me.

  12. Lyn said

    This weaves such a a myth..Someone who didn’t miss a beat..very touching!

    • I wish I’d had more pictures to post with this. A recent computer crash left me without many close at hand. I have them, just need to put them on the new machine.
      Thanks for the visit and nice comments!

  13. Bodhirose said

    I very loving tribute, Charles. I enjoyed getting to know your “Pa” a bit.

  14. Each time you write about him, I wish I had known him! Your love shines so much when you speak of him. A beautifully touching one as usual 🙂

    • You would have liked him; almost everyone did. Yes, my love foor him shines and never dims. He was very special to me.
      Thanks so much for the visit and comments!

  15. thingy said

    Beautiful. Love the photos. : )

    • Wanted to put more, but still in the process of recovering all fro my backup hard drive.
      Thanks for the visit and comment!

  16. Andy said

    Hello Charles.
    What a beautiful tribute to your Pa.
    There’s always that special someone in the family who everyone looks up to and loves to be around just to hear his/her stories of the good old days.
    Your love and respect for your Pa is evident…proof that “love cannot die at the doorsteps of death”.

    Absolutely lovely. Thanks so much for sharing.

  17. A nice remembrance. Living big and coming back home. Beautiful rhythm and images.

  18. A wonderful tribute to one that belonged in a distinctive generation, the likes of which might not be seen again. I couldn’t help but think of this set to a wonderful country tune. But then, songs were written so readily about men like you describe, weren’t they?

    • I think it would make a nice ballad. A Tom T Hall type thing. Not that I’m in Tom T’s league as a writer.
      And, yes, lots of songs about men like Bunk. He wasn’t special in the eyes of the world; just his family.
      Thanks for the thoughtful comments. Very much appreciated!

  19. J Sirrah said

    Hello Charles.This is the winner:)
    What a ride and filled with pride..I enjoyed each word and they provoked thoughts.Wonderful Sir.
    Blessed Be

  20. I loved it. cowboy poetry. and what a tribute to your grandfather. thanks. jeanne

    • Yes’m, I reckon it is cowboy poetry. I’m glad you took a shine to it, and I’m much obliged for the kind words!

  21. Jingle said

    detailed and vivid, well done…

  22. Shawn Bird said

    We’re both tuned into the older generation this week! What a lot of stories Bunk must have had! My father was 89 when we had to evacuate them for this fire. It was awful to see his frustration over how helpless he was to contribute.

    Thanks for visiting my potluck contribution at

    • I can imagine the frustration you describe. Bunk lived the last years of his life unable to speak, and it broke my heart to look into the eys of that great story-teller, knowing how much he wanted to say. Aw, man… why did I go and think about that…
      Thanks for the visit and wonderful comments, Shawn!

  23. Beautiful tribute to a man who loved fiercely and went about life like it was worth living. That was a time when a man’s word and his handshake, either of them, meant the value of the man. Thanks for sharing.

    • You are so right, Dan. A time when telling the truth was expected and not a surprise.
      Thanks for the visit and great comments!

  24. Ankoku Hikaru said

    Wow, Bravo, just wow. I don’t know if it’s the fact that this is about someone that you actually know, or just the way it’s written, but that was beautiful, in a different way than I see beauty, Well Done. ^^

    • Thank you for the visit and those awesome comments and compliments. I appreciate them very much!

  25. Very musical, this would be a great song also, I think.

    • I’ve thought about making a song out of it. I just need to learn to play guitar!
      Thanks for the visit and comment!

  26. I love this tribute to your grandpa. What part of Texas was he from? (That’s where I live).

    • He lived in the Panhandle–Fritch and Borger, but I think his cowboy days were spent down around the Brownwood, Graham, and Possum Kingdom areas. I was born in Borger; live in College Station now.
      Thanks for the visit and comment!

  27. Manoj Kewalramani said

    Loved it! The wonders and joy of living a full life 🙂 really beautiful…

  28. Hema said

    What a wonderful ride indeed! That was very sweet and you took us along so well. Very touching ending also.
    Thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you very much, Hema! I do like to think my Pa had a wonderful ride through this life. I know he had heartaches and dissapointments, as well, but I prefer to remember his happy times. Most all of those times were with his family.
      I truly appreciate your wonderful comments and compliments. I hope you will stop by and read again soon.

  29. This is a lovely tribute. Bunk Stringer sounds like a real cowboy name and I am glad he had one hell of a ride…that’s all you can ask from this world. Well done!

    • Even later in life he was a real cowboy, in the sense that he was one of the good guys. An honest, hard-working, man who loved his family.
      Thank you for visiting and commenting. Do come by again!

  30. Rekha said

    This is sheer awesomeness…like a bard’s tale..I bet he is grinning from ear to ear where he is now.

    • I like to think he is grinning as he watches me tell his story and the many others I write.
      Your comment/compliment–“sheer awesomeness”– is wonderful!
      Thanks for the visit, and I hope you will come back again.

  31. Now this is good stuff right here! Consider me a fan! Nice penning, poet! 🙂

  32. pure2core said

    Even I miss my grandparents, who had backed me up in teen, with wonderful stories and moral ethics, love and care…such a wonderful piece of poetry Sir, thanks for sharing…

    • Grandparents are awesome–mine were, anyway.
      Thanks for the visit, comment, and compliment!

  33. manicddaily said

    What lovely pictures (in words and photos.) Congrats.

  34. Brilliant poem a lovely tribute to your grandfather, paints a vivid image of a World very alien to me living on the other side of the World in London. Sure sounds like he did indeed have a hell of a ride.

    • Thank you! I’m sure it is quite a strange picture to someone from across the pond. It is still very reaal to me, as I live n Texas and can still see cowboys on the open range occasionally.
      I appreciate your visit and awesome comments and compliments!

  35. booguloo said

    What a nice tribute.

  36. Heartfelt, I can sense the closeness. What’s great to me is the freedom, and the days that use to be, as a fellow rider myself, this is admired. Im a Kentucky/Tennessee man, so I love to ride, love the poem, and the title fits, thank you, much appreciated, WS

    • It was written from the heart, John. And, yes, it is sad to look back on those days and know they will never return.
      Thanks so much for the visit and wonderful comments!

  37. Pat Cegan said

    Just wonderful! Thank you for sharing this. Hugs, pat

  38. kristina danielle said

    Well done! Thank you for providing me with the link!

    Bravo & cheers!

    • Thank you for the visit and comments on the poem, Kristina.
      Thank you, also, for the comment regarding providing the link. Another WordPress blogger asked her commenters to provide their link in their comments, and it struck me as a good idea. Thought I’d start doing it, and as long as no one has any objections, continue to do it on all my WordPress comments. Glad to see you approve of it! Thanks!

  39. Derek said

    This one is the most fitting for the theme I have seen. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing some of the stories of your past. You certainly still have the lust to roam the mind!

  40. Awwww, what a lovely poem. He sounds like a great man.

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