One Hell of a Ride

Victoria Slotto is hosting a feature for dVerse Poets tonight entitled Meeting the Bar: Heroes and Heroines, and asks us to consider writing a poem in praise of a present-day hero, someone who has made a difference in our own life, or in our own times. I cannot pass up the chance to submit one of my all time favorite poems about 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 once more:

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. I really enjoyed this…thank you. Sometimes reposts are just as fun to read…this is my first read of this poem, but if it is posted again, I’m sure I’ll enjoy it even more.
    Siggi in Downeast Maine.

    • Thanks, Siggi! This is the third time I’ve posted it, and probably won’t be the last. One of my favorites, for obvious reasons.

  2. shanyns said

    Reminds me of my Grandpa, but his rides were on the Canadian prairies. Wonderful poem, thank you for the repost!

  3. cheri said

    that was GREAT!! Thank You!-brought water to the eyes!!

  4. Sherry Mashburn said

    I was privileged to meet “Pa”, “Bunk” right after I married into the family. He was unable to speak due to a debilitating stroke, but his twinkling eyes spoke volumes. He passed away shortly thereafter. I can testify to the impact he had on Charlie, who I think exemplifies the best that a man can be (just like his Pa!).

  5. nicely written… and your hero is your grandpa… wish I would have known mine… died early in this old life

    • I can’t even imagine not knowing mine. He was something special.
      Thanks for the visit and comment!

  6. He does sound like he was a good guy. It’s so lovely to have an ordinary every day person to think of as our hero. A lovely tribute Charles.

    • I think that’s why an ordinary guy is my hero–because I’m an ordinary guy.
      Thanks for the visit and comment, Daydreamer!

  7. 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

    oh, Charles! your rhyming is just beautiful…flawless and happy. I adore a poet who can do this. unlike myself who, when it comes to rhyme, every word is like “orange”…impossible! Thank you for sharing with me! xox

    • Thank you, Kellie! That is one of my favorite stanzas (which I think rhymes with oranges, if you hold yer mouth just right).

  8. dude…this has a wicked beat…it goes well with devil went down to georgia…ha…and he def sounds like…bet before that stroke he could sure spin some yarns…sounds like a wonderful man…

    • Thanks a bunch, Brian! And you don’t know the half of it. Bunk could tell stories and jokes for hours, and we would just sit there hanging on his every word. He had this grin when he was telling jokes that just lit up a room. Man, I miss him.

  9. zongrik said

    the most beautiful girl in texas is a big big deal!!!

    • Yes ma’am it sure was. She was a beauty my “Ma”.
      Thanks for the visit and comment!

  10. Wonderful poem to a man you obviously respect highly, and I see the reason why. We should look up and honor those who toughed out the school of life. It tests us and puts us through trials no book can teach or tell. This is a wisdom that life teaches, and if you hear it you know what is. It’s obvious that the character and honor of this man have affected you greatly, for they come through so clearly and lovingly in your words.

    • If I could pick a man and say I want to be like him, it was my grandpa.
      Thanks for the visit and comment, Charles!

  11. angelique said

    Reading this poem was like taking one hell of a ride with you. Thanks for sharing it.

  12. ManicDdaily said

    Hi Charles–I remember this from last time around (which is a good sign with my sieve=like memory.) A lovely poem with such great photos! K.

  13. Such a fun remembering of a person who clearly touched your life, Charles. Someone I would have enjoyed meeting, for sure.

    • I’m sure their were some who didn’t like Bunk, but I’m not aware of them.
      Thanks for the visit and comment, Victoria!

  14. I’m sure I’ve read this one before… so lovely to re-visit and a grand tribute. Hoping we all have one hell of a ride!

    • Thank you very much, Diane! I’m glad you took the time to read it again, and glad you like it!

  15. claudia said

    oh wow…he sounds like a man who knew how to live and cherish life’s precious moments…what a beautiful tribute charles..

  16. Grandparents can often be heroes, because they are often constant, reliable and teach us stuff.

  17. David King said

    You completely won me over with this poem. I was none to sure before I started in on it, but a great, great ride. I’d come again, any day.

  18. a very positive message in this. Its all about the journey….not the final destination. Material possessions(stuff), an how much you have accumulated over the years counts for nothing if you haven’t actually LIVED life. Your grandfather sounds like he was a fine man- and you brought him to life with your words.

    • And that is exactly the point, Stuart. He was a great man, not because he did great things, but because he was awesome in his role as an ordinary man.
      Thank you very much for the wonderful comment!

  19. viv blake said

    A true hero, he sounds like a lovely man. And your poem is a fitting memorial to him.

  20. hedgewitch said

    That’s the way we all should end our days, and also the way we should hope to be remembered. Enjoyed it much.

  21. we should be able to say it was one hell of a ride…what a wonderful life he lived….love getting a glimpse

    • I have to say, I can. And, yes, he sure did.
      Thanks for the visit and great comment!

  22. nickrolynd said

    Wonderful poem. Now that’s a hero. Thanks for sharing. ❤

  23. seingraham said

    Nick (and others) beat me to it – when they said, now there’s a hero! I concur … your grandfather sounds like he was quite the guy. Well-written and enjoyed. Thanks Charles.

  24. elizena said

    This was wonderful Charles and so full of the love you so obviously felt for your grandfather. I loved all of it, but…:

    ‘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

    …made me happy and want to cry at the same time. Sadness that such a strong, powerful man was gone, but happy that he’d lived such a full life.
    Very well written. Blessings!

    • Thank you very much, Elizena! He was a wonderful man, and I miss him a lot.
      Your comment, as always, is very much appreciated!

  25. David King said

    I’m sure I’ve commented on this before, but it seems not to have stuck. I must be not doing something.

    I really enjoyed this ride. A fabulous poem. The only disappointment was that it ended! Hearty congratulations.

  26. David King said

    Sorry, I’ve just seen it, at the third time of asking! I’m now going back to bed!

    • No problem, David. I do the same thing. I always blush when I read a response to my comment that says, “Thanks, AGAIN!”

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