One Hell of a Ride

I can never  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.

Shanyn Silinski is minding the bar over at dVerse poets pub this evening, and wants to see some cowboy poetry. I wrote the following poem shortly after my grandpa’s passing, and he was without a doubt the thing cowboy poetry is all about. 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

 

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31 Comments »

  1. zongrik said

    I like the pun at the end. I also like the pic. That’s your grandad in the pic?

    Midnight Cowboy — A Quick Review

    • Both pics are of him, Tammy. The top one is when he was about 20, and the bottom one he was in his seventies.

  2. A lovely tribute. You are fortunate to have had such a man in your life …

  3. smiles…your grampa sounds like a man i would not mind sitting a spell to listen to…he’s got a few good tales in him…and in the end we can not take it with us, so leave behind what you can…love being the greatest…

  4. margaret said

    I love poems like this that honor a relative. Your grandfather knew how to live and love! Thanks for sharing the poem and photos.

  5. claudia said

    oh wow charles….what a wonderful tribute to him…he sounds like quite the character and sounds like he was at peace with himself and his life and how things went… cool on how they met as well…jewel..what a beautiful name

    • Thanks, Claudia! Yes, he was a character, and I hope I’m a little bit like him.
      As for the name Jewel, her two sisters were named Opal and Ruby, and her brother’s name was Jim. Pretty cool, huh!?

  6. Rowan Taw said

    This is so heart warming – thanks for sharing this with us, Charles.

  7. Charles, this is an awesome tribute to you grandpa. A real cowboy song… and those pictures are so perfect to go with your story.

    • Thanks, Bjorn! I like to imagine John Wayne reading this one. Gives me chill bumps to think about his resonate voice speaking these words about ol’ Bunk.

  8. Mary said

    This is wonderful, Charles. He was a REAL cowboy. And that last stanza says it all….. ‘a hell of a ride’ indeed. Enjoyed this.

  9. shanyns said

    In pursuit of a brighter sun! Indeed. What a great and loving tribute to him. Loved that you shared it with us. Great write, and really special photos too! Thanks for joining in my friend.

    • That’s what I’m talkin bout, Shanyn; that brighter sun! It’s there–comes up every day, to quote another of my poems.
      Glad to be here, and thanks for stopping by!

      • shanyns said

        Could also be a great reminder about our seeking the Son! Thanks for the reminder today.

      • I was just talking about that with my Mom (Bunk was her dad). Good eye, Shanyn!

      • shanyns said

        Thanks.

  10. Truedessa said

    Charles, I was caught up in the magic of the tale..great memories for you of your grandpa..I’m glad you told us..

  11. Ai’ve ridden the range. You make it sound a lot better than I remember it, thanks

    • Well, shoot, pardner, you know us poets got to romanticize things!
      Thanks for stopping by!

  12. I thought of you and this poem straight away when I read the prompt! It’s always a pleasure to come back and read this one…yes there’s nothing better than the REAL cowboys thanks for sharing again Charles 🙂

  13. Love the pics. So you’ve got the cow boy gene… good for you!

    • Yep. I got the hat, jeans and boots, but don’t wear ’em much anymore. Toby Keith wrote a song about me in ’93. You might a heard it on the radio; “I Should’ve Been A Cowboy”.

  14. adopted80 said

    Oh Charlie how I sit and reminisced as I read this poem, of the days as a youngster riding horses and roping cattle, riding bulls in rodeos, working horse and cattle ranches. You probably get the idea, but boy how we had so much fun in the midst of family torn by abuse. Thanks for the memories. Great Poem….bart

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