Pru

This poem appeared in the Winter 2007 issue of Texoma Living! magazine.

As you can plainly see
I’m from off the lone prairie,
Got a ranch out there; I call it “Mornin’ Dew.”
But the cowboy life was lonely
Til I found my one and only,
A red-haired widder gal, the name a’ Pru.

She was sweet as sugar pie
And a dee-light to the eye,
But my pals said she had talents I’d not seen.
Said she’d make a dandy wife
But she was deadly with a knife,
So I’d better, never, ever treat her mean.

Now Pru she had a spot
Where she’d sit when it was hot
And peel the spuds we’d have with ever meal.
The place was in the shade
Where it seemed that God had made
The coolest breeze you’d ever hope to feel.

In the middle of July
When the sun was hot and high
I was workin’ at a chore that leaves me queer.
You take a piece of rope
And a jack knife and some dope
Then you grab baby bull and make a steer.

Now some may think that’s scary
But that’s life upon the prairie
And that’s the way they do it on the range.
But for me it’s warn’t easy
And it always left me queasy
And when I’d let the doggie go,
I’d feel right strange.

That day when I come home,
I was wore out to the bone.
And just about as tired as I could be.
I didn’t give no care
I just grabbed a rockin’ chair
And stretched out underneath
Pru’s cool green tree.

I was about to go to sleep
When I seen Pru at my feet,
And she eyed me like the preacher
eyes the sinner.
She too’d been working hard
And had come out in the yard
To take a rest and peel the spuds for dinner.

She said, “Please move your chair
Cause I’d like to rest right there,
Upon that spot is where I always sit.
I said, “The hell you say,
I done did my work today
And I ain’t a gonna move, not one damn bit.”

She smiled and then she said,
“You know it makes me sad,
That you would treat your lovin’ wife this way
But I figure you’re just cross
And confused ‘bout who’s the boss.”
Then her actions spoke much more
than words could say.

With a twinkle in her eye
She out and snatched a fly
And gentle like she held it in her hand
Then she let the critter go
And it buzzed off to and fro
As she pulled the paring knife from out the pan.

She threw it at that fly
As the insect hummed on by,
And the knife it stuck a quiverin’ in the tree.
The fly, he didn’t care.
He just buzzed on through the air
A-makin’ loops and soarin’ wild and free.

Pru said, “That bug’s still flyin’,
But in his heart he’s cryin’,
Cause a family man is what he’d hoped to be.
I’ll tell you right now, cousin
That while I left him buzzin’
He won’t never sire no children, nosiree.”

There’s a time to make a stand
To show that you’re a man,
But I decided this was not the time to prove it.
It’s not that I was yeller
But discretion’s part of valor
Pru had spoke, so then I had to move it.

“Pru” was written for the tall tale contest at the Atlanta Storytelling Festival. The rules required that it be performed, run no longer than three minutes and all entries had to end with the phrase, “and then I had to move it.” “Pru” won first prize.