By Baxter Black
Sheryl Crow, a popular pop singer, made headlines in 2007 by proposing a method to waste less natural resources. It made us cowboys look environmentally ahead of our time:
A purist global warming star said we should use less paper
When tending to hygienic needs, we should begin to taper
Our use of trees and bark and pulp, in forests do not linger
Restrict yourself to one small sheet … and protect your index finger!
It soon became a global joke although it lit the issue
But, in hind sight, forgive the pun, cowboys rarely see a tissue!
To prove my point take western art replete with cowboy wrecks
In landscapes big and beautiful. Were there any bright white flecks
Of paper in the sagebrush or adorning roundup scenes?
Did Russell edit them all out or were cowboys so dang clean
They never littered! Not even once? Now that I strongly doubt.
They used what was available. The practical way out.
Which wasn’t always pretty. Some things are rough and coarse
Like willer limbs, ya hold the ends and drag it back and forth.
Or pine tree boughs to scoot along, all sticky drippin’ sap
Or shirttails, accidentally, or the fringes on your chaps.
Dakotans got their wheat straw, Coloradans, cockleburs,
Californians use exotic fruits that come in his and hers.
Wyoming and Montana claim that sheep can oft suffice
A farmer up in Utah says you can use a seagull twice!
Indians wore a loincloth as their chosen mode of dress
The front, to guard their modesty, the hind, well you can guess.
Oh, how I envy cowboys who live where there are trees
’Cause ’mongst the brush and prickly pear there dang sure ain’t no leaves!
I’ve been reduced to horny toads and jagged sun-baked rocks,
But there’s been times, desperate times, I rode home with no socks.
And yes, I’ve used tortillas that I’ve found along the trail
Or rummaged in my pocket for a baby cottontail.
Almost anything you’d think of, a cowboy’s prob’ly tried
Though bob wire fence and icicles might be hard to stay astride.
We should give them carbon credits ’cause the western artists show
They leave no sign of paper sheets or Charmin in the snow
So, we tip our hat to cowboys who deserve to get their due
And be recognized as number one in the art of number two!
Baxter Black is a self-described cowboy poet, ex-veterinarian and sorry team roper. He can be contacted at 1-800-654-2550 or by e-mail at: