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THE TALE OF DANIEL McBAIN

My apologies for neglecting last week’s blog post. Though a shower of excuses come to mind, I hate excuses. Instead, I’ll attempt to compensate for my error with this week’s post.  My recent back injury and brief need to use a cane once more reminded me of an incident that occurred years ago while I was recuperating from knee surgery. I was about to enter the bathtub when my wife made an observation that ignited my writer’s mind. Her comment ultimately inspired THE TALE OF DANIEL McBAIN, a cowboy poem from my collection of western rhymes. Curious as to what my wife’s remark was? It’s included in the last line of one of the poem’s stanzas.

Enjoy! Thanks for stopping by.

THE TALE OF DANIEL McBAIN

T’was a quiet night on the mesa, the moon was beginnin’ to wane

Grandpa and I were mindin’ the herd, bedded down on the southwestern plain

Now Gramps was one for tellin’ yarns, and this night he didn’t abstain

He cleared his throat, and then he spoke of a cowpoke named Daniel McBain

 

“Ol’ Dan, now he was a rowdy sort, from most ventures he’d seldom refrain

And this challenge was no exception, sit tight and I’ll gladly explain

See, Dan got involved with a filly in town, who arrived on the noonday train

An Eastern gal from head to toe, a strawberry-blond named Lorraine

 

“Rich, prim and proper, now planted out West, a queen with no empire to reign

And so she set out to make her mark, in a cow town named Spanish Moraine

A social empress in circles back East, her standing she quickly regained

With parties the likes folks had never seen, that gal surely could entertain

 

“Then one day, Lorraine spotted Dan, her attraction she just couldn’t feign

She viewed Ol’ Dan as a stallion––wild and dusty, with an unruly mane

Dan’s crusty attire didn’t put her off, this cowpoke she wanted to rein

Into fancy duds and a clean-shaven face, then town women’s necks would crane

 

“A head-strong wench, Lorraine courted Dan, his affection she intended to gain

She bought him a suit, beaver hat, tie and shirt, at Pott’s General Store on Main

But stylish gents just weren’t dapper, without black-lacquered, brass-knobbed canes

So she got that too, plus the bath, shave, and trim with the barber, Ol’ Harold Romaine

 

“Lorraine’s plan was set to meet Dan at the dance, her joy she couldn’t contain

‘Course Ol’ Dan held a different perspective ‘bout a woman ruling his domain

Wearin’ her clothes, Dan pondered his fate, while a whiskey bottle he drained

Then all of the sudden, he sat up straight, a scheme had popped into his brain

 

“Folks still talk ‘bout the dance that night, especially your Grandma Jane

The hall was packed, t’was hotter than blazes, but nobody dared complain

Lorraine was primed for Dan to show, when much to her disdain

Dan stepped inside, said “Evenin’ gal” but all he wore was his cane

 

“To say that most folks were caught off guard would truly be a strain

The ladies gasped, and children shrieked, as if they were all in pain

Men folk tried to shield startled eyes, their efforts were mostly in vain

Beyond her wits, Lorraine stormed out of the hall, her reputation now stained

 

“Drunk and disorderly, was the plea in court, when Dan McBain was arraigned

Folks in the room reputed the ruling, they swore poor Ol’ Dan was insane

Three days in the pokey, and a hunnerd-dollar fine––money he couldn’t obtain

So Dan settled in behind steel bars, where he was fed beans, water, and grain

 

“Lorraine packed up and sold her house––that big mansion on Daisy Lane

She boarded the train that would head back East, over miles of vast terrain

The whistle blew before the engine chugged, and then it started to rain

And from his cell Dan watched her leave, through the jail’s dirty window pane

 

“They say Lorraine wed a wealthy man, way up in the state of Maine

Who made his way as a lumberman––a blond-headed, blue-eyed Dane

When Ol’ Daniel heard ‘bout the news, it became his life-long bane

He inhaled deep, and then he sighed, ‘Probly never find love again.’ ”

 

I looked at Gramps with wary eyes, “This true, or just a game?”

“‘Course it’s true,” he said to me. “You think my story’s lame?

‘Cause tellin tales, ‘bout men of the West, in that there ain’t no shame

And if I spin this yarn again next week, I’ll tell it just the same

 

“Written down by a man named Grey, I think his first name was Zane

This story I tell is just as real, as our barn’s new weather vane

And when Dan died, and was laid to rest, his funeral I arranged

Yep, a better friend no man could have, than my ol’ pard Dan McBain”

 

I gave Gramps a look, and then I smiled, to argue would be inane

Did it really matter if the tale was true, or if his friend Dan was sane?

“I’ll bet that’s so,” I said and winked, while my thoughts sought a different plane

“’Cause I know you’d never abuse the truth, just as sure as your name’s John Wayne”

 

Gramps’ squint-eyed glare spoke of rebuke, but a snicker he couldn’t restrain

“So, young sprout, you think I’m joshin’, that such friendship I couldn’t attain?”

He reached toward the pocket on his rawhide vest, and the watch secured with a chain

Its cover popped open and revealed a photo: Gramps, Dan McBain, and Dan’s cane

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