I've been invited to the 55th anniversary of the Classic TV Western, Gunsmoke, in Dodge City the first weekend in September. If you don't have plans, you should think about coming. There's going to be lots of entertainment and insights from folks who were on the show.
I'll be doing some poetry and this is one of the poems I'll perform. I wrote the original version a decade ago and have adapted it to specific situations several times since then. I figure, it's my poem and I can change it how and when I want. So, this is the Gunsmoke version.
He’s a Cowboy Legend from his hat to his boots.
He could ride like the wind, he could rope and could shoot.
And, when we were young, on a Saturday
we would watch him for hours at the matinee.
He’d ride cross the prairie on that big silver screen
and we called him Wild Bill, Lash LaRue, Eddie Dean.
We would visit Dodge City on Saturday nights
and cheer as Matt Dillon would fight for the rights
of any lost soul who wandered that way.
And we hoped we’d all do the same thing some day.
Matt Dillon, Chester, Festus and Newly,
Doc and Miss Kitty, we all loved you truly.
The good guys are gone and what’s left us today
are heroes whose morals and feet are of clay.
So, I guess if young cowpokes are gonna learn how
to respect one another, we’ve gotta start now
to teach em there’s value in all that God’s made,
to show love and compassion, not anger and hate.
The young uns need heroes to learn what to do
So, saddle up pard, cause that hero is you.
Jeff Hildebrandt © Sept. 10, 2005
By the way, the original version is in my first book of cowboy poetry: "Prairie Prose...and Cons."