I went to Tombstone one July.
Folks shake their heads and ask me why
I’d visit that forsaken spot
especially when it’s so darn hot?
I have no adequate answer except to say
I grew up watching tales of old;
of outlaws and of heroes bold;
like Wyatt Earp, who came to town
and settled everybody down.
While driving through the vast expanse
of creosote and cactus plants
I felt a sense of awe and wonder
at legends launched with 6 gun thunder.
Arroyos gouge this short scrub land
so deep they’d hide a horse and man
who’d sit and wait to pounce and prey
on anyone who chanced their way.
Their ghosts must ride this desert still.
What else explains the tingling chill
and goose bumps on my arms and back
while traveling in this sun baked track?
But even stranger on that day;
the feeling seemed to go away
as I got closer to the town.
The spirits just were not around.
Wyatt’s ghost, some locals say
still keeps the evil souls at bay.
But there are stories, late at night
of the unexplained and out of sight
that thump across the Bird Cage floor,
walk to the cribs and close a door.
The old west days have long since gone.
But with each Arizona dawn
its clear that Tombstone will survive
by keeping history alive.
We saddle our imagination
and ride to visit each location,
from Boot Hill to the Oriental.
We’re drawn by something sentimental;
just to walk where legends did
and live the dreams we had as kids.
There’s more there than the gunfight scene
from movies, books and magazines.
It’s the stage where real life drama played;
the weak went east, the sturdy stayed.
Its where you learn that cowboy means
more than boots and starched blue jeans,
more than Colts and campfire food.
Cowboy is an attitude.
Those old time cowboys were about
taking all that life dished out
and sticking till their job was done,
from day’s first light to setting sun.
It’s a lesson we can teach our kids;
live like those old cowboys did.
Work honest, hard and lend a hand.
Ride for the Boss, Ride for the Brand.
So maybe now you know just why
I went to Tombstone in July.
I changed my “can’t,” to “yes I can,”
in that Arizona frying pan.
Jeff Hildebrandt © 2005/2011