The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #26150   Message #312837
Posted By: Lonesome EJ
05-Oct-00 - 12:52 PM
Thread Name: Tribute to Woody
Subject: RE: Tribute to Woody

The people were bone tired, and their truck was low on gas when they saw the campfire down in some sage bushes and Maple trees along the creek. The man pulled the pickup over and turned to his wife."Let me check it out first." The door squeaked on it's hinges, waking up the two kids who were slumped against their Mother."Where are we, Momma?" said a small voice, thick with the drawl of West Texas. She only patted his shoulder and shooshed him.

Silhouetted against the glow of the fire were two men. One, heavy set, stood looking toward the man. The other crouched by the fire, pushing a battered coffee pot onto the coals with a stick."Howdy," said the man. The two by the fire were silent a second, then one said "How do? Can we do somethin for ya, stranger?" The man shuffled uncertainly."We're travelin, me n' my wife. Thought we'd just camp down the river a ways. Thought I'd say howdy first." The thin man stood upright, dusting the knees of his coveralls off, then strode up to the man." Y'all eat yet?" said the lanky man, now standing close enough for the man to see his big smile."We got some coffee, butter beans and bread. Heck stay for dinner! That okay with you, Huddie?" The other man approached, a large, husky black man. The stranger saw that he held a battered guitar."You bet," said the black man." You bring your wife and kids down, camp with us. We just workin folk doin some travelin ourselves."

The lanky man turned to the boy, sitting on the bank of the stream."You wanna try?" He held the hickory fish-pole over to the boy."Cause I ain't doin no good." The boy took the pole. Behind them, the muffled voices of the others drifted from the camp, along with the clink of an iron skillet, the crack of a branch broken for the fire." Gather round me children, a story I will tell." The man said very softly, then softly sang "bout Pretty Boy Floyd the Outlaw, Oklahoma knew him well..."The boy smiled. "I heard that one before. Where'd you learn it?" The man laughed a little." I made it up. Hey, your gettin a bite." The boy jerked the line."Easy!" said the man, but the catfish was on good, and the boy brought him in."Hot dog! Fish for breakfast!" said the skinny fellow as the walked back to the fire."Did you really?" said the boy. "Did I what, son?" The boy looked up at the gaunt stranger with the friendly blue eyes and dusty dark hair curled on his forehead."Really make up that Pretty Boy Floyd song?" The man laughed and put his big hand on the boy's shoulder."You bet, son. You bet I did."

After dinner, the boy and his sister drifted off to sleep to the sound of the grown folks talking by the fire. The boy woke up sometime later, the 3/4 moon shining on his face. He thought at first the music was part of a dream, the dream where his family had come at last to that green valley that his Dad was always talking about. In the middle of the valley was a house, their house, the house they had lost to the dust in Comanche County. But then he remembered the road, and the camp by the river, and he knew that the song was sung quietly by the two strangers as they sat by the dying campfire coals. He had never heard the song before, but he knew he would never forget it.

This land is your land This land is my land From California to the New York Island From the Redwood forest to the gulf stream waters This land was made for you and me