Orphans Preferred

Jeff Hearty
June 2010

Here I was homeless as a tumbleweed with a gun that weren't for show
riding down a muddy street in a "burg" they called St. Joe
Now I was short of schoolin' with my reading not the best
but I saw a sign that caught my eye and thought it looked a likely test
It said "young, skinny, wiry fellows" and "orphans were preferred"
but at 17 and tough as nails I didn't think just what that might incur
I was packing a 3 day hunger without a jingle in my jeans
and 100 a month to sit a horse, that sounded like an offer for a king

Some people here they doubted "The Pony" and said "10 days, that just can't be done"
so I signed up for adventure and thought it might even be fun
Now some stories are told and some are not and some will remain a mystery
but one thing friend there aint no doubt, we sure made history

Charging through snow and rain and sleet and hail and blistering hot weather
with a mochila on a half-broke bronc we were riding hell for leather
Now some folks they disdain this land and say that it was God-forsaken
but I think I see it for what it is, it's just poetry in the makin'

Well I had a brush with Utes one time, just this side of the pass
and to keep the credit fair I kept my hair cuz that big sorrel horse was fast
Now I ain't gonna lie to you none and tell you that I left that fight unscathed
I lost my favorite pistol there and picked up this scar upon my face

There was one time I had to walk a dozen desert miles
and if I live to be 100 well I won't forget that trial
I was riding my favorite pony, the one they called Bronco Brown
when he stepped into a badger hole and both of us went down
Well I heard an evil grinding noise and a couple of loud pops
so when I stopped a rollin' I had to check if I'd been shot
The good books tells us that "sheep go to heaven"
and I think Bronco Brown will too
So with a pistol in hand and tear in my eye, I did just what I had to do

Well it's been a lotta years gone by since that telegraph went through
and The Pony was disbanded and we watched as our nation grew
But some nights I still lie awake and think of those days carrying government mail
and I can almost hear the hoobeats thundering down the XP trail.