A Spike Through Your Creative Heart

by Calendar Hacksaw

If you're a lot like me, and rightfully ashamed of it, more than once you've wished you had the talent, guts and creativity to write good cowboy poetry.

"Boy," you likely lamented, "If I just had something to write about, I'll bet I could put together a presentation every bit as good as Mickey Dawes or Waddie Mitchell."

Well, dear reader, lament no more, because your old pal Calendar is here to make your dream come true! Fifteen minutes of fame and fortune await you, possibly as early as tonight, if you'll only adopt the sloppy, contrived, hackneyed and sophomoric epic below, clean it up a bit, add some tears or humor, and proudly proclaim it your own. After all, 90% of all cowboy poetry matches that profile.

To further ensure your good fortune, I am announcing right here and now that the ode "Rusty Spike" carries with it no copyright, no claim of authorship, and has been cast adrift in the raging sea of righteous public domain. It has less ownership attached to it than a stray cat, and anxiously awaits your careful pruning, caressing, fertilizing, spaying or neutering. Add or detract from it as you wish, then send the results to: calendarhacksaw@highdesert.com as a Microsoft Word document or simply a text-based e-mail. This column is available on line at: http://www.calendarhacksaw.com/ch0502.htm where you can cut and paste for ease of manipulation, and I don't use that phrase lightly, often, or without giving due consideration to the possible consequences.


Rusty Spike

by (Enter Your Name Here)


When Rusty was a lad he had the wanderlust, probably a lot like you or me.

But he didn't want a horse, or a pick-up truck; aboard a train Rusty wanted to be.

Well, we was short on dough, had nowhere to go; the times just wasn't so good.

We walked the rails, pickin' up spikes, on weekends or whenever we could.


We'd set out early, our hikin' boots on, headin' toward Bena or Keene,

Watchin' freights roll by and countin' the cars, just to see how many we seen.

Stickin' spikes in our pants, doin' a dance, our Wranglers were surely a saggin',

Swearin' next week when we did it again we'd bring along a big wagon.


Weeks went by, and months did, too, and that spike pile got real tall.

"What'll we do with all these spikes?" I asked. "We surely can't keep 'em all!"

"Well," Rusty said, "I've got an idea; it just came into my head.

"Let's build us a mountain of railroad spikes out behind the ol' tool shed!"


Time passed, Rusty growed up, and said he wanted to go off to school.

Meet some girls, get an engineering degree. He thought that would be real cool.

But times was tough, the cattle were thin, tuition was nowhere in sight.

Rusty said, "Don't worry, Pop; I've got an idea. Just let me give it a fight."


He got on the phone, on the Internet, too; typin' and waggin' his tongue.

Rollin' the dice and dealin' them cards like it was all he'd ever done.

And to my surprise, when the rooster crowed, I got up and looked down the lane.

All I could see was a line of trucks, bein' led by a magnetic crane!


A ton at a time, it lifted them spikes, fillin' one trailer after another.

"Look at that, Dad, ain't that a sight? I'm gonna wake up mother!"

And before day was done that tuition was paid, thanks to those railroad nails.

When it comes to succeedin' in America, folks, ingenuity seldom fails.


Rusty headed east and went off to school, and we didn't hear nothin' for awhile

Graduation came, we couldn't attend, so we sent him a card and a smile.

He went off to work and married a teacher; too busy to visit us, it seemed.

Then one day, a telegram came, sayin' "We're comin' home, folksóthe three of usó

comin' home to stay!" he beamed.


Down at the station I had a tear in my eye, waitin' for the 12:02.

Smoke down the tracks and a "clickity-clack" meant my dream was about to come true.

But I couldn't believe my eyes when that lead engine braked in the rain,

With his son on his lap and a grin on his face, Engineer Rusty was drivin' that train!


Rusty settled down and bought him a farm, not too far from mine

I'd see him pause in the fields with a wistful look whenever trains rolled down the line.

As for me, I still walk the tracks, makin' friends with a little tyke.

He ain't too fast and he ain't too tall, but to us he's just Rusty's "Spike."


Sickening, huh? Ok, now it's your turn, and you can do better. Get out your pencils and start writin'. I'll sit here by my computer awaiting the flood of responses. For extra points, try adding a sad horse, colorful hobo, train derailment, or Tim and Darla Lange.

But no stray cat.

Calendar Hacksaw highballs at http://www.calendarhacksaw.com, and

if you find a railroad spike in Twin Oaks, you'll know this story's true,

because Hacksaw leaves a trail wherever he goes, and this time he's headin' for you.

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