Flashback to Great American Storyteller Red Steagall’s poem, “The Best Seat in the House”, published in September 2003. 

SKMBT 28315102310071Poem by Great American Storyteller Red Steagall. Illustration by Western Horseman Art Director Ron Bonge.

It’s mostly oil-tanned leather hide
And basketstamped by hand.
It’s heart is carved from seasoned oak
And wrapped with rawhide bands.

It’s seen a lot of hard-earned miles,
On multicolored hides.
It’s felt the sting of cat-claw brush,
And sweat from heavin’ sides.

It’s heard the crack of rifle fire,
And watched a horse thief fall.
It swam the ragin’ Cimarron
The time they lost ’em all.

It watched the settlers come and go.
The promise, pride and pain.
It saw their dreams dry up and die,
Without a drop of rain.

It felt the heat of summer sun,
The bite of arctic wind.
It watched the whiteface babies play
When grass turned green again.

It was his shelter in a storm,
With hailstones big as eggs.
Then was his pillow through the weeks
He nursed a broken leg.

A thousand times it felt the hit
When Papa jerked his slack.
A hundred times he wished he’d missed
But couldn’t take it back.

He hung it in the calvin’ barn
When Papa got too old.
I took it down and oiled it up,
The leather’s good as gold.

And though it’s nearin’ 90 years,
It sets a horse just fine.
They say a saddle worth its salt
Ignores the change of time.

I stalk a black bull in the brush,
A game of cat-and-mouse.
I’m ridin’ Papa’s A-fork kack,
The best seat in the house.


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