"Canyon-de-Magio" painting by Mike Mahon

Canön de Majio

     Another lonely sunrise was splitting the sky when the old cowboy went to the loafing shed to gather up his old friend, the mare. He had already downed his third cup of scalding black Arbuckle coffee and stopped by the tack room on his way. Over his arthritic old shoulder was his well-worn triple rigged saddle. Knowing he was to ride the canyon today he had added in his martingale; and he had chosen his best hand made Indian saddle blanket, might just as well make that old mare comfortable.

     Once saddled he stepped onto the war deck and gathering his reins and nudged the mare over to the porch of his old home place where he had left his booted .30-.30 and packed saddle bags, this was to be a final trip and the old cowboy’s many years of experience always told him of his need of simple things, sugar, coffee, fish line, a slab of bacon and a frying pan, a spare box of cartridges and a change of socks. He knew from ‘the school of hard knocks’ that his old .30-.30 and the fish line would feed him and old dog for as long as it took. The final item tied on behind his cantle was his old slicker, thru the years it had served as rain coat, shelter half, tent and ground cloth as each need arose. He was ready for this, his last trip into the Canyon.

     He was adorned in his old “go-to-hell-hat” (if you don’t like my old hat you can go to hell), a pair of well-worn Mexican brush busters, his least frayed jeans and a bright-striped shirt. To keep the morning chills away from his tired bones he grabbed up his fleece lined jacket as he left the house for that final trip..

     That shadow rider, the Majio, had been coming closer to his camp thru these last years and the old cowboy knew this was to be the last and final fight between his presence in this world and the next world to come. Looking back over his life, Cowboy always knew each time the Majio had entered his camp as the years had passed swiftly; for each time that evil shadow rider came he would steal something from the cowboy’s life.

      The value of the stolen goods taken by that camp robber had increased with each passing year. First time out of the chute, back in the 60’s, he took away Cowboy’s youth. Twenty years later the Majio slipped in under cover of darkness and high-tailed it out with his health; next came companionship, swiftly followed by his theft of love, family, money, and now all the Cowboy had left was his wonderful memories… this was to be the final fight! For the Majio had left him only with these strong memories of love and life, and this trip was to be the last, for the Black Majio had come for these last items of any real value the old cowboy possessed………

     But for today, there was the hauntingly lonely beauty of the canyon; that damned old dog, and the mare. It was enough for now, enough for the short time left to the old cowboy.

     Hell, a man could do worse than that mangy old black dog and the red mare. And the happy times that still come in short broken memories, fleeting dreams, visions of the beauty in her eyes, the passion in her arms and the love you shared oh so many years ago. For the true measure of a man is “does he cover the ground he is standing on.”

~ © 2003 David L. Griffith ~

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© 2003/2010 Dave ~ Cowboy Night Writer

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