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Rotary Happenings: Cowboy Poetry highlight of Rotary meeting

By Staff | Nov 15, 2017

Wild Bill Rahe read some “Cowboy Poetry” to the Rotarians last week. PHOTO PROVIDED

Its been declared by our Sanibel-Captiva Rotary President Holli Martin, “that this Rotary year 2017-18, San-Cap Rotarians are going to have fun. We work hard at fundraising and funding important projects and we deserve to have some fun. So, that has been a recurring theme since Holli took office last July and you can read it here we have been having fun.

We are now into our third Rotary Happy Hour get-together, the last being on Halloween at the Blue Giraffe costumes and all. You do have to laugh when Betty and Fred Flintstone and Daisy and Daffy Duck are prancing around trying to blend in at a Rotary party.

As I’m writing this column, some of our sporty San-Cap Rotarians are kayaking down the Peace River with about 100 other Rotary affiliated kayakers on a beautiful November day and enjoying the camaraderie of just a great group of people and appreciating the day while raising funds for local water projects. But we aren’t just carrying this fun theme out after meeting times, our speaker chairs for November decided maybe we might just use our speaker time this week to enjoy a little poetry, not just any kind of poetry, “Cowboy Poetry.” So, moseying up to the podium came a handsome cowboywhite Stetson hat, silver neck slide, western-style belt with silver buckle, and some mighty fine fancy cowboy boots. His nameWild Bill Rahe Rotarian Bill Rahe. Bill has had a fancy for “Cowboy Poetry” for quite some time having lived out west for a piece. Although Bill didn’t bring a lasso with him last Friday, he didn’t really need one because as soon as he started to recite his first poem “Purt Near” by S. Omar Barker he had us roped in.

As Bill tells it, “While folk poetry and classical poetry cannot be compared, they do share the same aim: the poet searches for the best language to express his intentions and feelings. For cowboy poetry this means a language which reflects open spaces, natural beauty, hard times and soft evenings; a language coded with insiders’ words, special phrases and meanings, and shared values.” Cowboy poetry was usually recited around the camp fire, or in the buck house during the cold winter evenings.

Cowboy Bill had just the right cadence and meter to his recitation, rhythmic, but soft with words sliding of his silver tongue. “Purt Near”a sample verse:

They called him “Purt Near Perkins,”

for unless the booger lied,

He’d purt near done most everything

that he had ever tried.

He’d purt near been a preacher

and he’d purt near roped a bear;

He’d met up with Comanches once

and purt near lost his hair.

He’d purt near wed an heiress

who had money by the keg,

He’d purt near had the measles,

and he’d purt near broke his leg.

Bill recited another of S. Omar Barker’s poems “Jack Potter’s Courtin” based on a true story, at least, that’s how its told. So, here’s another partial-sample verse from “Courtin”

Now young Jack Potter was a man who knowed the ways of steers.

From bur-nests in their hairy tails to ticks that chawed their ears.

A Texican and cowhand, to the saddle bred and born,

He could count a trail herd on the move and never miss a horn.

But one day on a tally, back in eighteen-eighty-four,

He got to acting dreamy, and he sure did miss the score.

The Trail Boss knowed the symptoms. “Jack you ain’t no good like this.

I’ll give you just ten days to go and find what is amiss!”

A “miss” was just what ailed him, for he’d fell in love for sure

With a gal named Cordie Eddy, mighty purty, sweet and pure.

Bill’s presentation of “Cowboy Poetry” made everyone smile and laugh, starting the day off in this way, made for a very good day. It was fun.

Sanibel-Captiva Rotary meets at 7 a.m. on Friday mornings, at the Dunes Golf & Tennis Club. Guests are always welcomed.