Though RON McDANIEL is not a commercial fisherman, he has eaten more wild salmon than any bow-legged man alive. Ron lives in Northwest Arkansas and is a husband and father of three kids. They keep a few horses and graze some calves in order to maintain their debtor relationship with the bank. Ron manages the horse business for an Animal Health company and day works for Adams Cattle Company. As a testament to his skills, the Cowboss at the ranch said “Hiring Ron is like losing two good men!” Invited to Fisher Poets several years ago, he’s like a cowboy that keeps showing up at your house every year after the local rodeo to sleep on your couch.
Ron McDaniel performs a piece for his favorite horse. Video courtesy of Brad Wartman, 2013
Not Too Far Apart
You prefer the Ocean, the freedom of the Sea
I prefer to always have dry land, under me.
For you it is so natural, riding waves that roll and pitch,
But only a Caballo, can satisfy my itch.
Our diets are quite different, you eat fish with Saltines
Me, I often get by on cold biscuits and beans.
Our clothes are also different, you might predict as well
There function to protect us both from different kinds of hell.
You wear boots of rubber, good for any kind of weather,
I prefer my boots are made entirely from leather.
The clothes you don for work, Grundens, turtlenecks, and caps
We wear felt hats, wild rags, and leggings some call chaps.
You use strong lines to hold your nets, when filled they cause resistance,
I call my line a rope, to catch a cow that needs assistance.
We’re misunderstood by many, that is one thing we share
They ask us why we do it, this demanding life we bear.
It’s sure not for the money, though we both keep on believing
If we just hold on til next year, we’ll be lucky to break even.
We both share Mother Nature, for better or for worse
One day she smiles upon us, the next she sends a curse.
Unleashing all her fury, like she will now and then
She shows no favoritism to cowboys or fishermen.
We both sure are afflicted, this addiction we can’t shake
Like tobacco and whiskey habits, this life is hard to break.
“Admit you’ve got a problem”, to us they would suggest,
“Who us?” we’ve got no problem, our life it is the best.
Whether sitting in the saddle, or rolling with a wave
This is the life we chose, this is the life we crave.
And just like you, most cowboys often gather at a bar
The distance in between us, is really not that far.
You might expect this cowboy’d make some hairy, chested boast
But to the Fisher Poets, I offer up this toast:
We’re not too far apart; It’s finally dawned on me
Thanks to Moe & Joanna, the Ladies of the Sea.
So order some beef liver, or a steak which is more mild
And I will order salmon, but only if it’s wild!!!
Not the Quitting Kind
My sense of cowboy chivalry, usually causes me some trouble,
Often, resulting in my ego, popping like a bubble.
A woman’s horse was bothered, lathered in a sweat,
120 days of training, but not a finished horse just yet.
“You sure look worried M’am,” I say, “is everything alright?”
She said “I’d like to ride this horse, but I can’t overcome my fright.”
“Can you ride him Sir?” she said, Well if he’s got hair I can!
But the horse I put my saddle on, had a different plan.
Now hindsight's 20/20, but I didn’t use my head,
Why walk him to the round pen, I’ll ride him there instead.
So I cinch him up and step on, I’ll show him who’s the boss,
Well this wasn’t just a spoiled horse, this was a bucking hoss!
I had a good grip on my lariat, felt I had a real good start,
But when my rope strap broke, that’s when things came apart.
Oh I gave it all I had, trying not to hit the ground,
But I started getting dizzy from his bucking all around.
Folks that saw this tell me, I put on quite a ride,
But I knew he had me beat with every bucking stride.
Yea, he was getting stronger with every buck and kick,
And I was getting weaker, thought I’d never make it stick.
I hit the ground real hard, kind of got up in a daze,
What happened next is lost on me, still in a cloudy haze.
Now the story from this point on, had to be told to me,
Cause the next 3 hours of my life are like a blank CD.
Instinct took over at this point, all wisdom shoved aside,
A cowboy couldn’t quit on such an unsuccessful ride.
So I caught that horse, checked my cinch, I’d give it another go,
When Curt came up, said “Hold my horse, I’ll use yours for the show.”
What I didn’t realize was, I held a green-broke horse,
Curt planned to keep me off the bucker, without the use of force.
He thought I’d lead his horse along, keep my dignity and pride,
But instinct says you never walk, if you’ve a horse to ride.
So I mounted like a drunk man, still in a daze you see,
My 6 foot 4 friend’s saddle allowed my feet to dangle free.
Right there that horse decided to get me off his back,
I made a few good jumps and then departed from the tack.
When I hit the ground I kind of landed in a heap,
My state of mind was in between conscious and asleep.
I failed the mental faculties test, a complicated game
Questions like, What day is it? And Can you say your name?
So they strapped me to a backboard, though there really was no need,
They felt it would prevent my climbing on another steed.
Their exam had revealed that I’m not the quittin kind,
Restraint would stop my mounting any horse that I could find.
So if you see a cowboy take a tumble from the sky,
Keep in mind he’s short on brains, but very long on try.
He’s going to climb on something, his mind has just one track,
So lead him to the tack room, let him mount a saddle rack.
Where Cell Phones Never Ring
Gathering cattle, Driving in Montana, Teaching my son to cowboy,
Working with my dogs, Putting out bulls;
Things I like doing…Where cell phones never ring.
The Southwest City Cafe, My son’s deer stand,
The cowboy shack at Adams Cattle Company, my house;
Places I like being… Where cell phones never ring.
End of the day conversations with Nancy, Reading a book,
Cookouts with friends, Un-saddling my horse;
Things that I enjoy… Where cell phones never ring.
Mt. Zion country church, Opal Leonard’s living room to cast our vote,
Our small town funeral parlor, small cemeteries in pastures;
Places our Community gathers… Where cell phones never ring.
Shoeing a horse, Comforting my child,
Doing chores alone, Holding my wife;
Things that help me grieve… Where cell phones never ring.
Loved ones, Family, Friends & Neighbors,
Too many to name all that have left us;
People in that Better Place… Where cell phones never ring.