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GARY ROBERTSON: Poems

The Nickel

(Gary Robertson)
Back when we were just youngin’s
Grandmother would thrill us kids with her tales
Of Cowboys ‘n Indians, ‘r sometimes pirates
Or unicorns, wizards, ‘r whales.
‘N, oh how we’d sit ‘n just listen
As her words would carry us away
To the places ‘n times they created
Fer hours we’d be held in her sway.
‘N one of our favorite stories
was of this little ole homesteaded girl
‘N a gift that she was given
Worth more than diamonds ‘r pearls.
She lived with her Mama ‘n Daddy
Baby brother, sisters too
On a hard scrabble little homestead
The year was nineteen-0-two.
She was too small to help with the farmin’
So she gardened ‘n helped wash the clothes
‘N watched after her baby brother
While the others were hoein’ the rows.
One day as she hung out the laundry
A young Cowboy rode right up the lane
He was sittin’ astride a fine sorrel colt
Sportin’ a white tail ‘n mane.
He asked could he water his pony
So she led him ‘round back to the tanks
When he stepped back up in the stirrup
He tossed her a nickel fer thanks.
Now, a nickel to her was a fortune
But it was one she never would spend
‘Cause that Cowboy ‘n pony had captured her heart
‘N she knew it would always remind her of them.
As Grandmother would tell the story
That Cowboy returned every spring
‘N took that young girl to be his true bride
The summer she turned seventeen.
Years later we tried to convince her
To publish the stories she’d told
She said “No, they’re gifts for you grandkids
“N probably too silly ‘n too old.”
But, we found dozens of hand written journals
Locked in an old cedar chest
When we had to close up Grandmother’s house
After we laid her to rest.
‘N in the back of one leather bound journal
Chock full of stories she’d wrote
We found a picture of Grandad
Astride a fine sorrel colt.
‘N there wrapped in a little girl’s kerchief
White cotton, embroidered in blue
Was a shinny Liberty nickel
Dated nineteen hundred ‘n two.