Author: Compton, Cliff

City Boy
 

Simple kind of life never did me no harm
Raising me a family and working on the farm
Days are all filled with a certain country charm
Thank God I’m a country boy

This music we all love is rural. I know there are a few good city songs in the mix, but most of them are about regretting leaving the country and moving to the city.

John Denver’s got a pretty idyllic view of farm life. I guess farm life can be pretty good if you’ve got a few bucks stashed away or if your eyes have been altered by a little chemical enhancement, but it never seemed that way to me when I was spending my summers there.

When I was about ten to twelve years old my folks decided It would be a character building experience to send me to my uncle’s dairy farm close to the booming metropolis of South Prarie Washington population @64, and I gotta admit, it built a character, but I’m not sure it was the what they were expecting.

My uncle was a stern, no nonsense, hard-fisted sort, with a short fuse and a strong belief in the educational abilities of the leather strap, and I was a pupil in need of education. And the classes started immediately.

He believed in hard work, and that I should be the one doing it. I, however, believed that a boy’s summers should be spent laying in a haystack or swimming in the creek.

I remember that he had a problem on the farm with star thistle. Apparently this nasty little weed is considered a delicacy to a cow, but a cow’s stomach, on the other hand, has serious problems when it tries to digest it. Therefore my uncle gave me the job of removing it from the pasture. I went out with a wheel barrow and leather gloves and was given the lower forty to de-thistle.

South Prairie Washington on a hot summer day is a beautiful place. It just feels like summer is supposed to feel. Makes a boy sleepy. Pulling them thistles really was a nasty job. Frankly I didn’t much want to do it, and my uncle was nowhere to be seen, so I lay down in the wheel barrel, pulled my cap over my face, and promptly went to sleep. …And it was the perfect sleep…I was dreaming about cows or something, sun warming my shirtless chest, lost in the magic….

I awoke flying through the air. The sound of leather hitting my hide. Trying to run with sleeping feet. Beginning to understand the serious nature of star thistle removal.

My uncle had a few words to say. I didn’t know he knew those words…but I got the message. The star thistles were removed.

Well, that there farm life might of made John Denver Thank God he was a country boy, but apparently he never met my Uncle Sam. I mostly remember milking cows before sunrise, bucking hay bales that weighed more than I do now, standing in my boots in cow manure hosing down the runway to the dairy shed, and worst of all there wasn’t a guitar or a banjo on the property and if there was, my uncle probably wouldn’t have let me play it..

And anyhow I’m a city boy. I’ve lived a lot of places, and in most of those places the people outnumbered the cows. But I, gotta admit. I still got a little South Prairie Washington in my blood. But not enough to appreciate the smell of cow manure in the morning.

Thank God I’m a city boy.

 
Posted:  4/12/2013



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