The creation of ‘Just an Old Cowboy.’ and ‘A Friend From Long Ago’

One night I awoke, to my mind spinning with memories and stories of long ago.  I tried going back to sleep, but sleep wouldn’t be possible until this was down on paper.  This night opened the door to the past and my old cowboy was reborn.  

So let’s go back a some years… I’ve always been a bit of a loner, home for me was a lonely place, my horse and dog were my best friends. My dog was one of the sons of ‘Lassie’, our neighbors won him in a Campbell Soup dog naming contest.  They had no fence and couldn’t keep him cause he kept running away.  They gave him to us, because we loved him and he’d always come to our house first when he got out.  He was unreal, he was trained by Bob Wetherwax, Lassie’s trainer and was smart as be and a better student than me.   When not at school,  I was out riding my horse, his name was Diablo.  He was an adopted wild mustang, who was supposed to be trained, but was only green broke and proud cut to boot.  We grew up together and spent many years exploring the mountains, hills and valleys near my house.  Looking back I you see how special it all really was, like being inspired by the raw beauty of the land, and sitting by a stream taking it all in while getting lost in the music of the water playing over rocks, lots of special moments.  Although spending so much time in the mountains along did put us in more than a few dangerous situations, and I was aware how alone and far from help my horse and I were if something went wrong.  (and no we couldn’t just call someone, cell phones hadn’t been invented yet).  Anyways, I think all those experiences along with loneliness helped fuel my *Walter Mitty-ish imagination and was the genesis of my imaginary cowboy friend, and he became my protector and riding companion of sorts. Not much protection in a real situation, but tell that to the imagination… ‘Just an Old Cowboy” is in poem form and the first of my stories about our time and adventures.  

I hope you enjoy them and I hope you also have great and wonderous adventures! 

                                                                                                                                                   Hansi Riley

I don’t have many pictures of my horse and I together, so I posted this movie I rode my horse in, it’s taken at the bottom of the hills, below the mountains we would ride in.    To see the film ‘Marijuana 1968’ go to and scroll to reel 27:43

 I wouldn’t be surprised it it’s #1 on ”Rotten Tomatoes’, Sony Bono narrated and I think he was stoned, hehe 

* The Secret Life of Walter Mitty by James Thurber Walter Mitty had his own secret world, created by am extreme imagination.  I guess mine wasn’t that bad, compared to his.  (=


Just an Old Cowboy

Just an Old Cowboy ragged and worn

stains on his shirt with jeans thin and torn.

He moved kinda slow and talked slower still       Old Cowboy 2

but none of this fooled me

cause he’d tamed these wild hills,

and no man could make it

to his age in these parts.

Without being rugged and unless he was smart.

I entered the cabin and was looking around

when he signaled me over, to come sit down.

He rubbed the fingers of misshapen hands

as rough and gnarled as the lay of the land.

He gazed out the window and started to speak

as he started to going back in time.

He spoke of his horses and then of his wife

reminiscing bout good times he’d had.

He told of their  hardship, trouble and strife

that was all a part of the Cowboy life.

Then he spoke of his family

who’d brought him such joy

his beautiful daughters, the birth of their boy.

His eyes teared up and he turned away

saying; ’Loosing my wife,

took the best part of me, that day.’

Well I lost my Old Cowboy in his 86th year.

I still have his picture, and even now I can hear

his gravely voice, see those twinkling eyes.

I still visit his mountain,

cause that’s where he lies.           Hansi Riley

A friend from long ago…

Long ago as I would ride

through mountains and the glen

he would ride beside me

 keeping me company,

my old friend.

Through bad times and the good ones

he’d join me on the trail.

He must have sensed my loneliness

cause he’d show up,

just about then.

I’d see him in the distance

and his smile would soon ensue.

Though he never hugged or touched me

that he cared

I always knew.

His words were spoken softly

to each one, I listened well.

About his wild adventures,

such great stories he would tell.

But sadly, as the years went by

I’d see him less and less.

His absence brought me sadness

though I figured he knew best.

 Many years had passed on by,

 when in my mind he reappeared.

In a time of stress and darkness

his words, they reassured

and I found myself remembering

the lonely girl I used to be

and how much joy and pleasure

his company brought to me.

Then, the thought occurred,

that I was finished being alone.

For now, he had returned…

I must have called him home.

                                                 Hansi Riley 

old cowboy 2

This was about my old friend “the cowboy” in my other poem, I hope you enjoy them. (=