Seeing is believing

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cowboy hat

The corridors were quiet, and the lights were dimly lit. The old cowboy woke up and said, “I’ll sit here for a bit.

“From his bed, he looked up to me. Then said, “Take a load off son. I’m having trouble sleeping.” It was barely half past one.

I found a chair and sat down by this tough and weathered man. I had some time. I’d have to say that’s where my night began.

The children sold the ranch and placed him in a nursing home. Their father was pure cowboy. ‘Twas the only life he’d known.

He said, “I’ve been here long enough. I’m tired and all alone. My Emma’s coming for me and tonight I’ll be back home.

“He’d been with Emma 60 years. His good and faithful wife. She rarely left his side and was the purpose of his life.

I recollected Emma passed away a year ago. Since then, he hadn’t been himself; just couldn’t let her go.

I told him his sweet Emma wasn’t with us anymore. He said it didn’t matter they would meet at Heaven’s door.

I’d witnessed older patients who had passed away at night. But never had one tell me that tonight he’d see the light.

I told him, “It’s the doggone morphine muddling up your head.” “My mind has never been so clear,” is what the old man said.

He then proceeded telling me, “I see you don’t believe. But seeing is believing so tonight I’ll take my leave.”

I offered him some water and he pushed my hand away. Did the old cowboy see Emma? Would this be his final day?

His smile was meant for heaven. Then he said, “I’ll see you son.” I saw him take his final breath. His life was finally done.

Did Emma come and take him home? I guess I’ll never know. But if dying was that easy, then I’d choose that way to go.

Though death’s a part of living and I’ve seen too many die, I won’t forget the old cowboy who knew his time was nigh.

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Bryce Angell’s father was an outfitter and guide for 35 years, and Bryce was there to shoe and care for the horses and help him do the cooking. Bryce is from Idaho and still rides into the Tetons, Yellowstone and surrounding areas. His poems are mostly of personal experience.

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