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I’m an Old Cowhand…Chuckie Style

Story ID:9418
Written by:Charles Dishno (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:Bly Oregon USA
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I’m an Old Cowhand…Chuckie Style
By Chuck Dishno

For as far back as I can remember, in my hometown, Bly, Oregon, there was a community hall that at one time served many functions such as a dance hall, or a general meeting place. It was known as Reed’s Hall but I was told by an old-timer that in the early frontier days it was called the Bucket of Blood Saloon. It was located on the corner of Elder & Edsall Streets, although all the years I lived in Bly, I never knew the streets had names.

Bly was a thriving lumber town of about 700. I remember many community events held there. One in particular stands out in my memory was a talent contest. I must have been about 6 or 7 years old at the time. I know it was before the start of the Second World War since my brothers, Frank & Bud, were home.

My family was always a musical family and could pick up almost any instrument and play it, with the exception of me. I couldn’t play anything, not even the piano that my Grandmother tried to teach me for many years. Bud however loved to play the guitar and taught me to sing along with him. In his infinite wisdom, he was always volunteering me for something, he signed me up to sing “I’m An Old Cowhand” in this talent contest, while he accompanied me on his guitar. I had learned the words from listening to a record of Bing Crosby singing it.

As I remember the house was packed and when Bud and I got up on the stage I began to get stage fright. Bud started off playing but it was obvious that we hadn’t practiced much since I started singing quite a few bars later. Bud heard what was going on and stopped but I didn’t so he tried to catch up. When I heard him start over again, I stopped and started over. This happened several times much to the hilarity of the audience. When we finally finished, we got a standing ovation. Several other local talents were also on the program including my Grandmother Etta.

When the judges tallied up the votes, Bud and I had won first prize. As I remember I received a Schaffer Pen and Pencil set. I don’t know what Bud received – I just think he was relieved to get off the stage. He never asked me to perform with him again.

Bud has gone on to his final reward in Heaven now and has probably traded his guitar for a harp. I hope to catch up with him someday and as I pass through those Pearly Gates I will be listening for the strains of “I’m An Old Cowhand” played on a harp. I hope Bud and I will be able to put on a show for a group of Angles. I will try to keep up this time.