Rawhide Cello

Going for the Gold

It's a hard life out here in th' desert. Me an' muh mules, we trek all day under th' hot sun a-headin' fer them mountains whar the gold is. Somehow, them mountains never seem tuh get no closer no matter how fur we walk, but they's thar, I can see 'em, and I knows thar's gold. So iffen I jes' keeps a-walkin' I'se bound to get to 'em sooner or later.

Water's gettin' low. I filled up th' canteens at th' last river but that was days ago and now th' water's almost gone. Hopes I comes to a stream or sumpin' soon or maybe them mountains, I knows thar must be streams in them thar mountains, cascadin' rivulets sparlkin' in th' sun jes like th' wings of Icarus when he done flew too close to th' sun. Muh pappy always liked tuh tell me that ol' story so's I'd learn a proper caution an' not suffer from an excess of impetuosity. Wa'l, I has tuh laugh, here I bin goin' fer th' gold I done lost count of how many days now an' I don' seem tuh be gettin' no closer to it. Nuthin' to worry my ol' pappy's head about, God rest his soul.

Ever' mornin' I gets up 'fore th' sun an' builds muhself a campfire so's to boil water fer coffee. Not that I has real coffee no more, it done run out weeks ago, so I scoops up some sand an' sagebrush from th' ground and I boils th' tar out of it fer two, three hours an' then I drinks it, t'ain't th' real thing but if I closes muh eyes real tight an' turns on muh imagination it sorta seems like coffee. Then I packs up th' mules and trudges on towards th' mountains till sundown. It's pretty uneventful goin', th' trudgin', 'cept fer a rattler now an' then, yuh always gots tuh be on th' lookout fer rattlers. When I sees one I whips out muh sixshooter an' I shoots it daid.

I likes snakes I kin trust, and th' only rattlers yuh kin trust is daid rattlers.

Ever' evenin' when th' sun goes down I sets up camp fer th' night. The evenin' twilight is th' bestest time o' th' day fer me, I likes it th' most. My mule Ben, I calls him muh 'cello mule cause he carries muh 'cello whut Alassandro made fer me back in Laramie. Great leather worker, that Alassandro, an' he done made me one big beauty of a rawhide 'cello. Rawhide lasts better than wood out here in th' desert country, it won' break should I drop it on a rock, an' it dries out good as new after a rainstorm or a river crossin'. Rawhide, it's good fer th' long haul.

So lak I say, in th' evenin' after makin' camp, I takes out muh rawhide 'cello an' sits m'self down on a rock, an' pulls th' bow 'cross th' strings an' makes thet 'cello sing fer an hour or two. Usually I plays Bach S'natas fer th' unaccompanied 'cello, but sometimes I'se'll do muh Dvorak fav'rites jes' fer variety.

After I'se had muh fill o' 'cello playin', I wraps muhself in muh blanket and goes to sleep fer th' night, under th' stars. 'Fore I drifts off tuh sleep, I thinks 'bout what life's goin' tuh be like once I gets tuh th' mountains an' makes mah fortune in gold. But in th' meantime, I gots muh rawhide 'cello.

Copyright © by John Remmers.