(Photo by Micadew/Wikimedia Commons)

Harold Roy Miller imagines a small-town shop's evolution from posh to practical.

Flowery imagery isn't always a must in cowboy poetry. It often works best to tell a story with perfectly efficient language, to let authentic voices and action within the stanzas wield the power.

Reader and poet Harold Roy Miller of Stagecoach, Nevada, approaches his slice-of-life pieces with that kind of plainspoken efficiency. The latest he's sent us for our enjoyment involves a ranch town boutique's unexpected identity crisis. Check it out below:


By Harold Roy Miller

Andy Lucas had a lavish store out in a little ranch town
He figured he’d make a killing since he was the only posh store around
But the cowgirl customers he hoped to attract were driving right on by
He just watched as they passed his place and he would let out a sigh

He mentioned this to a one of the locals who looked at him sort of stern
Then said, “Sir, there’s a few things about cowgirls that you need to learn.
Ranch women are a different breed, and they don’t relish fancy frills
You need to start selling pointed boots instead of those lavish high heels”

In most cases those working cowgirls had rather spend all day outdoors
than saunter around buying stuff in the most exclusive stores
Some had just as soon muck manure from their horse’s stalls
Than to dress up and sashay all day around those ritzy shopping malls.

Most I have met prefer to be riding their horses out on the dusty trail
Than to shop in a high-class store, no matter how upscale
They do ranch chores and don’t wear jewelry when it comes working time
They are down to earth and they don’t mind being covered with a little grime

They love their pets and are born with a generous dose of animal compassion
and wearing jeans and hat and cowgirl boots, is their idea of fashion
They had rather drive their truck down a dirt road over hills and ruts for miles
than to spend all day at department store checking the latest styles

Andy knew the old guy was right, so he decided to make a change
and cater his business to those cowgirls who loved to ride the range
So he changed the word “chic” to “chicks” and he also sells rabbits and ducks
And he stocks hay, apple forks, and saddles, plus accessories for pickup trucks

He carries blue jeans and cowgirl hats and displays horse stuff galore
He even changed the name of his swanky little deluxe store
It’s now called The Stable Cowgirl, and he has made money ever since
Because he realized the path to a cowgirl’s heart is paved with hoof prints.

As true as the poem rings, we'll still point out that ranch folks can certainly enjoy a fruitful shopping spree. Look through the pages of C&I or go to any rodeo to see that the styles and outfits of the West are consistently surprising, stunning, and well thought out.

But, as Harold captures so well, there ain't nothin' wrong with a simple jeans-boots-hat combo.