Cowboys
Saturday, March 19, 2005
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(WESTERN THEME)

Sue Scott: And now it's time for "The Lives of the Cowboys," brought to you by Generic Cattle Brands. And now we join Dusty and Lefty as the trail takes them into Wisconsin toward the state capital of Madison.

(HORSES, CATTLE, WHOOPS, SLAP OF REINS, WHINNIES ETC.)

Tim Russell: Boy, these cows are ornery. Almost think they was mad or something.

Garrison Keillor: Shhhh shhhh shhhh. Don't say that.

TR: What? Oh. Sorry. Didn't mean it that way.

GK: Don't use that word. Beef is having a hard enough time as it is and we gotta sell these longhorns to that there co-op up ahead.

TR: Sorry. It was a slip of the tongue.

GK: The People's Progressive Co-op of the Republic of Madison. This could be harder than I thought. Let's stop em here so we can check their teeth and gums. Whoa---- (HORSES. WHOAS.CATTLE) Grab that one there, Dusty. (TR OFF, STRUGGLING) Hold his head up. (STEER BELLOWING) Open his mouth, I'm gonna pour some mouthwash down him. (STEER GARGLING) There. Let's look at that one there----

TR (OFF): You gonna make em all gargle?

GK: These are natural foods people, Dusty. They are very particular. Grab that one there and floss him----- (STEER BELLOWING)

SS: Excuse me----

GK: Ma'am?

SS: Are these your cattle?

GK: Yes, ma'am.

SS: I'm the cattle buyer here.

GK: Pleased to meet you, ma'am.

SS: And my name isn't ma'am. It's Evelyn Moonbright.

GK: Right. Got the cattle right here. Free-range as you can see. Not the huddled masses of the feedlot oppressed by punitive methods of animal husbandry but proud longhorns, born free, feeding off natural grasses and fibers-----

SS: What's this I see on this cow here? (FADE) This mark on its rump----

GK: Oh. That. Well, that's a brand-----

SS: Not a brand made by a red-hot branding iron I assume. We don't sell beef that has been treated cruelly.

GK: That is made by a henna dye. An organic henna dye. It washes right off.

(HAWK AND SPIT)

GK: That wasn't me, ma'am. .

SS: Who spat? Was that this gentleman here?

TR: I don't answer to the name Gentleman, lady. The name's Dusty.

SS: We don't tolerate spitting in Madison, sir. We consider it dismissive behavior. It's belittling to people.

TR: Spitting is part of cowboying.

SS: Here in Madison we see spitting is a sign of contempt to make another person feel smaller.

TR: That's the intent, exactly.

SS: So it's a form of harassment.

TR: Harassment, my Aunt Sally.

GK: You know, there's no reason to get mad about it.

SS: What did you say?

GK: I said, I'm glad you feel that way and anyway, we're in sort of a hurry. You see, it's almost time for the cattle to lie down and listen to a story----

SS: You read them stories?

GK: We do. Me and Dusty are completely devoted to these animals. It breaks our hearts to see em go. These cows are our friends. We are their mentors. We've mentored them all the way from Wyoming. We talk to em. I even sing em to sleep at night. (GUITAR CHORD)

TR: Oh boy, here we go.

GK (SINGS): Oh I've traveled all cross the prairie
Just my herd, my old guitar, and I
And my joy is extraordinary
Even when I step in a cowpie.

They get organic grass and pure water
'Cause that's what a cowhand is fer
Each cow I treat like a daughter
Cause you can not spell herd without her.

SS: (WEEPY) That is so lovely.

GK: Thank you, ma'am. (SINGING)

Some people are cruel to cattle,
On account of their lower IQ
But from where I sit in the saddle,
I see them as comrades, I do.
I look at each cow as a sister
And do not use a whip or spur
Cause each little ruminant
I imagine there's a human in it
And you cannot spell herd without her.

TR: I feel a yodel coming on.

GK: Yodeladi adi I adi.

SS: You're not just saying all this, knowing that organic beef commands a higher price ----

GK: You see this tattoo on Dusty's colleague's upper arm, ma'am? Where it says USMC and the anchor? That stands for United Society of Montessori Cowboys.

TR: Montessori Cowboys. That's us.

GK: These cattle have been encouraged to learn on the trail, to move at their own speed, to develop a sense of curiosity----

TR: Nap-time ---- play periods ------

GK: We don't think of it as a herd, we think of it as a community.

SS: Well, all right. Step in here and I'll make out the check. (FOOTSTEPS, FADING, INTO BRIDGE) (TRAFFIC AMBIENCE, FOOTSTEPS)

GK: Well, Dusty---- now that our cash flow situation has improved, what do you say we check out some of these dives along State Street? Maybe we can meet some lady graduate student writing her Ph.D thesis on American folklore----

TR: Can you get mad cow disease from just being around cows?

GK: If you could, I'd reckon we would've gotten it by now. You and me have drunk downstream from the herd more times than I'd care to count.

TR: What are the symptoms?

GK: Well, it eats holes in your brain.

TR: Is it painful?

GK: Do you feel pain?

TR: No.

GK: Then don't worry about it.

TR: Do I seem different to you?

GK: In what way?

TR: Just different.

GK: How so?

TR: Like there were holes in my brain.

GK: Well, we all change as we get older.

TR: You'd tell me if you noticed something, wouldn't you?

GK: Noticed what?

TR: That I was, you know----- losing my ----- losing my----- what's the word?

GK: Losing your faculties?

TR: Right. You'd tell me. Right?

GK: Mmmhmmm.

TR: You'd tell me, right?

GK: Sure.

TR: Why do you say it like that? Look at me. Look me in the eye and tell me you'd tell me.

GK: I'd tell you.

TR: You know something, there's something not right about your eyeballs.

GK: What's wrong?

TR: Something dark and silvery in there.

GK: What is it?

TR: Turn your head this way. (THEME)

SS: "The Lives of the Cowboys," brought to you by Generic Branding Irons. If you're not ready to decide on one brand for your herd, get a Generic Branding Iron. (THEME OUT)


Old Sweet Songs: A Prairie Home Companion 1974-1976

Old Sweet Songs

Lovingly selected from the earliest archives of A Prairie Home Companion, this heirloom collection represents the music from earliest years of the now legendary show: 1974–1976. With songs and tunes from jazz pianist Butch Thompson, mandolin maestro Peter Ostroushko, Dakota Dave Hull and the first house band, The Powdermilk Biscuit Band (Adam Granger, Bob Douglas and Mary DuShane).

Available now»

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