December 12, 2009
The Town Hall

New York City, NY

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The Lives of the Cowboys

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(MUSIC. OUTDOOR AMBIENCE. COW MOOS. DISTANT WHINNY. CRACKLE OF CAMPFIRE)

GK: The Christmas lights look good on the cactus, Dusty. You did a good job. When'd you get so sentimental about Christmas, Dusty? You never used to be. You going through some sort of religious experience that I ought to know about?

TR: Nope. It's the rum in the rum balls.

GK: Those rum balls that----

TR: The ones Evelyn Beebalo gave us at her party last week.

GK: I thought we were supposed to share those.

TR: Well, I needed them more. Anyways, you've been all intoxicated over Evelyn. You're like a teenager.

GK: I am in love. It's true.

TR: You don't eat, you don't drink, you call out her name at night.

GK: I'm sure she doesn't feel the same about me. We're all wrong for each other, her a librarian and all.

TR: She sure makes a mean rum ball.

GK: I thought the alcohol burned off when the rum balls are baked-----

TR: She must've done these at low heat. I'm high as a kite.

GK: You do seem more intense than usual. Anyway, I'm heading in to Yellow Gulch and do some shopping.

TR:Yer gonna give me a book again for a Christmas gift, aint y'.

GK: Yes, I am.

TR: Y' do that every year.

GK: I know.

TR: Last year it was Mars'l Prowst. Why?

GK: It's pronounced Proust. Marcel Proust.

TR: Whatever. Great big thick thing and tiny print and I read some of it and nothing happens. Just a guy remembering the wallpaper on his bedroom. Carried it around in my saddlebag for weeks. Finally used it to sit on so I could get a better look at a guy's poker hand at the Silver Dollar and he took that book and shot it six times with a Colt pistol and pretty much destroyed whatever narrative thread there was, which wasn't all that much.

GK: Well, you always give me a bottle of whiskey for Christmas and we sit down to share it and you share about nine-tenths of it and I share the rest.

TR: Well, I'm a quick drinker.

GK: I noticed.

TR: So how about I get you a book for Christmas and you buy me a bottle of liquor?

GK: I'm hoping to improve your mind.

TR: You improve my mind and I'd have to quit being a cowboy.

GK: How so?

TR: Intelligence and cowboying do not go together.

GK: What about me? I read books. I write songs. I think about things.

TR: Books only make you unhappy. You think about them and it makes you even unhappier. And then you write songs so you can make everyone else unhappy. You call that intelligent?

GK: Life is a struggle, Dusty. Man is alone in the universe but we can't bear it so we seek love and love is imperfect and when we find that out, it breaks our heart. Over

TR: One more reason to get drunk. Helps you forget. So you don't write a big thick book like Prowst did. Remembrance of Things Past. The guy didn't get enough to drink.

GK: So that's why you drink-----

TR: Alcohol is for the prevention of memoirs. It's the antidote to songwriting. (STRUMS) And if you're planning to sing, I'll see you later.

GK: See you later. (FOOTSTEPS OFF, HORSE WHINNY, GALLOP AWAY)

His family wasn't famous
They weren't nobility
When he was born back in zero A.D.

His mother she was pregnant
Before she married Joe
She rode on a donkey
Cause their income was low
. They lived in a barn
In the midst of sheep and cattle
If anything could make you sad,
I suppose that that'll
And then she had the baby
Which must've been pathetic
No episiotomy
And no anesthetic

GK (SINGS) (CONT.):

She lay him in the manger
And she wanted to lie down
But this whole crowd of shepherds
Came and stood around
She could've used some food
To get her through the crisis
These guys came from the East,
No food, just the spices.
Then angels filled the skies
Singing Halleluiah
She was hoping for some food
But angels do not bring food to ya
She looked at all those faces
Full of adoration
She said to Joseph, hey
How about me, the patient?
But they just kept adoring,
All those useless men
She thought, I'm never gonna do
A virgin birth again.

Immaculate Conception
Is all well and good
But there's nothing immaculate
About motherhood.
I've had it with these shepherds
I'm done with Bethlehem
You've seen the last
Of the B.V.M.

GK (SINGS) (CONT.):

Listen up, Joseph. Hear what I say. Bring up the donkey Let's get on our way. The baby is beautiful With a halo round his head But I'd like some supper And a nice warm bed

I need a vacation Then she said all at once Let's go to Egypt for a couple of months Just you and me And the holy Child Let's have a sacred vacation Down by the Nile. Thanks be to God And the Holy Ghost But a little vacation's What a Mother needs most.

(YODEL)

SS: That's right nice, Lefty.

GK: Evelyn----- didn't see you walk up.

SS: I saw your Christmas lights. Thought I'd come over. I was wondering if you might come for Christmas dinner. GK: Well, I don't know----

SS: You have other plans?

GK: Not that I'm aware.

SS: I could have you and Dusty over for dinner.

GK: Dusty has plans.

SS: Oh?

GK: He's planning on recovering from a major hangover.

SS: Oh. So what do you say?

GK: I don't need much persuading. You want me to bring anything?

SS: Just yourself.

GK: Reckon I can do that. Is this---- well--- is this going to be just you and me?

SS: No, it'd be you and me and my fiancée Rev. Sorenson and his mother and dad and his brother and his wife and their uncle and aunt.

GK: Ah. Well, congratulations. When did you meet him?

SS: When he moved to town. Couple years ago. After you left. I waited around for you to come back and you didn't. So-------------- anyway------ he's a very nice man. I'm sure you'll like him.

GK: Oh, I'm sure.

SS: Well… See you on Christmas.

GK: I shouldn't come and invade your family dinner. I'd feel strange. And they're all nice people, I'm sure, and I'm ---- well----- I am who I am. Just a cowboy.

SS: But where will you go for Christmas?

GK: Go to the livery stable. Guy who runs it, Joe and his wife, they invited me.

SS: I heard they had a baby.

GK: About to. One of these days. Well---- good seeing you again.

SS: Good seeing you.

(SFX: WALKING OFF.)

(THEME)

TR: The Lives of the Cowboys…..brought to you by Chisholm Trail Christmas Lights…..yellow and brown and amber lights that look good on the desert….and they keep coyotes away. Chisholm Trail……reject atheism---- with Chisholm.

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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