The Lives of the Cowboys, October 1, 2011

The Fitzgerald Theater

Saint Paul, MN


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The Lives of the Cowboys

Listen (MP3)

(WESTERN THEME)

(SS): THE LIVES OF THE COWBOYS.....brought to you by Coyote Brand Cornstarch.....If you are tense and irritable due to your underwear bunching up, try sprinkling it with corn starch and see if it doesn't make you a whole lot easier to get along with. (CATTLE, HORSE WHINNIES)

TR: I just don't see how you and I could wind up in Albany, Minnesota, when we were heading south to Albuquerque, New Mexico. How did that happen?

GK: You typed it in the first three letters on the computer and it jumped to conclusions.

TR: You were the one who typed it in.

GK: I was not.

TR: You typed it in. I was dead drunk.

GK: I know and there's the problem.

TR: You mean I typed it in?

GK: You did.

TR: Why did you let me do that?

GK: You were holding a pistol on me.

TR: Well, I'll be danged.

GK: Anyways, here we are, may as well make the best of it. I'm thinking I might head into St. Cloud and have a look at that new library they got on Division Street. Thirty-four million dollars they spent-----

TR: That's a lot to spend on a library.

GK: Worth every penny. Three thousand people a day go through there. Including a lot of attractive women.

TR: Aha. So it ain't necessarily books you're looking for.

GK: Books are a tool for connecting to other people, Dusty.

TR: I prefer whiskey myself. While you're at the library, I'm going to head in to a saloon and form temporary friendships with lonely women with impaired judgement.

GK: Well, you meet finer women in a library.

TR: There is such a thing as too much fineness in a woman, if your time is limited.

GK: Well, I'm looking for more than a dance partner. If I found the right woman, pardner, I'd sell my horse and settle down. (HORSE WHINNY)

TR: Ha! You are never gonna do that.

GK: I might.

TR: Why haven't you?

GK: I might. I wish I had.

TR: Ha. You don't care to be tied down and corrected and reminded and told what to do any more than I do. Freedom is why we became cowboys! Freedom to say what you think and dance when you're in the mood and bathe as often as you feel the urge.

GK: Well, who's this driving up? (TRUCK APPROACH AND STOP) Pickup truck with some kinda insignia on the door. (TRUCK DOOR CLOSE, FOOTSTEPS) Afternoon, ma'am.

SS: Afternoon, gentlemen. My name is Amanda Nomer and I'm with the Minnesota Trails Commission and I'm conducting a survey if you have a moment.

GK: We have a vast number of moments, Miss Nomer. Glad you can fill some of them.

SS: Just a few questions. So you two are travelling together----?

TR: For now, yes.

SS: And how long have you travelled together?

TR: Twenty-seven years.

GK: Twenty-eight.

TR: Twenty-seven.

SS: And what has your experience been on this trail? Has it been Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, or Poor.

TR: Is there another category, something like Desperate or Depressing?

GK: Our experience has been Good.

TR: Good for you. Not for me.

SS: Should I put down Poor for you?

TR: Very Poor.

SS: And what has made your trail experience Very Poor?

TR: Oh. Crushing loneliness, bitter fatigue, spiritual hunger, excruciating boredom. Loneliness. The repetitiveness of it. And loneliness.

SS: And what has made your trail experience Good?

GK: Me? Hope, I reckon. Faith. The faith that things will get better. Plus the balmy weather. The beauty of nature. The prospect of meeting an attractive intelligent woman who is looking to settle down with a man who will do everything he can to make her happy.

SS: (WRITING) ....settle down....with a man who will......do everything he can------- what was the rest of that?

GK: To make her happy.

SS: Right-----"to make her happy." Okay. And how could your trail experience be improved?

TR: By putting up more signs so people don't get lost.

SS: Okay. And you? How could your trail experience be improved?

GK: I hesitate to say.

SS: Please.

(GUITAR STRUMS)

GK (SINGS): We'll find perfect peace, when our wanderings cease And there will our hearts be moved, No manure we'll inhale at the end of the trail. And that's how the trail will be improved. (INTO BRIDGE)

(HORSES' HOOVES)

TR: Well, she sure wasn't impressed by your song, I must say.

GK: Well, she's probably spoken for already. Anyway, she gave me directions to the library.

TR: Stop at this saloon first.

GK: I don't think so.

TR: Come on, pardner. Loosen up.

GK: Who's this old ugly guy riding up? (HORSE TROT APPROACH)

TK (GROWLY): HEY! (HE HAWKS AND SPITS) You fellas look like you're not from around these parts.

GK: Just passing through. Heading south.

TK (GROWLY): Good. You just keep on heading.

GK: That's what we intend to do.

TK (GROWLY): And the sooner the better. We don't cotton to men of your ilk.

GK: What's your name?

TK (GROWLY): Name is Luke.

GK: You seem to have a chip on your shoulder, Luke.

TK (GROWLY): I don't care for strangers much. Don't like my friends that much either, come to think of it. You could call me a misanthrope. But if you did, I'd have to thrope you and if I did, I wouldn't miss.

TR: So what line of work you in, Luke? You a cowboy?

TK (GROWLY): No, I'm the Lutheran pastor.

GK: You??? I know plenty of Lutherans. They're the kindest people on God's green earth.

TK (GROWLY): Yeah? Well, I'm one of the mean lowdown Lutherans. (THREE GUNSHOTS)

GK: Where's your church?

TK (GROWLY): Gone. I burned it down.

GK: Why'd you do that?

TK (GROWLY): Didn't care for what some of them believed and I decided to show 'em. (HAWKS AND SPITS)

GK: You just spit on my shoe, mister.

TK (GROWLY): So what if I did?

GK: What makes you act this way?

TK (GROWLY): I just gradually got disgusted by the hypocrisy in the church and all the lowdown rotgut sinners pretending to be kind and loving Christians and I decided I would be just as mean and lowdown as I am in my heart and that's the kind of Lutheran I am. An honest one.

GK: You know, I have a rule about never hitting a Lutheran but I believe I may make an exception in your case, sir. (HE SWINGS, AND THEY WRESTLE AROUND PUNCHING AND GRUNTING, AND BREAKING CHAIRS AND THROWING GLASSWARE)

HM: Stop. Hey, wait a minute----- hold on! (BREAK CHAIR) I said, Stop that fighting.

TK (GROWLY): You talking to us, Miss Julie?

HM: I'm talking to both of you.

GK: Who's she?

TK (GROWLY): She's the librarian.

GK: You don't look like a librarian, ma'am.

HM: Thank you. ----I see by your outfit that you are a cowboy.

GK: I am that.

HM: You're a long way from what I'd consider the West.

GK: We got lost.

HM: Well, maybe I can help you get even more lost. I've got a thing about cowboys.

GK: Oh? Is that right?

HM: Especially you, Handsome. Beat it, Pastor.

TK (GROWLY): Okay, okay. I can take a hint. (GOES OFF GRUMBLING)

HM: You're the best thing ever happened to me. I know it's rash but I follow my heart. And my heart leads me straight to you, honey. (HM SINGS)

My baby's a western rider
He's a lover and a fighter
He's strong and silent too
He's got some lovely muscles
I really love the way he rustles

He rides across the prairie
He is very legendary
In cowboy poetry
He is a man on horseback
And my baby cares for me. (BRIDGE)

(HORSES, CATTLE)

TR: So how come you didn't go away with that librarian, Lefty? She was beautiful. She was smart. And she was crazy about you.

GK: It was too perfect ---- there wasn't anywhere to go but down. I could only look forward to a lifetime of gradual disappointment. Whereas out here on the trail in abject misery, I know that things are bound to get better.

TR: Sounds like you're a cowboy all right.

(THEME)

SS: THE LIVES OF THE COWBOYS....brought to you by Coyote Brand Cornstarch.....Sprinkle some under your saddle and see if your horse doesn't appreciate it too. (WHINNY) (MUSIC PLAY OFF)

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).

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