Jeff Cooper's Commentaries

Previously Gunsite Gossip
Lyrics by Lindy         December 1995

When our daughter Lindy married Joe Wisdom he brought to the alliance among other things six hundred dollars in hard cash and an old sporterized 1903 rifle. A phrase slipped out of the woodwork and into my ear that might fit into a Country Western-type ballad. To wit:
"Ain't many troubles that a man cain't fix with six hundred dollars and a 30-06."
Since the saying needs another syllable in order to make it bounce properly, I raised the six to seven and thought we might use it to start off something that Johnnie Cash might sing..

The years went by and I never thought about it further until Lindy took up the writing of verse. I suggested to her that we had the makings of a song here, but that I did not have any more words, so just now the poem "Grandpa's Lesson" has turned up in the mail.

Grandpa's Lesson

Pappy took to drinkin' back when I was barely three.
Ma got pretty quiet. She was frettin', you could see.
So I was sent to Grandpa and he raised me up real good.
He taught me what I oughta and he taught me what I should.
I learned a heap 'o lessons from the yarns he liked to tell.
There's one I won't forget because I learned it 'speshly well.
"There jist ain't many folk who live a peaceful, carefree life.
Along with all the good times there'll be lotsa grief and strife.
But ain't many troubles that a man cain't fix
With seven hundred dollars and a thirty ought six."
Grandpa courted Grandma near the town of old Cheyenne.
Her daddy was cantankerous - a very greedy man.
He wouldn't give permission for a fancy wedding day
'Til grandpa paid a dowry--biggest ever people say.
Her daddy softened up when Grandpa said that he could fix
Him up with seven hundred dollars and a thirty ought six.
Grandpa herded cattle down around Jalisco way.
Ended up behind some iron bars one dusty day.
Seems the local jefe craved my Grandpa's pinto mare.
Grandpa wouldn't sell her so he lit on out of there.
Didn't take much doin' 'cept a couple special tricks
plus seven hundred dollars and his thirty ought six.
Then there was that Faro game near San Francisco say.
Grandpa's cards was smokin' hot and he took all one day.
He woke up nearly naked in a ditch next early morn'.
With nothin' but his flannel shirt, and it was ripped and torn.
Those others were professionals and they don't play for kicks.
He lost seven hundred dollars and his thirty ought six.
He begged some woolen trousers off the local storekeep there
Who loaned him both a pony and a rifle on a dare.
He caught those thievin' cardsharks at another Faro game.
He got back all his property and also his good name.
He left one bleedin' badly and another mostly lame.
My grandpa's trusty rifle shoots just where you choose to aim.
Grandpa's slowin' down a bit and just the other night
He handed me his rifle and a box sealed up real tight.
He fixed me with them pale grey eyes and this is what he said,
"You're awful young but steady too and I will soon be dead.
I'll bet this here old rifle and this honest money too
Will come in mighty handy just as readily for you.
There jist ain't many folk who lead a carefree, peaceful life.
Along with times of happiness, there's always woe and strife.
But ... aint many troubles that a man cain't fix
with seven hundred dollars and his thirty ought six."

Lindy Cooper Wisdom
December, 1995

Please Note. These "Commentaries" are for personal use only. Not for publication.