I’ll Be Seein’ You
The long winter’s gone to wherever time goes
And the moisture this spring passed us by.
The cattle are looking for shade in the noon
While we’re praying for rain in July.
The almanac says that each day has less light
Though you sure couldn’t prove it by me,
But whether it’s heat or a bone-chilling cold,
There’s just no place that I’d rather be.
I rode in tonight tired and hungry again
And a steak sounds like manna right now.
I threw Doc two flakes of some timothy hay
And then walked to the house for my chow.
I turned to look back at the land that is mine
Far beyond what these old eyes can see.
I’m keeping the place by the sweat of my brow
And the blood shed so I could be free.
Their mem’ries cry out as I open the door
And I know I must answer that call.
I look ‘cross the room at the flag hanging there
Where I’ve written their names on the wall.
John Dorsey was killed in an avalanche high
In the Pecos near Barbara Peak.
We found him next spring where the wild bighorns graze
And the river begins as a creek.
Joe Peterson lies in Nevada’s hot sand
Near a spot they call Indian Springs.
No maidens bring flowers or tears to the grave
Guarded closely by a sentry with wings.
Rick Thomas rolled up ‘neath a jug-headed roan
While he’s chasin’ a ringy old steer.
The gelding tripped up in a prairie dog hole
And poor Rick had no time to jump clear.
Debosey rode out for the San Andres Hills
But George never came back from that ride.
He sleeps beside Gene up in Rhodes Canyon now
Where wild horses and cougars abide.
Nick Hack was thrown hard from a bronc in Cheyenne.
We all thought he was well on the way
To win him a buckle or leastwise some coin,
But he cashed in his last chip that day.
Bob Brown lies asleep in a field back east
Where his family laid him to rest.
The Lord knows I wept when I heard he was gone;
As friends go, he was one of the best.
So now every year on the Fourth of July
When I ring Addie’s bell for my friends,
I wonder if someone will ring it for me
On the day when my own story ends.
Deep appreciation to Callahan-Edfast and Martin Mortuary & Crematory for graciously sponsoring our Memorial page.
Tribute to a cherished friend by Peggy Malone
August 1, 1923 – May 29, 2017
Many years ago, under the Montana night sky, I was introduced to Cowboy Poetry, thanks to Ray Lashley. He was one of the folks on the famous Chief Joseph Appaloosa Trail Ride, that I entertained 15 years, for their nightly dance.
We instantly became friends, and every year on the ride, I’d invite him to do his Cowboy Poetry. A real crowd pleaser!! He encouraged me to join the newly formed Western Music Association, for which I’m forever grateful. Ray said my style and choice of songs would fit in.
He eventually moved to Grand Junction from Syracuse, Utah, and became a mainstay on all our shows. And loads of shared Sunday and holiday meals.
Raymond (Ray) Lashley was an engineer, inventor, politician, Cowboy Poet and author, husband, father, grandfather, and a great-grandfather. He also raised his beloved Appaloosa horses for over 45 years. His Leopard Appy named “Hap” road the Chief Joseph Trail Ride with him.
He died May 29, 2017 in Grand Junction, Colorado.
Mr. Lashley grew up in Des Arc, Missouri on a farm in the Missouri Ozarks. His first paying job, at the age of 8, was driving a four-horse team for 35 cents a day. He went on his first of many trail drives at the age of 14. Soon after the beginning of WWII (at the age of 18), Mr. Lashley joined the US Navy and served for the duration of the war, earning many medals and battle citations in both the Atlantic and Pacific campaigns. He left the service in 1947
Besides his family and his Appaloosas, his greatest loves were being a Cowboy Poet and published author. Even back on the farm in Missouri he was known and recognized for his ability to memorize and recite poetry. His first recognition as a Cowboy Poet came during a 1983 Chief Joseph Trail ride where he recited poetry around the camp fire for his fellow riders. Word of mouth of his abilities led to an invitation to participate in the first National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada in 1985. That first year drew a few hundred people. Today it is the largest Cowboy Poetry event and draws thousands to it every year. Ray participated in most of the National Gatherings and was an invited performer for the 25th anniversary celebration.
Ray Lashley was a mainstay in all the years the Grand Junction Cowboy Poetry Gathering (now the Western Slope Cowboy Gathering) ran, from 1993 to 2014.
He could perform over three hours of his own and other’s poetry from memory. Reciting Classics is where most will remember his superb delivery. He will be forever missed.
1921 – 2020
In addition to being a decorated World War II hero and an accomplished attorney, Al was a prolific writer of Cowboy Poetry.
In his self published book “From True to Coulda Been,” Al’s introduction tells of a life fully lived:
“I was born on a small ranch near Gannet, in the Big Wood River Valley of South Central Idaho. A succession of bad water years and low crop and livestock prices led my parents to leave that area in 1926 and move the family to a small rented farm near Meridian in the Boise Valley. They eventually bought a farm in that area. I lived and worked on that and neighboring farms until I graduated from Boise Junior College (now Boise State university) in 1941. During that period I learned how to milk cows, ride a horse, drive a team, milk cows, pitch hay, shock grain, clean out a monstrous chicken house, slop hogs, dig post holes, string used barbed wire, milk cows, take care of sheep, and milk cows.”
From Al’s obituary:
“He joined the Army Air Corps (later called the Air Force) and rose to the rank of 1st Lieutenant, serving as a bombardier on B-29 bombers in the China-Burma-India and Pacific theatres during WWII. When one of his daughters asked Al if basic training was difficult, he noted that enduring boot camp during the Nebraska winter was a vacation compared to growing up on a dairy farm. Citations included three Air Medals and the Distinguished Flying Cross. To see an interesting interview about Al’s wartime experiences, search “Veterans Remember Al Albrethsen” on YouTube.
Al enjoyed fishing, gardening, and pinochle, but his passion was words. He knew a plethora of them (and their etymology), and strove to choose the most appropriate one in every circumstance. He was truly witty and often produced the perfect pun without missing a beat.
Al was a self-taught musician and became proficient on the clarinet and harmonica without ever learning to read music (although he once paid $5 to take 10 clarinet lessons). He heard harmonies everywhere and saw music in color. One of his true pleasures was to jam with his musician buddies, daughters, and sons-in-law. He continued to play mouth harp well into his 90s and knew hundreds of songs. As his health and eyesight failed him in his final years, he still found joy in listening to his family and friends play music and sing songs. Al’s formidable intellect, quick wit, musical ability, and perfect grammar add up to poetry, and Al wrote some exceptional verses. He composed folkloric poems and enjoyed reciting them at various cowboy poetry gatherings all around Colorado.” He emceed both the Silverton Jubilee Folk Music Festival and the 4-H Cowboy Poetry and Dinner Fundraiser in Gateway for many years. Every family gathering included Al’s recitations of favorites such as “Treat Everyone Equal” and “Spring Cleanup” (search “Selected Poems Annie Albrethsen” on YouTube).”
From his long-time friend and partner in music, Peggy Malone:
“Al and I enjoyed our shared love of music. It was always a magical time when so many times we’d close the show together with jovial camaraderie at different events. We especially loved the Gateway 4-H fundraiser. I was honored to call him friend.”
A tribute to Al Albrethson could go on and on but, suffice to say, Al was a long-time regular performer in the Western Slope Cowboy Gathering, a writer of perfect rhyme and meter, and a steadfast friend.
May 13, 1941-November 22, 2021
Western Slope Cowboy Gathering remembers Karen Derrick, who was a member of our committee from our start in 2016. She was a valued volunteer at the gathering, capable and willing to do any task needing done, all the while making a flashy fashion statement! She wore the fanciest Western garb!
She and her friend Rock Bennet attended every Cowboy Gathering they could, from Durango to Grand Junction to Nucla to Encampment Wy and lots of others in between. Their smiling faces were a fixture in our audiences. They always brought sunshine to any event.
Karen never hesitated to help people and join organizations. She was a person who always gave what she could.
An accomplished horsewoman with many “horsey” friends, she loved her horses and the people she rode with. Karen’s love of animals led her to a long-time career as a Vet Technician, running several Veterinarian offices over the years. She was a nationally recognized expert in raising Bantam chickens and was most happy when helping youngsters learn to show their 4-H chicken projects.
Among her many other accomplishments was teaching high school Spanish and playing the mandolin.
Karen’s friends at WSCG miss her mightily. She was a great friend. We relied on Karen.
January 19, 1934 – September 29, 2023
William James Malone, born at home in a Massachusetts blizzard, January 19, 1934. His father, Joe, was a well known bartender and his mother, Mary, was a waitress. He and his brothers, Joe and Johnny, proudly served in the Marines during the Korean War. After his military service, Billy attended Fort Lewis College in Durango where he fell in love with Colorado. After he met his wife, Peggy (Frances Cirignano), they moved to the Carbondale area where Billy worked as a civil engineer on the Ruedi Dam in Basalt. The young family of 6 eventually moved to Castle Rock, Colorado where they spent 20 years raising quarter horses, dogs, a few goats, a cow or two, an occasional pig, and four kids. At the end of the ’90s, Billy and Peggy relocated to Fruita where they lived happily until the day he died.