Friday, March 8, 2013

The Trail Ride

An old cowboy was riding his horse down an unfamiliar trail with his faithful dog, Butch, walking along side.  The cowboy was enjoying the day when all of a sudden he remembered being shot in an ambush a way back.  He looked down and realized Butch, who was walking beside him, had died several years earlier as did his horse, Champ, the one he was now riding.  Confused, he wondered where he was riding to on this unfamiliar trail.  


Around a bend he saw a high, white marble wall.  Down the trail a piece, he saw a large golden gate in the wall that was topped with a huge golden letter "H" that sparkled in the sunlight.   As he rode closer, he saw magnificent streets inside the gate.  Some were painted gold and others were paved with mother of pearl.  As he continued looking inside, he saw a man sitting under a tree.  Parched and plum tuckered out from his trail ride he called out,  "Excuse me Mister.  Where are we?'' 

"Why this is Heaven", the man answered. 

"Wow!" said the cowboy.  "Would you happen to have some water inside?"  

"Of course we do partner", said the old man.  "Come on in, and I’ll pour you a tall glass." 

As the golden gate began to open, the cowboy and his dog and horse started to enter when the man inside jumped up and shouted, "Sorry fella.  "We don't allow animals in here." 

The cowboy thought for a moment, then pulled back on the reins and turned his horse back towards the road.  "Come on Butch, let’s go.   Thanks Mister, but we’ll be getting along." Then the cowboy, Champ and Butch continued down the trail. 

After a very long trail ride, the cowboy was coming down a steep hill and noticed a wooden fence with an open gate.  As he approached the gate, the cowboy saw a man sitting under a tree reading a book.   "Excuse me Mister", he called to the man.  "Do you have any water?'' 

"Sure do.  There's a pump right over there.  Go help yourself to all you want."  

"How about my friends?" the cowboy asked. 

"Why of course!  They look thirsty too; bring em on in", said the man

The trio went through the gate and headed straight to the old-fashioned hand pump.   There were buckets beside the pump and the cowboy got down from his horse, pumped the handle and filled two buckets with wonderfully cool water.  He put one down for his horse and the other for his dog.   He then picked up a tin cup, pumped the cup full and took a drink. When all three had quenched their thirst, the cowboy walked over to the man who was sitting under the tree.  "What do you call this place here?" asked the cowboy. 

"Why this is Heaven", the man answered.

"Heaven?  Now ain’t that confusing? The other man down the trail a piece by that big white marble wall said that was Heaven."  

''Oh, you mean the place with the cheap glitzy paint and fake mother of pearl streets?" the old man replied

"Yeah", said the cowboy.  

"No son, that was Hell", said the old man.

The cowboy pushed his hat back so it titled up and said, "Well now, doesn’t that make you angry when those folks down there use your name like that?" 

"No, not really", said the old man.  "We’re kind of happy they are down there." 

"You are? Why?" asked the cowboy. 

"Well, to tell you the truth," the old man replied, "They do a good job screening out the folks who’d leave their friends behind just so they could get a drink of water for themselves."