“I ALWAYS WANTED TO BE A COWBOY …”
Journey through the dusty plains of Texas and the rugged mountains of Colorado in author Jim Duke’s debut, DANCES WITH DONKEYS: The Memoir Of A Half-Assed Cowboy—the often hilarious, occasionally poignant, sometimes hair-raising, and always entertaining tales of a man who dropped out of high school and took off for Texas to become a cowboy.
In this captivating memoir, Duke recounts his adventures and ass-inine misadventures with mules, donkeys, and horses as he introduces readers to the complexity and variety of personalities among these intelligent creatures. Through prose and poetry, he shows the deep bond that can form between humans and equines.
Whether you're a fan of cowboy culture or just love a good memoir, DANCES WITH DONKEYS is reminiscent of cowboy poet laureate Baxter Black with a twist in the saddle. You'll laugh your "ass" off and come away with a whole new understanding of why little boys and girls grow up dreaming of being cowboys. Don't miss out on this one-of-a-kind journey into the heart of the American West.
From the Book
Doubling of cow herds is also a doubling of cow turds that nurture the magic 'caca de vaca hongos' (psilocybin). Furthermore, the overgrazing created a situation where mushrooms were the tallest feature in the field and easy to find…
With the coming of the blue bonnets of spring, the ranch coop started selling laying pullets and other poultry. Always a sucker for fuzzy little critters, I often bought a chick or two for company while hauling cottonseed cake. Before I knew it, I had a flock of several dozen. As spring rounded toward summer and the thermometer rounded toward 100 degrees, I started thinking about Colorado. I was driving an old 1965 Rambler American sedan in those days, but didn't want to leave all my poultry behind. I was also planning on taking as many mushrooms as I could fit under and behind my back seat.
The brilliance struck me like a thunderbolt! If I had all those birds in the back seat, nobody would ever dig through all that chicken shit to search me! ...
Although I had planned on driving through the night, I found this trip to be especially tiring. This was made worse by my turkey, the most affectionate of the flock, who had been perched right by my shoulder. The pool sharks of the flock, turkeys don't scratch nervously about, pecking at anything and everything, they take their time, move slowly and deliberately, picking their shots carefully. After dark, this guy was especially interested in the little blue light on the dash that flashed on whenever I hit the brights. He moved down to sit beside me and the next time I hit the brights, he was on it in a flash and pecked out the little blue filter covering the bright bulb behind. Without the blue filter, the little bulb behind was so bright as to night blind me to outside lights and made driving difficult. I found little pieces of paper to fold up and stick in the slot to dim the light, but every time I hit the brights, the turkey appeared out of nowhere and struck again. Exhausted and night blind I finally pulled off in a roadside park and tried to sleep for a while. Every time a truck approached in the distance, my rooster thought it was the sunrise and crowed. It's amazing how loud that is in the confines of a small car, and I soon regretted not having sold him two gas stations ago.
To make it worse, although the chickens seemed to naturally face forward while moving down the road, they turned randomly when sitting still and chickens apparently don't stop shitting just because they're asleep. My nap didn't last long and I was soon back on the road with a good supply of paper wads to stick in the bright/dim slot.
While smoking on the job is probably not a recommended activity for drug runners, I had rolled a joint to celebrate the sunrise as I often did on long trips. That particular morning, I was going over Raton Pass in a heavy fog. The fog was dense enough that I obviously wouldn't see the sunrise, but I took a few hits anyway. As I got stoned the fog kept getting thicker. Soon I was bent over the steering wheel, straining to see the road and creeping down the interstate at about 15 or 20 miles per hour. Suddenly a semi-truck came barreling past me at full speed. I jerked back and looked in the rearview mirror, where I could see perfectly. The fog had built up a thick condensation on my windshield. I turned on the wipers and could see just fine. Realizing how lucky it was to have been a trucker instead of a trooper, I suffered a paranoid panic attack, questioning everything I was doing. Struggling through a non-existent fog seemed a far cry from enlightenment. Suddenly everything seemed so absurd! I wished I could disappear back into the fog.
About the Author
Dropping out of high school to pursue his cowboy dreams, Duke eventually lied his way into the University of Wyoming and the University of Texas before finally receiving a BS in Zoology and an MS in Range Ecology from Colorado State University. Having designed his life around critters, Duke has worked on farms and ranches as well as dude ranches and hunting camps off and on since his early teenage years.
Duke has never fit in well with any mainstream society. Not really a cowboy, but hard to describe in other terms, his efforts to ride the interface between disparate worlds inevitably result in uniquely awkward situations and comical conflicts. His critters are the one constant that he can count on, and his life bears testimony to the notion that there are few problems on earth that can’t be outrun on a fast mule.