Hustlin’ In My Jeans.
Robert J.C. Stead. Songs of the Prairie, 1912.
It seems the only kind o’ life that I was built to fit,
For it’s thirty years last summer since I staked my first preserve,
An’ I reckon on the whole I’ve prospered more than I deserve;
An’ my friends kep’ naggin’ at me for to quit this toil an’ strife
An to settle in the city for the balance of my life,
An’ I ain’t compelled to labor—I’ve cached a wad of beans—
But I’m happier when I’m hustlin’ on the homestead in my jeans.
I’ve tried to loaf an’ like it an’ I’ve tried to swell about
Where the boozey run to red-eye an’ the greedy run to gout,
An’ I’ve tried to wear a collar an’ a fancy fly-net vest,
An’ I’ve tried to think it pleasant just to sit around an’ rest;
An’ I’ve mingled with the nabobs an’ hee-hawed with other guys
That were just as sick as I was of a life of livin’ lies;
I’ve mingled in society an’ peeked behind the scenes—
An’ I’m happier when I’m hustlin’ on the homestead in my jeans.
Then I got the lust for roamin’ an I rummaged round the earth,
An’ I got a big experience an’ correspondin’ girth,
But the more I roved an’ rambled the less I cared to live,
An’ I only kep’ on goin’ cause I’d no alternative;
I learned through tips an’ tickets an’ the jostle of the cars
That I wouldn’t trade a homestead for a continent in Mars;
An’ I bid good-bye to Fashion an’ her social kings an’ queens,
An’ I filed my second homestead an’ I bought a pair of jeans. ‘
Course it’s sometimes kind o’ lonely on the prairie here alone,
When the night-time settles round you an’ your thoughts are all your own,
An’ old faces flit before you like a flock o’ homin’ birds
An’ your heart swells with emotion that no man can put in words,
An’ you ponder on the Why-for, the Beginnin’, an’ the End;
An’ you know the only things worth while are Family an’ Friend—
From the trifles of existence your better judgment weans,
An’ you get the right perspective on the homestead—in your jeans.
There are days the sweat-drops glisten on this sun-burned hand of mine,
There are nights the joints go creakin’ as I crawl to bed, at nine,
But I hear the horses’ stampin’ and the rap of Collie’s tail
An’ it minds me of the Eighties an’ the Old Commission Trail—
Of the days we pledged our future to a land we hardly knew,
An’ the men whose brave beginnings made prosperity for you;
There are men now worth their millions I remember in their teens,
An’ they made their start by hustlin’ on the homestead in their jeans.
There are times when most folks figure that their life has been a blank;
You may be a homeless hobo or director of a bank,
But the thought will catch you nappin’—catch you sometime unawares—
That your life has been a failure, and that no one really cares;
That the world will roll without you till the Resurrection morn,
An’ that no one would have missed you if you never had been born;
An’ I give you my conclusion—all that livin’ really means
Is revealed to those who hustle on the homestead in their jeans.
Some day I reckon I’ll cash in an’ file another claim
Where the wicked cease from troublin’ an’ the good get in the game;
Where the pews are not allotted by the fashion of your dress,
An’ the only thing that figures is inherent manliness—
Give me no silk-spangled horses an’ no silver- plated hearse,
But let some student preacher read a bit of Scripture verse,
An’ find a sunny hillside where the water-willow screens,
An’ plant me on the homestead where I hustled—in my jeans.