From about age 4 until I left for graduate school Fort Worth was home for me, and TCU was the only university I seriously considered. Both are pretty special to me. I wish I could come home to TCU and Fort Worth this week but it just ain't gonna happen.
For those of you who will be there--and, I suppose, for those who can't--I hope these words will be a reminder of good times and good friends in a mighty fine place to call home.
A word about cowboy poetry for those not familiar with the genre. It's based on sound and rhythm, not on literary form. It came into being through men and women who enjoyed hearing and telling stories, sharing them orally a long time before the first cowboy poem was ever written down. So let me give you a hint, here. Try reading it aloud...I think pretty soon you'll catch the rhyme and meter. It ain't rocket surgery, after all.
Fort Worth, Texas
From the painted warrior roaming the Comanche territory, to the soldier to the roughneck to the cowboy at his best,
All of those and many others combine to tell the story of an Army camp established where the East became the West.
It was founded when the Lone Star (which before had been a nation) was sewn into the Stars and Stripes as number twenty-eight
And became a treaty's reference point (its reason for creation) to make a peace between the white and red men of the State.
When the Army fort was shuttered the settlers kept arriving, some to start new businesses while others turned a hand
To sowing and to reaping, and soon the place was thriving with five hundred hardy Texans deeply rooted in the land.
The populace decided that the place should be a city, since by now it had a doctor and a school and one hotel,
And so Fort Worth was chartered, a town both prim and gritty, with a bank, a pair of churches and a Half-Acre of Hell.
It became a stop where cowboys, pushing wild, fresh-branded cattle to the shipping points in Kansas farther up the Chisholm Trail,
Paused for entertainment and to step down from the saddle. And so it was for years until the coming of the rail.
The Texas & Pacific made Fort Worth a destination. No longer would the longhorns pause to water, then to drift
Again towards the prairies, up across the Indian Nation, but now were herded into holding pens of Armour and of Swift.
When war swept over Europe the battle bugles sounded. Canadians, Americans, we housed their soldiers here
At places like Camp Bowie. Prosperity abounded. And when that war was ended there were discovered near
The oil fields of West Texas. Refineries and pipelines were built to fuel a nation. Fort Worth, she rode the swell
Of Texas' black gold riches and soon became the lifeline for landmen and investors at the old Westbrook Hotel.
In spite of the Depression, Fort Worth remained a center for banking, oil and cattle. Her population grew.
She prospered with West Texas, right up until that winter when America was forced to enter World War Number Two.
The land awoke for warfare, and Fort Worth was not caught dozing. There was no toleration of Hitler's hateful rant
And that was met with action, with hard work, never closing the production at Consolidated-Vultee's "bomber plant."
The challenges of peacetime! Cowtown rose to the occasion, building man-made lakes and highways, airports, neighborhoods and schools,
Her commitment to advancment and to higher education are virtues she wears proudly as a queen would wear her jewels.
She is modern, she is cultured, with a friendly disposition the most typical of Texas of any place you'll find.
Still where the West commences, not ashamed of that tradition, she'll steal your heart and soon she'll forever cross your mind.
She wears suits made by Armani and boots from Leddy Brothers. She dresses up in purple from downtown to Trinity.
She's the pride of those who love her and the envy of most others. If Fort Worth isn't perfect she's close enough for me.