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by Tumbleweed Smith

Carl Condray joined the Big Spring Fire Department when he was a teenager. Not yet forty, he worked his way up to Fire Marshall. He's got enough years in to retire, but he just can't quit because he's so young.

If he ever does decide to retire, he's got another career ahead of him: Cowboy Poetry. He has performed it at the State Fair and at some of the top Cowboy Poetry events in the country. I've had the privilege of being in audiences where Carl has recited both his own poetry and poems written by other people. Folks laugh and laugh when they hear Carl spout words about cowboys. They also get real quiet when he does a serious poem.

The Heritage Museum in Big Spring was the scene of a release party for my latest CD, Natural Born Storytellers. Carl came by and bought four of them.

He also told me he had written a poem for the occasion and recited it from memory in front of me. I'm going to print the words of the poem here to let you know how much his gesture meant to me. I appreciate Carl's friendship and hope that something this special happens to you sometime. Here's the poem written for the release of Natural Born Storytellers.

I guess it's a fact that all things change.

Ideas, once common, may now seem strange

and worldly treasures just fade so fast.

Yet there are lessons left to learn

by those who have the desire and yearn,

to gather that gold from the past.

Roads once traveled by those before

are the greatest source of worthwhile lore

but their tales must be gathered like a herd.

I know one who can wrangle with the best.

His talents shine far above the rest.

Each rope he throws gathers the spoken word.

And though the winds may blow him 'cross the land

I am grateful for this tireless hand

and how he does his noble deed.

He talks to those who truly know

then shares it with us on his show

Thank you and God Bless you my dear friend,


He signed it "Thanks for all the laughs. Carl Condray.

"When Carl recited the poem to me at the release party, I got quiet.

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