In And By


Three brothers ran together on a summer pasture deal.
They'd sort'em when they gathered in the fall.
There was never more than 50 cows and each one had a bull,
Each brother, I should say, the herd was small.

Me and Dick would help'em gather. There were calves in with'em, too
But the sortin' part would make a grown man cry.
The three of them all shoutin' from the alley at the top
While Dick and I swung gates for IN and By

And THROUGH and BACK and OUT and STAY and HOLD
and LEFT and RIGHT!
"That's Norman's Charolais cross that just got past.
And hold that little brindle calf, it's way too small to ship.
Dadgummit, Ted, don't bring'em quite so fast!

Bring that one back. Just hold'em all. No, let the Hereford by.
Now, Jack, you leave your catch rope plum alone.
Whose cellular is ringin'? Jack, put that rope away,
And dang it, Norman, get off of the phone!

Look out, ol' ballie's on the fight! Just put'er in with Ted's.
Not that way, Dick! Aw hell, she's jumped the fence.
Come back here, Jack! She's outta here, you'll never catch her now.
Forget it if you've got a lick of sense!

The black one IN, the bramer BY, the big calf needs a brand.
I b'lieve that's Howard's wayward bull again.
The brand inspector's on his way. George said he'd take a load
So don't be holdin' up these gentlemen!"

It took us nearly half a day to finish up the sort
And load ol' George half a trailer full.
And finally find Norm's cellular, but not 'til Howard called
To ask if we had seen his wanderin' bull.

And take Jack by the hospital to sew his finger back,
Drop by the sale to watch the market drown
And remember how romantic workin' cattle really is
And why we've all got day jobs here in town.

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