(GK: Garrison Keillor, SS: Sue Scott, TK: Tom Keith, TR: Tim Russell, RD: Rich Dworsky)

SS: The Lives of the Cowboys. ----brought to you by Buffalo Bill's Skin Moisturizer. After a hard day on the trail, relieve rough dry skin with Buffalo Bill's Skin Moisturizer. It smells just like whiskey so nobody will ever know. And now lets join Dusty and Lefty for today's adventure.


GK: (WHOOPS) Head em on out, Dusty. Head em out! Git that one! Git her! Don't let em head up the glen!

TR: Head up the what?

GK: Head up the glen! Don't let em head up the canyon!

TR: Right. Canyon!

GK: That's what I said.

TR: I thought you said "glen".

GK: I meant canyon. (WHOOPS) (HORSES HOOVES) (TR WHOOPS, OFF) (ACTION SUBSIDES. SLOW HOOVES) There. Good. Thought they were gonna head up that canyon there. They're sneaky. Boy, they're always lookin for a way around authority, ain't they?

TR: What was that about a glen?

GK: Glen is another word for canyon. Or valley.

TR: A canyon is not the same as a valley.

GK: Okay, okay.

TR: Entirely different.

GK: All right---

TR: Lefty, this is the west. Look around. Where's the valleys? Canyons, yes. Arroyos, yes. Glens? Hell, no.

GK: Okay. (HOOFS CONTINUE) Meant to say canyon. Made a wee bit of a mistake.

TR: Wee?

GK: Little.

TR: Around here, "wee" means to take a piss.

GK: Sorry. Little mistake. (HOOVES CONTINUE)

TR: You okay, Lefty?

GK: Good as I'm used to being.

TR: You sure?

GK: As sure as I ever am.

TR: We're Americans, Lefty. We're supposed to talk American. And fire our pistols and wee against a tree and spit. I ain't seen you spit in days. Not in days! (HE HAWKS AND SPITS) How come?

GK: I don't feel like spitting.

TR: You don't need to feel like it, you just do it because you're a man. What's wrong with being a man?

GK: What's a man for a' that?

TR: I don't know what you're getting at, pardner.

GK: I been thinking about making a change. Going to a different climate. Different terrain. Another line of work. Getting tired of the lone prairie. Tired of dust. Thinking about going somewhere where they get rain and it's hilly and you'd be dealing with sheep. (HOOVES STOP)

TR: Whoa! Whoa!!! Sheep! (HORSE WHINNY) Lefty, I coulda sworn I heard you say sheep.

GK: I'm thinking about going into sheepherding.

TR: Sheep! I can't believe it. I thought I knowed you, pardner. Sheep! Lefty, we're cowboys. Not eweboys. Sheep! There's no dignity in it. You sit out on a hill in a stone hut, you don't have a horse, just a dog. Name me one motion picture with a sheepherder for a hero. Name one. (GALLOPING HOOVES APPROACH) Why, who's this coming?

GK: Appears to be a woman. Woman in a tan suit.


SS: Morning, Lefty.

GK: Doctor Liebowitz---

SS: It's Tuesday. Ten a.m. Time for our session.

GK: Oh, right. Guess I forgot about it.

SS: You want to come over and lie down on that rock and we can get started?

GK: I don't know. I don't think I got much to say, Dr. Liebowitz.

SS: No dreams this week?

GK: No. Not really.

SS: No loneliness issues?

GK: Well----

SS: Last week you said you were feeling desperate and crazed and lonely as a hoot owl.

GK: Well, it's all relative, isn't it.

TR: You want me to go away, pardner.

GK: No.....

SS: There ain't nothing you want to talk about?

GK: Can't think of anything.

SS: I rode fifty-five miles on horseback for nothing?

GK: I've been thinking about moving to Scotland.

SS: Scotland!

GK: I just feel like maybe fatalism might be the answer for me.

TR: Scotland! You ain't Scottish.

GK: Deep down I am. I love fried food. I love good booze. Especially if someone else is buying. And I have a constant feeling that something dreadful is going to happen sooner than I think.

SS: You'd never be happy in Scotland, Lefty.

GK: Happiness isn't the point of it. The point is to be in the company of other people who are just as lonely as you and know how to appreciate it.

SS: How lonely are you?

GK: So lonesome I could cry.

TR: You could cry? Or you have cried?

GK: I could. But if I lived in a place with regular rainfall and people wouldn't notice, maybe I would do it more often.

SS: That'll be fifty dollars, Lefty.

GK: Fraid I don't have it, Doc. You care to take a guitar in trade?

SS: Well. Okay---

TR: Thank goodness. Gettin rid of that----

GK: You don't mind if I sing one first, though?--- (GUITAR STRUM, BAD CHORD)

TR: Oh, please.

GK: (GUITAR TUNING) Let me just get this thing tuned up.

I get the blues every February walking round Edinburgh
Had em yesterday probably have em tomorrow
Scotland's damp and cold, and low on silver and gold
Things have been erodin' since the Battle of Culloden back when I was ten years old.
Ain't got a mickle, ain't got a muckle to my name
Everybody else here seems to be about the same
When it comes to grief and sorrow, you may as well be thorough
And there ain't no blues like the blues of Edinburgh.

Sitting here on Clark Street, feeling so all alone
Feeling the rain run down my back, in a city made of stone
Think I'll get me some whiskey, and a plate of neeps
Climb down into the hole I'm in and dig it nice and deep
Sit all day in a smoky pub, listening to bad news
And know that we are noble because we always lose
There ain't a whole lot of mirth, down along the Firth
Edinburgh, Scotland, my favorite place on earth.

I long to escape from the mesa and butte
And head for a land where a mon he can hoot
And enjoy a fine whisky that is smoky like peat
And every last Tory goes down to defeat.

Whoopi ti yi yo, git along little dogie,
You know Edinburgh will be your new home.

TR: Please. No yodel.

GK: (YODELS LAST LINE) Here's the guitar, doctor.

TR: Well, now at least one of us is going to feel better.


TR: I don't know what your problem is, but I'll bet it's hard to pronounce. Just remember, Lefty --- the fact that nobody understands you doesn't mean that you're an artist. (GALLOPING HOOVES APPROACH) Who's this?

GK: Looks like the mail man.


TK (JOWLY): U.S. Pony Express, sir--- got a letter for a Mr. Lefty.

GK: I'm Lefty.

TK (JOWLY): Letter from Scotland, mister. That'll be two dollars and twenty-five cents.

GK: Okay. (PULLS OUT HANDFUL OF CHANGE) Ten-twenty-forty-five, sixty, seventy, ninety-five, dollar twenty, dollar seventy, dollar seventy-five, two dollars, and here's a quarter. And five cents tip.


GK: (RIPS OPEN ENVELOPE) Edinburgh Employment Agency.

TR: You mind saving the stamp for me? I don't have that one in my collection. The one where she has the purse on her arm.


TR: What does it say?

GK: They want me for the Edinburgh Festival.

TR: What's that?

GK: I don't know but it's a cowboy festival. Fringe Festival, it says here. You couldn't do fringe without having cowboys. And they want to know if I speak gallic.

TR: We don't even cook with it, how can we speak it?

GK: They want an answer by the first of the year.

TR: Gosh.

GK: It's postmarked August 15th.

TR: One disadvantage of being nomadic is the poor mail service.

GK: Guess I lost out.

TR: Sorry about that, pardner.

GK: Oh well. We Scots know how to take defeat. It's success that's the problem. (HE HAWKS AND SPITS. PAUSE. DISTANT MOO)

TR: Now that's what I call spitting.

GK: Let's head em out, Dusty. Hit the trail. Whatever happens happens. And when it does, we'll happen right along with it.


SS: The Lives of the Cowboys.....brought to you by Trailblazer Twenty-Four Hour Deodorant.....with time-release aromatic capsules....so that ever so often, you smell pretty good.


(c) 2000 by Garrison Keillor