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"The Tech Rep" By James Michener; Continued:

"The other poem was something quite special. I've asked a good knowledgeable people about this epic of the American west, and so far no one has heard of it. Apparently it has always had wide circulation in states like Wyoming and Colorado, where almost any campfire will produce one man who has memorized it. The rhythm is peculiar in a wild. undisciplined prairie sort of way. I remember asking Holt several times if he was quoting the opening line correctly, so he wrote off to Denver for a copy-and there it was:

...LASCA USED TO RIDE
ON A MOUSE-GRAY MUSTANG CLOSE TO MY SIDE.

The poem told of an outlaw cowboy who had only one friend in the world, a tough Mexican girl named Lasca, who shared his luck through many adventures in the west, until the day when...Well, the ending is rather sticky, sort of cowboy epic, but the power which these lines had to make ranch hands stare into space was extraordinary, or so Holt said.

I gathered that Holt loved the poem because it assured him that occasionally in life lucky men sometimes do find women that will share the frontier, who will ride side by side. When the Ford Motor Company brought out a new car called the Mustang, Holt bought one of the first and had it shipped to Sumatra, but after a while he sold it.

Once as we drove across the semi-desert in Afghanistan he told me, WHAT I'D REALLY LIKE WOULD BE TO HAVE A COUPLE OF HORSES IN ONE OF THE VILLAGES ALONG THE DESERT. AND SOME GIRL WHO WOULD BE WILLING TO RIDE...YOU KNOW, SHE'D HAVE HER MUSTANG, I'D HAVE MINE."

To be continued:



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