The Associated Poet
In this season of patriotic fervor, it has come to light that Baxter Black, red, white and blue cowboy poet may have inherited the mantle of leadership and responsibility once borne by America’s founding father, the one and only George Washington.
“The similarities are obvious”, commented Leonid Schvartz, Al Gore impersonator and ghostwriter for hire, “Consider the patrician gaze, the regal bearing, the flaring of magnificent nostrils and the slight list to starboard.” Others have remarked on the uncanny coincidences of the young lives of Washington and Black. GW’s great grandfather J.W. migrated from England in 1657 to Virginia. The youthful George conducted orchard-pruning experiments and displayed athletic prowess by throwing a coin across the Potomac River. Baxter’s grandfather migrated from Bonham, Texas in 1885 to Oklahoma, which was also not a state at the time. And, although Baxter never practiced horticulture, he did swallow a coin and pass it eventually.
As a teenager GW turned to surveying as a profession. H was described as “…straight as an Indian, measuring six foot two in his stockings; very muscular and broad-shouldered; penetrating blue-gray eyes; his movements and gestures graceful, his walk majestic, and a splendid horseman.”
Photos rescued from the Baxter Black archives show the teenager chopping weeds, shooting dice and trying to resell trinkets he bought in Juarez to unsuspecting kindergarteners for their lunch money. His career, best described as “self-unemployed”, began smoothly. His striking physical appearance as a boy mirrors George’s. At 5’11” he wrestled in the 138 lb. weight class. Instead of penetrating eyes, he had a penetrating nose, that were he to lie on his back in the sun, and onlooker could tell time. Commenting on his squinty eyes, it was said that he could be blindfolded with dental floss. They were the color of a coyote’s caught in headlights just before the bump and run! Regarding his physique it would be a kindness to say he reminds one of a cheap swing set assembled with some parts missing.
George Washington became a successful plantation owner, became a leader in the revolutionary war commanding an army of many thousands. His military campaign bottomed out in 1777 at Valley Forge but in a stunning turnaround, a mere four years later in October 1781, the British surrendered!
In the striking parallel of their lives Baxter succeeded in diagnosing scabies in a feedlot, causing it to be quarantined and requiring 30,000 head to be dipped in Toxophene at great expense. We can say his bad luck peaked that day in 1982 when his employer gave him the pink slip, he wrecked the ’64 Plymouth 4-door Fury hardtop for which he had paid $380, and forsook his veterinary career to become a cowboy poet.
But just like GW, he rallied and rose from the ashes until, at his apogee he won 2nd money in the final go round team roping with Fred Whitfield at the Lazy E in Guthrie, OK!
As history shows, George Washington at the age 57 was crowned president in 1789, served with distinction and was honored by having his proud profile stamped on the quarter for eternity. Of course a quarter was worth more back then. Cities, counties and states, highways, monuments and woodstoves are named for George Washington.
In Baxter’s case, hills, stock market crashes, eyed peas, electrical outs, Indian feet and the Plague carry his moniker. Basic black, black and blue, black sheep, blackball, blackleg, blackmail, blackhead, blacklist, black cloud and black hole all remind us of Baxter’s impact on the world.
As their twin universes have progressed Baxter has become acutely aware of the comparisons made between himself and the Father of our country. Never one to get a coincidence get away, Baxter has been positioning himself should fate call him to a greater leadership role in this nation. He had purchased a wig, Napoleon hat, frock coat, sword and a lace bib, in anticipation. The local FFA shop has carved him an upper plate from a wagon tongue with incisors fashioned from pieces of yellow plastic ear tags.
He has been on a one-man crusade to reverse history to show GW really wore a big moustache. Therefore if you see a dollar bill or Washington’s portrait with a furry upper lip, you will know Baxter was there!
This spring he has been conspicuously placing himself in the path of paparazzi hoping to land on the cover of U.S. News and World Report or the Canadian Hereford Digest. It is his dream to recreate the famous painting by Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze of Washington crossing the Delaware. It’s been difficult, because in spite of all the rain Arizona has had, the arroyo behind Baxter’s house has yet to run deep enough to float his boat.