Now Sal’s name weren’t really Sally,
but most likely you figured out that,
Salvador was what his ma called him,
where they‘s from, down ‘round Mexican hat.
But since Sal had him four older brothers
who was married, with kids of their own
the old hacienda had grown kind of cramped,
And Sal set lookin’ for a new place to call home
Then when the trail boss showed up a lookin’
for a chuckwagon maitre’d
Sal took a quick look at the menu,
and figured, “Hey! This job’s fer me!”
See, Sal’s ma had learned him tortillas,
and beans is just timin’ and flame,
and when you’re workin’ a herd, that’s most all you get;
the grub is pert always the same.
But Sal was creative. He had pride in his work.
Took measures to dress up a plate
with sprigs of mesquite, or juniper berries,
and used the leftovers boys hadn’t ate
to come us with cusine, and back-eastern dishes
like vichi-suasse, from an uneaten spud,
he tried fryin’ cactus, sauteed pigweed greens
and steamed puddin’ made outta blood.
Then he’d post a fine menu on the side of the tarp,
like, pate from a buckshotted quail,
complimented by cupcakes in old Van Camp’s cans,
and dried currents from along side the trail.
And Sal had a sensitive nature,appreciated a nod of the head,
or a “Gee, Thank you, Cookie!
That was all real good!”
as the boys was headin’ to bed.
But he took it real personal if he felt he’d been snubbed,
or his efforts not been ‘preciated.
And he was partic’ly offended if some unthinkin’ cuss
didn’t slick up the treat he’d created.
It would make him depressed. Send him into a funk
his self-esteem would be hurt.
And he’d sulk in a corner ‘less the culprit at fault
asked for seconds or thirds at dessert.
But he wouldn’t waste food. And if there wasn’t a way
he could see to make over a meal
then he’s serve it again, sometimes three or more times
until it lost all its taste appeal.
Then he’d take one more shot at his salvage endevor
and roll the whole mess up in dough,
then slop on some gravy, over spiced and real thick,
and call it a casserole.
And the boys’d likely eat it. ‘Cause they knew if they didn’t
the odds was they couldn't win,
They’d get it for breakfast, or dinner again,
so they’d belly on up and dig in.
Then Sal would feel better. And for two or three days
he be glowin’, and filled with good will
and he bake the boys pies, or serve mildly spiced beans
and the crew could at last eat their fill.
Then the camp would rejoice, flowers would bloom,
The earth would smile as a new dawn was breakin’
God dwelled in his heaven, all was right with the world
‘til the next time Sal tried recipe makin’
©Jo Lynne Kirkwood - 2001