we were playing at a rodeo
in austin
some years back

willie nelson was on the bill inside….

we were outside

I believe john fullbright was
on keys, 
waldo and tiny
in the rhythm
and mickey raphael sat in with us
on the harmonica….

no one watching us in the afternoon
heat, but that never mattered much

after our set, 
I saw Skinner take off running

which was not an
 ‘all the time’ occurrence 

I figured something was on fire,
or a baby was in a well…
or willie nelson was ordering a corn dog…

I jogged over to where Tom was
headed to make sure nothing
was wrong

he was just lining up for a ticket
to watch Whiplash The Cowboy Monkey
and he intended on a front row seat

he didn’t see me
seeing him

the look on his face watching that
monkey strapped on a sheepdog
and coralling sheep
around a small pen,
was pure joy

like a little kid’s face…
full of awe and wonder

and just plain old excited

loving the hell out of seeing
that monkey

I laughed out loud
watching him
watch that monkey

after the monkey show, 
Tiny bought an 8x10
with the monkey paw print
dipped in ink for the autograph

he forgot all about willie nelson playing