Just six years old when Gunsmoke aired, little Rodger Dale at once was smitten,
He wanted to be like Marshall Dillon, then again, what little boy his age didn’t?
The likes of Paladin and James T. West, blazed the trail for this young buckaroo,
As Roy Rogers and Dale Evans strummed guitar and crooned, “Happy trails to you.”
“Hi-yo Silver away,” atop his fiery horse, the masked Lone Ranger shouts,
His trusty side-kick Tonto just ahead, as each trail for danger he scouts.
Rodger’s boyhood was filled with cowboys and Indians, ranchers, rustlers, and wranglers,
But a good cowboy welcomes anyone to the campfire; partners, drifters, even strangers.
The years were kind to Cowboy Rodger, as he traveled the trails of life,
God blessed him with 3 buckaroos of his own, when sweet Deanna became his wife.
He worked hard each day to earn a living; that was the “Cowboy Way.”
As hard as he worked, sunup to sundown, he always took time to pray.
Everyday would find him singing or whistling; he was sure to make you smile,
He had a great big heart, and list of fine qualities, that went on for country mile.
At times Life would try to get the drop on Rodger, but his draw was fast as lightening,
With a wink and smile, that’s all it would take and your day was sure to brighten.
He lovingly showed us the “ropes,” always “steering” us in the right direction,
At times he’d have to “corral” us, but we knew he had the best of intentions.
He had some rough rides and saddle sores, but loved the Lord first and foremost,
Jesus deputized Rodger one New Year’s Eve night, filling him with the Holy Ghost!
Liberty Vance, Hopalong Cassidy, the “Duke” – John Wayne himself,
The “Singing Cowboy” Gene Autry, now fond memories upon Life’s shelf.
In the distance I hear “Load ’em up, move ’em out, Rawhide!” and “Yippee-ki-yay!”
Just slogans of yesteryear’s cowboys that have all but faded away.
“Give me land, lots of land, under starry skies above…Don’t fence me in.”
God’s prepared a ranch the size of Texas, for our faithful father and friend.
With cowboy boots and Stetson hat, a six-gun strapped to his side,
The cowboy I called “Daddy” has taken his heavenly ride.
Cowboy Rodger has gone to his heavenly home, where the deer and the antelope play,
He’s up there with Papaw, ridin’ the range, where the skies are not cloudy all day.
“Some trails are happy trails and some trails are blue,”
It’s the way you ride the trail that counts,
There’s a happy one for you.
Happy trails to you…until we meet again. We love you Dad!
February 10, 1949 – August 7, 2008
(Written August 28, 2008)