As we continue our series of off-road and cowboy poetry, author and ModernJeeper Del Albright takes us back to the mining days of Death Valley in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Characters were abundant and according to Del, “More money went into the ground than ever came out; and every town bragged on how many bars it housed.” Rhyolite is a ghost town on the outskirts of Death Valley, near the town of Beatty, Nevada.
My Retreat from Rhyolite
By Del Albright
There I was late one night, on the outskirts of Rhyolite,
I decided to stop in and have myself a bite.
Not far from Death Valley, there ain’t much around Rhyolite,
Bars and whiskey were the most common sight.
Old Death Valley Scotty was in a bar having a toddy,
He wanted me to join him, and I said ok, but first, I gotta go potty.
He laughed and said, ok, son, we don’t want you to scare us,
Head to the back of the room, behind old Shorty Harris;
You’ll find the place.
Well, I didn’t want to be a public disgrace, so I did what he said.
And sure enough, I moseyed back there and found the head.
And when I come out after I finished doing my thing
that crowd was all in a tizzy, they wanted me to sing.
I said ok, you asked, and then I sat down at the piano,
I told them boys I’ll play a few tunes, but I only sing soprano.
Well, that did it; right there, they got ugly and with a great big shout they threw me out.
Right into the street; thank goodness I landed on my feet and did the only I could; I made my retreat.
Back in to the desert where the sane never wander.
And I spent the rest of my life looking for gold, here and yonder.
Hear Del recite the poem, campfire style: