March 20, 2008

Tell Me It Ain't So

This is a song of Idaho. I grew up in Idaho where my family has been established going on six generations. The Idaho connection began with my great-grandfather from Switzerland, Reinhold Kern who was one of the original homesteaders of winter wheat farmland north of Preston. We have the original patent that he received once the land was proved up. It was signed by the President of the United States himself at the time - President Taft.

Living away from the state for most of the year, but always returning to her mountains, deserts and valleys during the growing season has given rise to the comment made in my direction more than once - "You can take the boy out of Idaho, but you can't take the Idaho out of the boy." There is still room to move around. Time takes on a different meaning in the lava strewn sagebrush plains under the everchanging Idaho skyscape with its ondulating clouds and ever changing moods. The countless mountains, gorges and ravines where you can bask in the western sun in some forgotten, gurgling hot spring . . . such scenes live on in memory and for the most part are unchanged upon return.

Soon we'll put this year's crop of steers out to graze for the summer on my place in Island Park - and I will return. Until then, just tell me . . . it ain't so.

Tell Me It Ain’t So
by Paul Kern

Tell me it ain’t so,
Or at least that you don’t know,
That the sky’s not all that blue up there,
And cascades don’t fall through mountain air.

Tell me it just don’t figure,
When you stop to count each river,
There are more here that begin and end,
Through canyons deep that twist and bend.

It can’t really be,
But at times it seems to me,
That the wind rides cold and coarse,
Over the plains on an unbroke horse.

So tell me that on that plain,
After a storm of desert rain,
There is no scent as the sage awakes,
No rabbits, rock chucks or rattlesnakes.

It wouldn’t make a lick of sense,
To think that this side of the fence,
More mountains grace this state,
Than any other of the forty-eight.

Make it sound like it’s the truth,
There are no mountains called Sawtooth,
No granite spires, no Henry's Lake,
No pines, no firs, no trees that quake.

Just tell me it ain’t so,
That the mountains high and valleys low,
Have more miles of rocky trails,
Than most places have of roads and rails.

So tell me, tell me just once more,
There is no thunder in the Snake River’s roar,
Tell me - go on and tell me it ain’t so,
‘Till I get back to Idaho.

These photos are taken from an old cowboy friend's saddle, Lee Jacobsen now 98 and no longer riding. I bought the saddle and still use it - it is an old slick fork saddle handmade in the 1930's - best saddle I have ever owned.

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