Ecclesiastes 3 – Simplified Cowboy Version

by Kevin on January 3, 2011

Now, I want all you young ‘uns to gather ‘round hyar, I gotta tell y’all a story ‘bout a pair a Cracker Cowboys that summa y’all are kin to.

Enoch Mizell, kin ta the legendary Bone Mizell (but lackin’ in his bad habits) and Cisto Mendez had taken ‘em a few cur dawgs down Horse Creek an’ jest set ‘em up a cow camp. Both boys were Florida Crackers like y’all, cow hunters by trade. Enoch’s family went back more generations than he knew, Cisto was a Creole and a descendant of the Spaniards who’d come to Florida ‘most 400 years back. Enoch’s daddy, who he was named after, was a Sergeant under Cap’n John T. Lesley in the Confederate Cattle Guard Battalion better known as the “Cow Calvary”. Both a them boys had served under Teddy Roosevelt and ate dirt with him on their crawl up San Juan Hill an’ jest recent come back fum Cuba.

Now times was tuff in them days, after the war. Weren’t much work so the boys went to doin’ what they knew best, and that was gatherin’ mavericks which they planned ta brand up an’ drive over to the stockyards in Arcadia, where they’d fetch a pretty good price.

They’d jest finished up the plates from chuck and was havin’ ‘em a cuppa that good Cuban coffee they’d brung home with ‘em. The evenin’ was a little cool; with a breeze comin’ in off’n the Gulf, just enuff ta keep the skeeters up in the cypress trees. Ol’ Enoch he’s dun dug his Bible out’n the saddle bags and was commencin’ ta read.

Cisto says “Whatcha readin’ pard?”

“Bible” says Enoch.

“I kin see that, waddie…wut I wanna know is…wut?”

“Ecclesiastes Chapter 3”.

And then come the question that Enoch would carry into his old age.

“How’s ‘bout readin’ it ta me, since I cain’t? Read. An’ mebbe y’all can translate it into ‘Merican English since I cain’t cotton a lick a that King George”.

“King James, an’ I’d be proud ta read it to ya” sez Enoch.

By that time even the cur dawgs had gathered ‘round their little fire and it looked like they wuz a-fixin’ ta listen’ in too, and if’n you youg ‘uns ‘ll listen you’ll catch on why them dawgs was so intense.

And this here’s how it come out:

Ecclesiastes 3 (SCV)

1 Come’s a time an’ a season fer ever’thin’ under heaven,

a time fer all our doin’s

2 A time ta be borned an’ a time ta die,

a time ta plant an’ a time ta harvest, if’n yer a farmer.

3 A time ta kill an’ a time ta heal.
A time ta tear down an’ a time ta build up.

4 A time ta cry an’ a time ta laugh.
A time ta grieve an’ a time ta dance.

5 A time ta scatter stones an’ a time ta gather stones.
A time ta embrace an’ a time ta turn away fum it.

6 A time ta search an’ a time ta give ‘er up.
A time ta keep an’ a time ta toss ‘er all away.

7 A time ta tear an’ a time ta stitch up.
A time ta keep yer jaws tagether an’ a time ta palaver.

8 A time ta love an’ a time ta hate.
A time fer makin’ war an’ a time fer signin’ the peace treaty.

9 Wut does folks really git fer all their hard work?

10 I’ve been a-seein’ the ox-yoke The Boss has laid ‘pon us all.

11Yet The Boss has made ever’thing beautiful fer its own time. He’s a-planted eternity in the hearts a us human beans, but even so, folks just cain’t see the whole span a The Boss’s work from beginnin’ ta end.

12 So I figgered there ain’t nothin’ better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can.

13 And folks oughta eat and drink and enjoy the fruits a their labor, for these be gifts from The Boss.

14 And I own that whatever The Boss does is final. Ain’t nothin’ can be added to it nor taken fum it. The Boss’s idee is that people oughta honor Him and stand in respect, wonderment and amazement of Him.

15 What’s happenin’ now has happened before, and what’ll happen in the future has done happened before, ‘cause The Boss makes the same things happen over and over agin.

16 I also took note that under the sun there’s evil in the courtroom. Yessir, even the judge, jury ‘n hangman is crooked!

17 So I sez ta myself, “In due time The Boss is a-gonna judge ever’one a us, both good ‘n bad, fer all their doin’s.”

18 I also pondered on the human sitya-ayshun—how The Boss proves ta folks that they ain’t no better ‘n animals.

19 That’s ‘cause folks ‘n critters share the same fate—both us ‘n them have spirits an’ both us ‘n critters gotta die. So folks have no real gain over critters. The whole sitya-ayshun seems kinda pointless.

20 Both folks ‘n critters goes ta the same place—they come fum dust and they goes back ta dust.

21 Ain’t nobody can prove that the human spirit goes up and the spirit of animals goes down into the earth, is they?

22 So I seen that there ain’t nothin’ better for folks than ta be happy in their work. That’s why we’re here! Ain’t no one ‘ll bring us back fum the dead to enjoy life after we die.

“There ya have it Cisto. Now don’t be a-takin’ this to mean that ya can do whatever ya want in the eyes a The Boss. Ya see, the feller wut wrote this was kinda frustrated with his life. See, he had ever’thing a cow hunter could want and it didn’t bring him any more satisfaction than a cleaned plate will give these hungry cur dawgs. The only way to know true, soul-satisfyin’ happiness in this here world, is through The Boss’s Son, Jesus. You may a heard a Him…”

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