The first time I saw Jessie Slay was when I sat fishing down at Eagle Lake,
Catching catfish for my momma on a hot spring day with my friend Jake.
She wore an old slouch hat, torn Levis and some worn out tawny boots,
As she wandered through the long grass pulling bluebonnets from their roots.
And then she sat down next to me and without asking drank from my canteen,
There was something ’bout that girl that I had never felt before or seen.
That Texan day turned into many more and into summer loving too,
Her eyes were smokey mountain deep, her hair a golden kinda sunshine hue,
She rode her dapple grey bareback and splashed around Croushatta Creek,
And whispered stories in my ear as we lay on a blanket cheek to cheek.
And though she didn’t say much about herself and the way she hid her inner pain,
That girl became a needed sickness, running like a river through my veins.
My momma said to me ‘It’s time you found a proper girl and settled down,
There’s so many pretty ones with nicer ways a-waitin’ company in this town.
That Jessie’s father lost his faith in God and lost his mind to whiskey too,
And that her mama gives herself to other men and, well, that just won’t do.
That Jessie girl aint right, that’s what folks say, and you can understand why,
She has the freedom of the wind which isn’t good, so time to say goodbye.’
I spent the evening contemplating mommas words inside my worried head,
And how my poppa reinforced her sentiments and must do what she said.
Next morning I rode out of Hollow Ranch to ask that girl if she’d stay mine,
And If I turned my back on kin for her she’d take me free without a dime.
When I reached the crooked Cypress tree where Jessie Slay would always be,
Instead of her, a crumpled note pinned on the trunk was what awaited me.
She wrote, ‘Now Spring and Summer’s passed us by I think it’s time for me to go,
I don’t quite fit right in this talking town and Colorado County aint my show.
I wish you happiness and love in life and please don’t ever get me wrong,
The precious moments I spent here with you will stay in my heart all life long.’
I leaned against that tree with heavy heart and begged the Lord to turn back time,
And let my Jessie know I love her and how much I want her to be mine.