Buckshot Dot  (Dee Strickland Johnson)

Featured in "The Big Roundup," an anthology of the best of CowboyPoetry.com.

 

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About Buckshot Dot

"Buckshot Dot" has been featured at Cowboy Poetry Gatherings and concerts all over Arizona as well as New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, Montana, California, and Arkansas.  In addition, she has appeared in concert in Alabama, Virginia and Vermont and at Festival of the West and the Western Music Association Festival.

The Academy of Western Artists' 1997 Female Cowboy Poet of the Year (a finalist in 1998 and for video in 1999), she is a native Arizonan who grew up on the Navajo and Hualapai reservations and at the Petrified Forest.  (She insists she did NOT have picnics in the shade of those trees!)   She has also lived on a farm in Idaho and she and her husband had a ranch in Arkansas.  While there she performed regularly at the Ozark Folk Center and wrote heritage articles for a local newspaper.

She has taught at small schools in the Ozarks and in the largest inner city high school in Arizona.  Dee is happily married to John (Ol' Buck) Johnson. They have three grown children and two grandchildren.

Marshall Trimble, Honorary Arizona Historian said "Dee is one of Arizona's truly great cowboy singers and poets.  She has that rare ability to hold audiences of all ages spellbound with her animated style of song and poetry.  And, with deep ancestral roots in this state's storied past, she's truly a daughter of the Arizona soil."

For more about Buckshot Dot, see her fancy web site.

Poems

The Big Spread
The Roan and the Pontiac
Tomboy
Dining Out
Sad Day for Trail Dust
(a tribute to Mason Coggin elsewhere on this site)
Maverick Love Affair
Dancing with Dad
Cowboy Goes A'Courtin'
He Said, "They'll Know Who I Am"
Legacy of Levi's
Old Hank Morgan's Place
(in a feature about Jean Prescott elsewhere on this site)
The Other Mother (separate page)
Duct Tape and Balin' Wire
Morning in the High Hills
Mountain Cows

 

 

 

The Big Spread
by Dee Strickland Johnson 

A brand new outfit's startin' up --
It's really big they say!
Why, it's gonna stretch acrost the globe!
They call it
Y2-K.
Now all the boys are tellin' me
It's just my kind of place,
"You're just the hand that outfit needs!
You've even got the face!"


I guess they're hard up for a cook --
It must be a "greasy sack",
'Cause I hear tell I should stock beans,
Stow bacon in my pack!
You know, I think from what I hear,
They're hirin' right away!
Slim says, "Oh, Absolutely, Buck!
They start on New Year's Day.


"You really ought to hire on!
They need a responsible guy!
And Buck, you's born responsible --
You don't even have to try!"
"You know, Slim's right!" Ol' Stumpy says,
"He's not talkin' through his hat!
  Boss always says, when somethin's wrong,
  'Buck's responsible for that!'"


That's what they always tell me,
So I reckon that it's true.
Someone must head that great new spread,
So that's just what I'll do!
They say they'll miss me when I'm gone --
But I'll work up fast, they say.
They'll sure be proud to say they knew
The foreman of
Y2-K!

© December 1999, Dee Strickland Johnson
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission. 

 

The Roan and the Pontiac
by Dee Strickland Johnson 

For the sake of you younguns (who might not know) the term drummer at one time referred to a traveling salesman.


Well, I met Miss Betsy at a dance; her eyes were big and blue,
I'd swing her every chance I got -- but the drummer swung her too.
He said, "I'll take Miss Betsy home.  It's rainin', so of course,
I'll take her in my Pontiac; you've only got a horse."

So I sat there in the darkness with a slicker o'er my head
And watched him help her in his car, and wished that I was dead.
He got out and cranked that thing; it coughed and choked and hacked
And splattered mud upon my roan -- that gol durned Pontiac!

The rain was tricklin' down my boots; my nose was breathin' fire!
I cussed and swore and had a mind to shoot that left rear tire!
But I watched them tail lights growin' dim; my case just had no force --
With him in that durned Pontiac and me on a rain soaked horse!

Well, I dismounted, went inside and had another drink;
(I had to worsh the cobwebs out, so's I could clearly think).
In thirty minutes, there abouts, the rain still pourin' down.
I got back on old Roany and headed out of town.

I hadn't rode more than a mile -- two at the very most,
Thinkin' what I should have said, hearin' that drummer boast,
When 'midst the streaks of lightnin', why there in the mud and mire
That drummer squatted in the road, a-tryin' to fix a tire!

I reined up close.  He said, "It's flat -- just for your information!"
I said, "I'll swan!  You seem upset by this here situation;
 I'll help." I smiled,  removed my hat, and then took out my comb.
He mumbled, "Thanks."  I said, "Yes, Sir!  I'll take Miss Betsy home!"

I helped her up astride my roan; she pulled my slicker back
And put her arms around my waist, And we forsook that Pontiac!
And as we cantered slowly home, she hummed a little tune,
The clouds passed by; there slithered out the sliver of a moon.

"O, this is such fun!" she hollered, as she leaned against my back,
And was I glad I had my roan -- and him that Pontiac!
I borrowed her a sorrel mare and we rode out on Sunday
And danged! I went to dinner at her house that very Monday.

It wasn't more'n a month or so, the day was bright and fair,
She wore some fancy frilly frock, side saddle on that mare --
So I got married on my roan, and that's an honest fact!
And the drummer headed east that day -- in his gol durned Pontiac!

© February 1995, Dee Strickland Johnson
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission. 


Tomboy
by Dee Strickland Johnson 

I was raised with seven brothers
       near a place called Concho Lake.    
 There was Jamie, Jeff, and Joseph,
       Sam and Seth and Sid and Jake.
So I grew up rough and tumble,
     and I made my share of noise, 
Romped the dogs and roped the horses.  
     I was rowdy as the boys! 

Skinny tomboy, seven brothers,
     and assorted brothers' friends    
On our little cattle ponies,
     raced to hell and back again.  
We'd roar down the dry arroyas;
     then we'd all come tearing back,    
There was Buzz and Paul and Donnie
     and that rascal Charlie Black. 
  
But one Spring, as I grew older,
     Mama firmly told me, "No!"   
And when the boys went out on roundup—
     Mama said I couldn't go.
Then she tried to teach me cooking,
     how to sew, and keep the place; 
But my heart was roping yearlings,
     and I longed to barrel race.

 Once she washed my hair in soap weed;
      while it still hung limp and damp,
 She stuck that rusty curling iron
      down the chimney of the lamp. 
 "Sister," she said, holding up a gingham
      dress that she had sewed,
 "Andy's comin'!  Now you wear this,
      so's your legs won't look so bowed."

 Andy was the new young foreman
      of the ranch off to our west,
 And of all my brothers' cronies,
      Mama showed she liked him best.  
 O, she was proud that she had made me
      look like something of a girl,
 Got me out of faded Levis,
      forced my stubborn hair to curl.

 Well, it wasn't long thereafter 
      every time that Andy'd call,   
 And the boys were pitching horseshoes,
      Andy'd linger in the hall.
 So he came to be my suitor,
       brought me candy, flowers and such,
 And the night he brought me perfume,
  Well, I didn't mind too much.  

 Andy'd come 'most every evening;
       he was courteous and kind,
 And it wasn't any secret
      what the cowboy had in mind.   
 Every Friday we'd go dancing,
       laughing clear to town and back.
 Andy made me feel a lady

       so I married Charlie Black!

© November, 1994, Dee Strickland Johnson, from her book, Cowman's Wife
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission. 


Dining Out
by Dee Strickland Johnson 

My cowpoke pa came in to town,
Said, "Let's go out and eat."
He agreed most anywhere was fine,
As long as they served meat.

I took him to a Chinese place,
My favorite spot to dine.
He ordered beef and pork and shrimp --
Allowed it tasted fine;

But he said, "I won't come here no more!"
I thought I just can't win!
But I inquired the reason that
He won't go back again.

"Well, the food was really pretty good;
And the prices weren't too steep --
But the place mats claimed that I was borned
In the year of the dad-burned sheep!"

© April, 1999, Dee Strickland Johnson
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission. 

 

Maverick Love Affair
by Dee Strickland Johnson 

That dang little maverick had strayed again,
          and the boss sez to me, "Curly Black,
  Put that calf with the herd before sundown;
         its your job to bring her back!"

  She was down in the blackberry brambles;
          and pickin' berries there
  Was Jess Johnson's middle sized daughter,
          and she had that pretty red hair
  Tied back with a narrow ribbon --
          light blue just like her eyes,
  And before I got that calf out,
          I was in for a big surprise.

  She said, "There's a supper social
          at the church tomorrow at three,
  I thought you might be goin';
         'course it really don't matter to me"
  Well, I hadn't been much at church goin',
          but I sure was there on that day;
  Why, a herd of stampedin' cattle
          couldn't have kept me away!

  Most of the boxes was fancy --
          big flowers to make 'em go;
  But one had just blackberry blossoms
          tied up with a narrow blue bow.
  I'd have bid my horse and saddle,
          and I got that simple box --
  Also Jess Johnson's daughter --
          the one with the reddish locks.

  Now here's little Blossom and Berry Black;
          I think -- and I have to laugh
  When I see their blue eyes and their curly red hair --
          what I owe to that maverick calf!

© 1995, Dee Strickland Johnson, from her book, Cowman's Wife
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission. 

 

Dancing with Dad
by Dee Strickland Johnson 

I wakened this morning, humming some sweet refrain,
To the best dream that I've ever had.
I closed my eyes tight, so the dream would remain,
For I dreamed I was dancing with Dad.

               CHORUS:
Dancing with Dad to the fiddle's sweet sound,
How I wished we could dance just one more!
My blue skirt was whirling and swirling about,
And we twirled and we whirled round the floor.

I could feel his arms round me just like in years past,
When I heard his sweet voice humming low
The tune that was playing as we skimmed the floor;
Was it fifty or more years ago?

               CHORUS:
Dancing with Dad, I was dancing with Dad.
How I hope when God calls from afar,
As celestial strings play a heavenly waltz,
Dad will dance me off into the stars.

© 2001, Dee Strickland Johnson
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission. 

This poem is included in our collection of  poems about Cowboy Dads and Granddads

 


Cowboy Goes A-Courtin
by Dee Strickland Johnson 
 

(This poem is based on the keen cowboy humor of Cephas Perkins of Perkins Valley, Holbrook, Arizona.  It is dedicated to Josei and Cephas, my "Mom and Pop.")

My daddy died in '75.
Mom's been mighty lonesome since then;
But she's told me many and many a time,
"I'll never get married again!

"No one could take your daddy's place,
I'm not thinking of it at all!"
But then on the phone
     she casually mentioned --
That a cowboy had come to call.

It's that rancher Cephas Perkins --
Owns that big spread out west of town;
He'd taken her to dinner that week
And had sorta been hangin' around.

He's 80 years old and she's 82;
And both 'em's spry as young foxes.
He don't hear too well,
     and she gets dizzy spells,
But they ain't hidin' out in no boxes!

Last Spring when I went to visit my mom,
I observed this progressing romance,
And to my way of observatin',
Old Cephas just might have a chance!

I said, "Cephas, why'd you
     leave your hat outside
On the bush by Mama's front door?"
(I'd noticed that every time he came,
He placed it right there as before.)

"Well, if some other guy should come ridin' by,
     (I'm always suspectin' the worst),
When he's roundin' that curve,
     I want him to observe,
That, by jingos, I got here first!"

"And how come it's always turned upside down?
     That protects the brim, no doubt."
"Well, I ain't concerned with the brim or the trim;
     I just don't want my luck to run out!"

"I hear you took Mom to the cattle auction
     Last week on the reservation."
"Yep! That's one hundred miles.
     Had to stop four times
          before we got back to the station."

"Four times!  What's wrong with your pickup?""
     sez I.
Cephas laughs, "Tain't my truck!"
     Then he smiles,
"But a cowboy knows that when your gal goes,
     You get to kiss her each twenty miles!

"And to me it seems downright obvious
     that this match was made in heaven --
You know your Mom's four foot ten --
     Well, I'm four foot twenty-seven!"

Well, my Mom and Cephas
     got married last week,
And he told us with one of his grins,
"There's somethin' for shore
     to that old cowboy lore!
When a cowboy goes courtin', he wins!"

© 1996, Dee Strickland Johnson (from her book, First Roundup)
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission. 


He Said, "They'll Know Who I Am"
by Dee Strickland Johnson 

We was down in Pleasant Valley
  come in for the rodeo,
When we seen a sight to pop your eyes!
  A thing we didn't know
Could happen in that country,
  Why, much to our surprise
We seen a airplane landin'!
  We just stood there mesmerized.

It was settlin' in the pasture
  The red dust really rolled!
We all rushed out to see that thing,
  And what did we behold
But a orange and yaller biplane,
  and painted purple on the side
Was a big mean lookin' bronco
  With a mustached dude astride.

And underneath, real fancy,
  was these words for all to see,
"They'll know who I am!" it said,
  as plain as it could be.
Feller had a yaller kerchief,
  and a fringed and sequined shirt.
Blonde mustache waxed and sharpened;
  and he sure did like to flirt!

His pants was tucked into his boots,
  High peaked Montana hat.
Them pants was "ridin' britches"
  Hank sez, "Dang! Look at that!
We all was wearin' Levi's,
  denim shirts that needed mends;
That dude seemed a unfurled peacock
  In a yard of speckled hens.

As he didn't look familiar,
  Stumpy hollered, "What's yer name?"
Stranger said, "You'll recognize me,
  For I've earned a bit of fame!
Yes, when I make my ride, boys,
  You'll hear it from the stands,
Just wait until I'm comin' off --
  Then, you'll know who I am!"

I heard, then, on the bull horn
   like the voice of God exclaim,
"Rider, number 27,
   We didn't get your name!"
And that flashy mustached hombre,
  Hollered back might nigh as loud,
"Just listen good, announcer!
  You'll soon hear it from the crowd!"

If he didn't want to tell his name,
  We didn't give a damn,
But the way he said it rubbed us wrong,
  That "You'll know who I am!"
"Rider number twenty-seven
  Chute three on Greasy Grey!"
Jake slipped the bar; the grey come out
  Like a match throwed in dry hay.

He pitched and squalled and sunfished
  That ride was sure a bust!
The stranger lit right on his head
  And wallered in the dust.
Well, he didn't even brush off dirt,
  He just took off on the lam.
We watched him go -- and we still don't know
  just who the heck he am!

© August, 2001, Dee Strickland Johnson (from her book, First Roundup)
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission. 


               

This little tale was told to the author by rancher Frank Chapman of Young, Arizona



Legacy of Levi's
by Dee Strickland Johnson 

My Daddy swears by Levi's,
He says nothing else compares
To garments made by Levi Strauss;
        Of that we're all aware!

For if I'm wearin' Wrangler's
    or Lee's, he looks askance,
"You can call 'em jeans if you want to;
Sure as hell ain't cowboy pants!"

So, of course, I'm wearin' Levi's—
It's in the "genes," you see,
And I'll tell you the tale of Levi's
Just as it was told to me:
How an immigrant started his fortune
Back in 1853:

Strauss came to California
    With tough brown canvas meant for tents
To house the myriad miners
    Who had emigrated west
To the siren call of gold fields;
    But the mother lode had waned,
    by the time young Levi got there.
An old prospector explained:

"Son, a lot of folks has left here
    There's tents available galore.
You should have brought good britches—
    Them's the thing we're needin' more!"
Levi listened to the miners:
    "For the gold we hope to pack,
We need tight gold-dust-proof pockets,
    Also pockets in the back,
Sturdy seams with reinforcement."
    Levi thought he'd take a chance,
Cut his canvas into pieces
    And he started making pants.

"Closer fit for work in water."
    Levi set about to please.
Took his pattern from the sailor
    pants worn by the Genoise:
Therefore, known as "jeans" thereafter,
(Which Strauss didn't want them called.
He persisted in insisting
     "They are waist-high overalls").

First he used his tough brown canvas;
Then he tried out something new:
Making pants from firm French cotton
     dyed with indigo—deep blue.
Serge de Nimes—or simply "denim"—
Which soon proved that it would do.

Came along then Jacob Davis,
Still another immigrant;
He'd set rivets on horse blankets,
Offered them for Levi's pants.
They added belt loops, orange thread,
And this leather patch here on the rear,
And Levi Strauss became the foremost
Of the trousers worn out here
     in the west among the miners
And the men who followed near
To provide them beef and cowhides
On the west's great last frontier.

Now there used to be a rivet
At the bottom of the fly;
But that's been discontinued,
And here's the reason why:
The cowboy was responsible,
For quite often he would squat
Beside the roaring campfire—
And that rivet sure got hot!
(That's why that one has been removed
From that strategic spot).

That's the cowboy's contribution
     to these pants he calls his own.
Why, they're tough as saddle leather.
And they wear just like a stone!
So my Daddy's plumb convinced me—
This not some passing fad
And that's how I came to treasure
     the best pants Man ever had!
It's the Legacy of Levi's—
And I got it from my Dad.

   
© March, 1997 Dee Strickland Johnson 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission. 



Information from: Levi Plaza, San Francisco, California  and  "The West Grew Up in Levi's" by Ivy Darrow,  Wild West magazine, August, 1994, pp. 26-32.

Duct Tape and Balin' Wire
by Dee Strickland Johnson 

       Chorus:  Duct tape and balin' wire and chewin' gum and spit.
                   It fills my heart with gladness every time I think of it.
                   Cause my mama and my daddy, I do have to admit,
                   Could fix most things with duct tape, balin' wire or gum or spit.


Stick it up with chewin' gum, or lick it with your tongue,
If Mama saw the slightest smudge on faces of her young
Why, she'd whip out her hanky, and she'd lick it really good
Then we would get a "spit bath" and it worked.  She knew it would.

Dad's ever handy pocket knife could fix most anything.
Mom was good with bobby pins and paper clips and string,
If it creaked or squeaked, Dad grabbed the can of WDT,
A kiss could fix a funny bone or sooth a skinned up knee.

                        Chorus

My mama and my daddy knew when anything went wrong
They could often make it better with a story or a song.
Wrap it up with balin' wire if a thing was troublesome,
Strap it up with duct tape, or plug it up with gum.

                        Chorus

It was patch it with a band-aid, or kiss it if it hurt,
Mom was handy with an apron; Dad, the tail of shirt
They could wipe away the teardrops; they could wash away the mud,
Change a dish towel to a tourniquet to stop a flow of blood.

Now I feel they both are smilin' down on me from up above,
To remind me, "You fix things up with simple things—and love."

© 2007, Dee Strickland Johnson 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission. 


 

 

Morning in the High Hills

In the quiet of the morning
     when the sky is clear and white
and dawn's soft hush has slipped
     across the solitude of night,
When the last pale star has fallen
     and the East’s a rosy glow,
          streaked with lavenders and orchids
               with a touch of indigo.

When the colors all are blending,
     there is no defining each,
And the sun peeps up appearing
Like some plump and pinkish peach,
There is nothing quite so moving,
     quite so silent, quite so strange
          as the Lord's most recent wonder—
               birth of morning on the range.

I can't quite seem to fathom—
     I can't help wondering why—
I was placed amongst such beauty,
     all this solitude and sky.
Now, I see you ride before me,
          as my feet trod earthly sod,
I watch you vanish in the sunrise.
          Go with God!

© 1993, Dee Strickland Johnson, revised 2007 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission. 

 

This poem is included in our collection of Poems for Solemn Occasions.

Mountain Cows
by Dee Strickland Johnson 

(Dedicated to the Davidson clan)

Your desert cows are rugged.
They’re rowdy, mean and rough;
Though ours up on the mountain
Look odd – they’re lean and tough.

You’d orter see our mountain cows!
The two legs on the right
Are a good six inches shorter
Than the left ones – quite a sight
To see them peculiar critters
A-grazin ‘round a hill.
They jest keep right on goin’ up
‘til at top they’ve ate their fill.

And then the path leads down again
And crosses t’other trail,
And by each intersection
They’ve ate about a bale.

You think I’m jest a-joshin’ you?
Think they’re my imagination?
That out there on the level ground
They’d cause no great sensation?
Nah! Mountain cows are custom built!
I’ll bet ya’all a quarter
That mountain cows in old England’s
Got left legs that much shorter!

© 2013, Dee Strickland Johnson
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission. 

 

Dee Strickland Johnson's "A Cowboy's Christmas Eve" is featured in our Art Spur project,
and it includes her poem, A Cowboy's Christmas Eve

and

"At the Jollification" is also featured in Art Spur.

And

The Star and a Humble Cowboy is in our Holiday 2002 collection.

And

  A Christmas Eve to Remember in the collection of Holiday Poems from 2001.

 

 

Books, Tapes, CDs and Such

Buckshot Dot has not been sitting still.  Buckshot Dot's Mercantile on her web site has notecards, books, CDs, and audiotapes.  Among her works:

 

  Much-loved poet, songwriter, and artist Buckshot Dot has collected a treasury of Christmas, Thanksgiving, and New Year's poetry and lyrics in her book, Western Winter Lights. A great source of light herself, the cover is from her drawing and depicts her son, Tim. She tells, "Tim posed for that scratch board picture of the campfire cowboy. I had him standing there with his back to me for quite some time-took a while to get those rivets on the Levi's."

(A version of the cover image was a Christmas Art Spur in 2007. Read more about it and see some of the poems it inspired here.)

With sections including "Winter," "Thanksgiving," "'Specially for Kids," "Christmas is A'Comin'," "Christmas," "Songs of Christmas," "Christmas Festivities," and "After Christmas," the 87 pieces in "Western Winter Lights" include works by James Barton Adams, Lon Austin, S. Omar Barker, Sally Bates, Virginia Bennett, Les Buffham, Jack Burdette, Robert Burns, Nona Kelley Carver, Larry Chittenden, Badger Clark, Dean Cook, Kit McLean Cramer, Captain Jack Crawford, Elizabeth Ebert, Rolf Flake, Igor Glenn, Ken Graydon, Julia Blanche Hanson, Royce Hodge, Yvonne Hollenbeck, Andy Hurlbut, Anne James, Bruce Kiskaddon, Henry W. Longfellow, Peggy Malone, Tony Matheny, Jane Ambrose Morton, Ted Newman, Tony Norris, Ray Owens, Ted Ramirez, Michael H. Ronstadt, Bud Strom, and Beverley Triplett.

Order Western Winter Lights directly from Buckshot Dot for just $10 postpaid: 7852 N. Toya Vista Drive, Payson, AZ 85541; (928) 474-8305; www.buckshotdot.com.
 

  Along the Arizona Trail (2011) collects songs and poems of Arizona. "Buckshot Dot" has been named an Arizona Culture Keeper and she lives up to that distinction as she preserves her beloved state's heritage in this lively volume.

She writes in the introduction:

This book is a sort of birthday present for Arizona's 100th year of statehood [2012]. As an Arizona native, I find that most of my own poems and songs concern events, people, and places from my own experience...Several pieces have been written specifically for the Centennial...

A preface describes what is included:

1. Pieces concerning places and things significant to Arizona
2. "Classics" written in and out of the state
3. Poems about my own growing up there
4. Songs about state
5. Fine Arizona folks I have known
6. Stories and Tall Tales concerning Arizona

The book includes a poem about Arizona written by her mother, Anna Beth Strickland, in 1938, graced with the author's illustration. More of her drawings and those of Bridget Heeringa are also included throughout the book.

Classic selections include the works of Gail I. Gardner, Henry Herbert Knibbs, Charles Badger Clark and others, along with traditional selections. Contemporary writers include Dean Cook, Rolf Flake, and two Arizona legends, both recently deceased and dearly missed, Ken Graydon and Jim Cook.

Along the Arizona Trail is available for $8.95 plus $3.00 postage from: “Buckshot Dot”; 7852 N. Toya Vista Drive, Payson, AZ 85541; (928) 474-8305. (Postage is for 1-3 books of any combination of this title or The Mystery of Little Nepo); www.buckshotdot.com.
 


The Mystery of Little Nepo; an Arizona Story (2012) is billed as Dee Strickland Johnson ("Buckshot Dot")'s first book for young readers, and that is slightly misleading: it's a captivating tale that will appeal to readers of all ages.

The book, illustrated by Bridget Heeringa, is filled with charming, active characters and delightful language, peppered with inventive misnomers, puns, daffy dialect, and other such fun. Gentle lessons about "talking funny" and "being different" shine through.

The tale is set in the Sedona area of Arizona and the book's publication is well timed for the state's 2012 Centennial.

The author has taught history, drama, English, and art. How lucky her students have been.

The Mystery of Little Nepo; an Arizona Story is available for $8.95 plus $3.00 postage from: “Buckshot Dot”; 7852 N. Toya Vista Drive, Payson, AZ 85541; (928) 474-8305. (Postage is for 1-3 books of any combination of this title or Along the Arizona Trail); www.buckshotdot.com.

 


 

One More Dance

Includes:

1. First Waltz (Dean Cook, ASCAP)
2. The Girl from the Red Rose Saloon (Karen Quick, BMI)
3. Windmill (Ken Graydon)
4. Nobody Kisses Their Horse Any More (Mike Ley/Les Buffham, ASCAP)
5. Colorado Trail (Traditional)
6. Three Quarter Time (Ken Graydon)
7. Opal (Dave Stamey, Horse Camp Music, BMI)
8. I Never Knew What Lonesome Was (Ken Graydon)
9. Sueño (Bill Staines, Mineral River Music, BMI)
10. A Border Affair (Traditional, Charles Badger Clark)
11. My Tostada (Dee Strickland Johnson)
12. Woodsmoke at Sundown (Dean Cook, ASCAP)
13. Duct Tape and Balin’ Wire (Dee Strickland Johnson)
14. One More Dance (Bev Triplett)
15. The Last Dance (Dee Strickland Johnson)
16. Morning in the High Hills (Dee Strickland Johnson)

Available for $18 postpaid from:

Dee Strickland Johnson
7852 N. Toya Vista Drive
Payson, AZ 85541
(928) 474-8305
www.buckshotdot.com

 


  Arizona WomenWeird, Wild and Wonderful, tells the storiesin verse, and with her striking illustrationsof Josie Earp, Big Nose Kate, Nellie Cashman, Pearl Hart, and other, lesser known women of history.

Arizona Women--Weird, Wild and Wonderful (softcover) is available for $22.45 postpaid.

Dee Strickland Johnson
7852 N. Toya Vista Drive
Payson, AZ 85541
(928) 474-8305
www.buckshotdot.com

 


Arizona Herstory: Tales from Her Storied Past by Dee Strickland Johnson (Buckshot Dot)


2004

Review:

Dee Strickland Johnson's new book, Arizona Herstory:Tales from Her Storied Past, is an impressive work that celebrates the history of her beloved native state with careful scholarship, captivating tales, and no small amount of humor.

Her expertly crafted, engaging stories in verse never speak in a detached historian's voice, but rather through the colorful and convincing words of the native people, vaqueros, soldiers, cowboys, outlaws, sheriffs, mule skinners, chuckwagon cooks, and settlers who populate this book.  She brings the past alive vibrantly, and this unique volume delivers a panoramic view of the history and the settlement of the West.

Nearly 60 poems appear in chronological groupings.  Those in the "Heroes and Hard Cases" chapter are full of Old West excitement. "Johnny Behind the Deuce" tells of a little known episode in Wyatt Earp's life, which the author says many historians view as his finest hour. There's the story of "The Rhyming Robber" and cowboy W. R. "Red" McNeill, who in taunting his victims with verse was perhaps was inspired by Black Bart.  Johnson, with her signature wit, writes in a footnote (they are all worth reading) "Some of Red's verses have been slighted edited for meter.  I am sure he could have done as well himself but, after all, he was often pressed for time." In the amusing and quick-moving tale of "one of the most notorious cattle rustlers and elusive prisoners in northern Arizona territory, "Climax Jim," nicknamed for the famous chewing tobacco, puts his habit to good use during a courtroom appearance.

In the "Just Plain Folks" chapter, one moving and timeless poem is "Shadows," narrated by a weary rebel soldier who heads west seeking work and comes to some profound realizations about war and the men he used to fight against, saying "...they'd risk hell for my damn sake/ And I fight as hard beside 'em, battlin' cows in wild stampede / As I used to fight agin' 'em -- just 'cause someone said I needed."  "Belle of the Bar" is the intriguing tale of the baby who appears among the gamblers on Prescott's Whiskey Row, and is won with a roll of the dice.

Several poems concern the "Them Hash Knife Cowboys," the Aztec Land and Cattle Company that went from Texas to Arizona in 1885.  The poem of that name tells how some of the Arizona cattlemen changed from their Spanish (California) methods and took on Texas ways: "They looked at our long tapaderos / That flip-flapped and flopped as we rode; / Called us "chaps, taps and latigo straps" / And it wasn't too long till we'd stowed / Our seventy-foot long reatas / Away with the rest of our gear. / We just gave up takin' our dallies, / All tied hard and fast in a year."

One chapter holds legends, lore, myths, "lies told as practical jokes,
" and finally, "unlikely stories told as fact," those latter two categories having particularly creatively told tales.  One gem is "Stilt Stock Stampede," which is said to be based on an accident during an ostrich stampede in 1914. Johnson dedicates this poem to "the brothers Cook"; Jim Cook is the "Official State Liar of Arizona," who she writes "has graciously suspended his Liar's commission when supplying information for this book."  Other fun poems in this section include "Cyclone Bill's Big Windy" and "Swap Me a Biscuit."

There's a glimpse of Johnson's own history in several poems in the "Later History: 20th Century" chapter.  A poignant note after her poem "Two Old Hash Knife Cowboys," about two kind old hands who told her stories and were an audience for her cowboy songs when she was a girl, tells "Much later I learned that [one] had explained his kindness to me with these words: "Poor little devil; she ain't got no mama."

The multi-talented  Johnson (also known as "Buckshot Dot") is a recipient of the AWA's Best Female Poet award) and is a sought-after performer, singer, and artist. The book includes her distinctive scratch board illustrations, many inspired by historical photographs and with subjects as varied as Wyatt Earp, Sharlot Hall, and the Yuma Indians of 1800.

For reciters, there are some "performance cut" versions of a number of poems, particularly crafted for stage delivery. Those interested in  history will be further gratified by the well-researched timelines, footnotes, maps and bibliography. Others who simply appreciate good writing and engaging tale spinning will be equally pleased with this large collection of entertaining tales in verse. This is one of those lasting volumes that you can give as a gift to most anyone, and one that you'll be glad to have in your own library.

Review by Margo Metegrano, Editor, CowboyPoetry.com

Arizona Herstory: Tales from Her Storied Past, hardcover,  is available for $24.45 postpaid from:

Dee Strickland Johnson
7852 N. Toya Vista Drive
Payson, AZ 85541
(928) 474-8305
www.buckshotdot.com

 

 

 

Also from Buckshot Dot:

 

The First Roundup by Buckshot Dot  
First Roundup (Book, CD, and cassette).  Read more at Buckshot Dot's Mercantile.


Cowman's Wife by Buckshot Dot
Cowman's Wife; Western Ballads (her first book).  Read more at Buckshot Dot's Mercantile.


 

Buckshot Dot Live at Pioneer Arizona (video).  Read more at Buckshot Dot's Mercantile.


  Buckaroo Bonanza, with 15 original songs (CD).  Read more at Buckshot Dot's Mercantile.


And something wonderful and, completely different:

  The Unquiet Grave and other British Ballads. Originally made in about 1976 when her husband John was working at the Ozark Folk Center and she and her children were appearing nightly, it includes 11 hauntingly beautiful songs:

Fair Margaret And Sweet William
The Unquiet Grave 
Sir Patrick Spence   
Cockleshells (Waly, Waly)  
Love Is Teasin'  
Fine Flowers Of The Valley   
The Greenwood Sidie O   
The Three Ravens  
The Twa Corbies  
The Three Crows   
Mary Hamilton  

The liner notes include details for each track, and also say, "Love and death, the most common themes of British ballads, provide powerful dramatic potential for the spinning of tales--especially when intertwined.  The late Dr. John Quincy Wolf, Southwestern at Memphis folklorist, described a ballad as, among other things, 'a narrative story employing ellipsis.'  He explained that through the pruning of unessential detail, these orally transmitted stories have become honed and polished to the fine gems we find them today.  Any would-be balladeer should savor the pleasure of choosing from Francis James Child's assorted versions of a song (English and Scottish Popular Ballads, 1882-1898) a favorite to make his own."

The CD is available for $16.50 postpaid from Buckshot Dot Enterprises, HC 3 Box 593-F, Payson, Arizona  85541 and from her web site:  www.BuckshotDot.com.

Contacting Buckshot Dot

Buckshot Dot's web site includes poems, her performance schedule, her books and CDs, and more.

Buckshot Dot Enterprises
7852 N. Toya Vista Drive
Payson, AZ 85541
(928) 474-8305
www.buckshotdot.com

 

Special Message

It's been one very long, difficult road for Dee Strickland Johnson (Buckshot Dot) and her family.  On August 5th, 2002, their youngest son Tim had a devastating auto accident on his way home from seeing his mother perform at the Big Bear gathering. Since then Tim's been hospitalized, and there have been many ups and downs for Tim and for Dee and her family. Dee and her husband moved from their just-new retirement home to be close to Tim, and have spent their savings for his care and rehabilitation.

Daughter Becky, who maintains Dee's beautiful web site, has a letter about what has transpired.  Please read it here, as the situation could not be explained any better.  There are also links on that page where you can leave a message for the family.

 

 

 

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