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CONNIE ROSSIGNOL
Tome, New Mexico
Connie Rossignol's web site
About Connie Rossignol

Connie at the New Mexico State Fair

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

 

Stampede Strings

I’m ashamed to admit but I always thought that
They were, well, kinda silly -- them strings on yer hat.

Almost none of us rides all that hard nowadays
“Ceptin’ maybe the ones what still rides for their pay.

Besides, if a hat fits ya, it shouldn’t come off.
It should take a twister to launch it aloft.

I saw stampede strings as a small affectation
Used mostly for looks to maintain reputation.

So I never wore ‘em, me bein’ a cynic,
Then one day while ridin’ a mulemanship clinic

Somethin’ just happened that turned me around.
A friend of mine’s hat left his head and flew down

Til it lit ‘neath the nose of his big molly mule.
She snorted, set back and quite promptly left school.

Her ears went to twitchen her eyes rolled around
When she bowed up her back all four feet left the ground

Right down the arena she bucked and crow hopped
On into the chutes where she finally got stopped

But not before leavin’ my friend in the dirt
Where his pride and backside was both quite rightly hurt.

That set me to thinkin’, and I figured out that
I might not bet my neck on the fit of my hat!

And I guess I got company cause next thing I seen
Was most a my friends sportin’ new stampede strings.

Connie Rossignol
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


This poem goes out to anyone who ever asked, "What in the world do you want with a donkey?"

In Defense of Donkeys   

I've bailed off 'a horses and bucked off 'a mules
Been stove up and fed up. I'm wantin' new rules!

So I hitched up my trailer and gassed up my truck
Went and bought me a donkey, I'm changin' my luck!

See, a donkey descends from a sensible lot.
Snorty and snuffy or broncy he's not.

He gives each situation no more than it's due.
He's cautious and careful. He thinks a thing through.

A donkey is calm where a horse comes apart.
Why, even a mule’s only half as smart!

But beware: He's a tough and shrewd character judge.
If he finds you unworthy, why, he just won't budge!

And hold to yur temper, or Mr. Long-ears will hold you a hostage.
(You'll be there for years.)

'Cause he takes no truck with the volatile sort.
You think you can force him? HA! Don't sell him short!

But prove he can trust you. Be patient and fair...
And a better trail pardner ain't found anywhere!

He'll pack you through country that's brushy and rough.
Might even cross creeks (If he likes you enough.)

So just pay no mind to them horse and mule folks.
When they laugh and poke fun. Let 'em tell their "ass'' jokes.

'Cause your day is comin'.  Be certain!  It will!
Maybe crossin' a ridge or ASScending a hill.

When something will spook 'em. Some trivial matter
Will cause `em to blow up, get wall-eyed and scatter.

They'll unload their riders and packs, flatten fences.
A coffee pot rattles and the buckin' commences.

Now all this just might catch your donkey off guard
But he won't run real fast and he won't go too far.

Most likely he'll startle, then walk on real quiet.
A' leavin behind all that wreckage and riot.

Oh, they’ll get 'em gathered and drug into camp
Their eggs will be busted, their bedrolls all damp.

Meanwhile, you've had your supper. Your bed will be dry.
You'll watch the repairs, then ask with a sigh...

Why would anyone deal with so much grief and care
When a better trail pardner ain't found anywhere.

Than this faithful feller a' standin' right here
A' eatin' your shirt while you're scratchin' his ear.

That was some wreck today! But he went on despite it!
You smile. Why a donkey? Why NOT is more like it!

Connie Rossignnol
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 



Connie and her husband Rick on a couple of their jackstock

 

Unfortunately Connie found the need to write an Addendum to that last poem just several weeks later after she pulled a blue ribbon for Donkey Bronc Riding at out local Country Fair.



Addendum to "In Defense of Donkeys"

I know that I swore in a verse here-to-fore
As how a donkey could end your travails
I stand by it still for he can and he will....
But I might 'a left out some details.

I'd heard tell that donkeys "just don't never buck"
An boy, that was music to me!
But I started to doubt as a friend marked one out
When her hat scraped up under a tree.

A bunch of us seen it, but we put it to rest
As an historic event -- somethin' rare.
At least that's what I guessed ... What we all would atest
Til Valencia's All-County Fair.

It started out fine.  I even got there on time!
And we done good in "Halter" at first.
But come "Western Pleasure" and my long-eared treasure
Just run off and acted her worst.

So I asked for the gate and decided to wait.
I'd just watch for the time that remained.
That's how it got going', without even knowin'
The set for my peril was staged.

"We'll all run the barrels," they started to plot,
"Why - we won't even care if we run."
"Just lope 'em or trot 'em or walk 'em -- whatever!"
"We'll all go -- It'll just be for fun."

Now I had neither britchin' nor crupper attached
As I figured we'd be on the flat.
I thought we'd be fine, just to ride on a line...
Why what could cause trouble with that?

Pretty soon come our turn the barrels to burn
They opened the gate and we went!
We turned the first can but we swung a wide span
Amidst much detour and dissent.

When we reached number 2 we swung it wide - - true
But closer by 5 or 10 foot.
Went 'round number 3, figured we were home free
Just point 'er right straight down the chute!

By now I feel lucky - - and a little bit plucky
Why I just might yet have a hope!
I over'd an' under'd and wonder of wonders
She picked up and did strike a lope!

I was beamin' with pride - then on the third stride ...
I kinda felt somethin' go wrong.
Would ya know?  Just my luck!  She started to buck
Which delighted the now cheering throng!

As I recollect, the start of the wreck
Was somewhere in front of the stands.
She pitched past two light-poles, a few startled souls
Past the judge and the soda pop man.

Past the announcers box she sorta got stopped
And I was prepared to dismount...
But the saddle, by heck!  Was clean up on 'er neck!
Though I stepped off I still hit the ground.

I must add to that I never did lose my hat
So I guess you could say I rode through
As I left by the gate, I asked Jane to wait
I said "Build me a britchin!  Build two!"

'Make a long story short, I'd like to report
That they gave me a ribbon right there!
For it was decided I'd won donkey bronc ridin'!
At Valencia's All County Fair!

They say "donks seldom buck" well, that's fair enough,
Though I'm here to tell you one tried
So the folks that said seldom, now, they told the truth
But that guy what said "never".... He lied!

Connie Rossignnol
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 


Connie on her jenny Gracie at the Valencia County Fair

 

For Paul and Lisa
On the Occasion of Your Weddin'       


A weddin's just the start 'a two folks throwin' in together.
A joinin' of two outfits into one to last forever.

It's fittin' there should be a grand occasion to recall,
A day to be remembered, 'cause I mean afterall...

You're promisin' to be there for each other, and to stay
Through sick or well, or rich or poor, through worse or better days.

You've harnessed up to be a team that won't be split nor switched.
An' a weddin' hooks the heel chains, (it's why they call it 'gettin' hitched"!)

A marriage is the harness that will help you pull together.
It keeps you workin' as a team when there's a storm to weather.

Like times you feel discouraged or bad luck has got you caught,
When better's worse an' worse is -- well -- a lot worse than you thought!

But marriage, just like harness, takes some care to keep it strong.
Neglect it or abuse it, an' it just don't last as long.

You gotta keep it flexible 'an watch for signs of wear,
Like where it might be crackin' or thin places here an' there.

If you don't fix them little things, a harness comes apart
When the goin's deep and heavy or the load is hard to start.

That's when it hits you sudden, throws the whole thing up on end!
An' there's times a busted harness can be just too broke to mend.

But get a good 'un from the first, then keep it clean and strong,
An' even with some wear and tear, it lasts a whole life long.

So, today it's a brand new harness, for a team that looks to pull
An' lean hard into the collar, for a life that's rich an' full!

Connie Rossignnol
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

 

 

Do Real Cowgirls Eat Soy?   

Do real cowgirl's eat soy? she asked, sashayin' by my desk
She addressed me 'cross her "smoothie." "I don't know", I said, "I guess."

Since I ain't no real cowgirl, I cain't say I really know
An' my saddle pals that's cowgirl's, ain't no tellin' how they'd go.

But her question got me thinkin' that it might not be all bad,
Eatin' soybean stuff might save some work and ease things up a tad.

You wouldn't have to rope soybeans an' drag em to the fire.
To brand an' vaccinate 'em or treat hoof rot an' pink eye

And you wouldn't have to round 'em up in fall for caster-ratin'
'Course then there wouldn't be no calf fries, crispy hot & waitin'

Still -- soybeans take some water and you'd have to fight the weeds
But then again, no bulls to pen or dogied calves to feed

And I hear when you cook soy stuff up it stays all nice and tender
I also hear it tastes just like your tongue hung out the winder ...

But there's still nothin' sayin that a cowgirl buckaroo
might not set down an' have herself a big bowl of tofu

And I won't make a judgment - you can't tell until you've tried
So I think I'll just have ME some - ya'll make mine chicken fried!

Connie Rossignnol
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

 

 

A Matchin' Team
 
(For the Martins)

There's a fella in the mule club,
Scott Martin is his name,
An' makin' a hand at everything
Has been his claim to fame.

He'll step up on the rankest bronc
Just like he doesn't care,
Then sit there just as comfortable
As in a rockin' chair.

Now, I'd expect a bronc to snort
An' buck a jump or two,
But Scott expects 'em to behave
An' so they mostly do!

I've never seen him in a jam
Much less in any wreck,
But last month at the playday,
He dern near was, by heck!

He had a team of real nice mules.
They looked like white to me,
Turns out they looked like white alright,
But they was also green.

Now Scott was gonna show the folks
How mules was used to farm
An' thought he'd spice it up a bit...
That don't do any harm.

He had a mammoth gelding there
That he had worked a bit,
An' broke to ride an' drive right well.
That was the start of it.

Then, Scott, he got to thinkin'
What might spark some inter-est
Was somethin' kinda different...
Like hitchin' three abreast.

The mules had pulled the disc before
And they seemed pretty steady,
Though it was new to that red donk'
Scott figured he was ready.

He harnessed up out in the grass,
One mule on either side
And hitched the red donk in between.
They stood like they was tied.

Scott lined 'em out and drove 'em
To the arena past the gate,
Then backed 'em easy to the disc
An' things were lookin' great.

He hooked 'em up real quiet,
Then he asked 'em to move off.
That's when it all got cross-ways,
Largely 'cause 'a that red donk'.

The heel chains went to rattlin'
An' the disc to creak an' groan,
A few steps with that three-up
An' the donk lit out fer home!

The white mules, in a panic,
Figured they would go as well.
'Cause if this thing scared a donkey
It must be the disc from hell!

Now, just when things couldn't get no worse
'Least that's what I was hopin'
Them three looked South an' saw
That the arena gate was open!

We all tried hard to get there
But it weren't to be our fate.
That three-up made a bee-line
An' went right out the gate!

They ran, that disc a' bouncin',
An' the lines all which-a-ways,
In between the rigs an' pick-ups...
(Never touched a one, they say!)

Ole Scott was right behind 'em
Runnin' 'long the off mule's hip.
He made a grab for the trailin' lines...
That's when I saw him slip.

He disappeared below the fence
While the hitch run down the end
An' I come around plumb scared
I'd find Scott Martin julienne!!

But Scott had fallen clear a' the disc,
An' though the line had dropped,
Him an' three other fellas finally
Up an' got 'em stopped.

Looked like some harness busted
An' a singletree come loose,
But Scott patched it up an' showed the folks
A team in farmin' use.

The red donk' was still lookin'
For another chance to run
But Scott an' them three fellas
Weren't about to give him one!

When it was done, I found Ole Scott,
He looked at me an' smiled.
Said, "I believe that just might
Give me some trouble for a while."

An' now if you's to ask him,
"Scott, was that a matchin' team?"
He'd prob'ly say, "I guess they was...
All three a' them was green!"

Connie Rossignnol
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

Connie's friend Camilla gave us some introduction to this poem: Recently Connie's disabled daughter's jenny, Ol Beck, went through a couple of bouts of pretty bad colic.  Doc Bowman went the extra mile to see this jenny come thru and called around the country to get information on this particular type of colic.

Ol Beck is a treasure and carries Connie's daughter, Eve, around safe as can be and acts like she's carrying the crown jewels.  It would have been heart breaking and a real awful loss to lose that grand old jenny.  Doc Bowman knew it and put his all into this case.


Thanks, Doc    


Now, them that works at doctorin'--
Why-- they're a noble lot.
They ease the pain an' sufferin'
All humankind has got.

He helps the countless livin' things
That struggle through this life
Without the words to tell what hurts,
Or share the pain and strife.

He treats their cuts and broken bones,
And tends their coughs and colds.
He eases birthin' for the young,
An passin' for the old.

With quiet words and gentle hands
He goes about his trade,
Prob'ly never even knowin'
All the diff'rence that he's made.

He studies just as long and hard
As any human's doc,
An' nights on call are just as tough
A'  tendin' to our stock.

He don't wear Gucci loafers,
An' his coat aint crisp an' white.
It's insulated coveralls
When he's called out at night!

Sure aint no valet parkin'
For a sports car out in back--
Just a place to put the pick-up
Out there by the hitchin' rack.

The "Mini-Maids" don't come around
To clean his office floor,
Just loyal staff to hose 'er down
An' sweep stuff out the door!

His job don't come with status,
It's plumb lackin' in prestige--
But to us an' all our critters
He's a saint in Wrangler jeans!

2002, Connie Rossignol
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

 

Thanks, Dr. Bowman, to you and all your staff.

                                                          Most Sincerely,

                                                                                    Connie

The use of "He" in this poem is in no way intended to slight all the dedicated women veterinarians and their unique contribution to the field.  It's only that the immediate inspiration for this poem was Dr. Marvin Bowman - who happens to be a man.
                                                                                      Connie
 

Read Connie Rossignol's Of Donkeys and Reindeer 
posted in the 2002 Holiday poems 2002 collection.

 

 

About Connie Rossignol:

Connie's Resume

I ain’t a cowboy poet
As any fool can see.
for though I pen a verse or two
I’m just a “wanna be.”

I haven’t ever built a loop
Or pressed an iron to hide,
And if I say I’m ridin’ fence
It means I can’t decide!

Still, I ain’t completely ignorant
About the rural scene.
I’ve slopped some hogs and hoed some corn
And chopped some collard greens.

As a kid we had electric lights
But as far as takin’ a bath -
The tub was #3 galvanized
The toilet down the path.

I’ve pumped and hauled some water
And one more thing’s for sure,
I’ve seen my share of dust and sweat
And moved my share of manure.

But all my dreams of ranch life
Were just castles in a cloud
‘Cause we were just too gol-dern poor
To ever buy a cow.

A horse was out of the question
As long as your feet still worked,
Or a pickup truck could pull a stump
And hold up to the jerk!

While folks said I’d outgrown it
I kept hopin’ all along
Til I passed my 40th birthday
When I figured they were wrong.

Though I’d never work for the 6’s,
I did my own best thing --
And took a job with a dude outfit
Wranglin’ the gentle string

‘Course, I didn’t start a’ horseback
I had to pay my dues,
And learn at the end of a manure fork
The dude string “p’s” and “q’s.”

I kept my place and listened
And started guidin’ rides,
Then come my very proudest day --
I’d just brung in the line...

When a crusty older cowboy
Walked up and spit in the sand.
Then wiped his moustache on his sleeve
And said, “Gal, you’ve made a hand.”

Well I don’t work that job no more,
And I never worked a ranch.
But I live on a little ol’ piece of ground
Where I finally got the chance

To grow a little alfalfa,
And keep jackstock that I ride.
That’s why handlin’ hay an’ longears
Inspires nearly all my rhymes.

So the title “Cowboy Poetry”
Might not apply to mine.
Instead of a “poet lariat”
I’m a poet “ass-inine”.

And if why I’d ride a “jackass”
Makes you laugh and wonder some-
I can tell you just exactly why...
But that’s another poem.

Connie Rossignnol
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

Connie lives in Tome', NM on about 10 acres with her husband Rick and daughter Eve.  Connie is a Nurse Practitioner by profession at the University of New Mexico's gynecology clinic and also grows some great grass and alfalfa hay for sale on her property.  She worked for some time as a Wrangler and has also been heavily involved in a handicapped riding program.  She now owns a small herd of jackstock which she rides and drives and one old blind horse. Connie has been published in The Brayer Magazine, The Horseman's Voice Magazine and several newspapers all due to her friends sending her poems off. She is going to get out there whether she likes it or not it seems!

Connie's poems were first sent to us by her friend Camilla, who has also designed a web site for Connie.

 

 

 

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