About David Althouse
Cowboy Christmas Carol
For a hard-bitten ol' cowpoke like me a Christmas ain't always merry;
I've spent most of 'em a-ridin' fences, a-sleepin' in line cabins out on the prairie.
So for most a my hard life the spirit of Christmas did not abide within my heart.
How I come to possess the spirit is the story I hafta impart.
Tha year was '87 and I was a-follerin' doggie trails,
A-drinkin' rot gut whiskey to forget about my life's travails.
Ih was two days from the line cabin, at a far off lonely place,
A-roundin' up some strays, the snow whippin' crost my face.
Night came of a-suddin' so's I bedded down to rest,
A tin can full o' hot coffee a-restin' crost my chest.
Of a-suddin' I heard somthin' a-flutterin' down from the skies.
I taken a closer look an I couldn't believe my eyes.
It looked to be some kind o' Christmas Angel from the first I did suspect,
What with all the sugar plums a-hangin' 'round 'er neck.
Holly laced 'er halo an' lustrous pearls adorned 'er wings,
An' 'er sweet little silver bell voice was a-trillin' little ting-a-ling-a-lings.
"Cast away your fears, cowboy," she says, "I'm an Angel sent from on High,
And I'm here to do the bidding of the Great Trail Boss in the Sky."
Dadgumit she talked! She's a bonafide Angel fer shore!
Was I'a-goin' feral or was it that bad hooch I drank the night afore?
"It isn't the whiskey," she says, a-readin' my mind.
"You don't even know it cowboy, but it's Christmas time."
She had me dead to rights on that one, an' it caused me much chagrin,
Causin' the last time Ih partook a Christmas was back in ... heck, I don't know when.
"Why, thar ain't no time fer Christmas out 'ere Angel," I says. "It's absolut' absurd.
I've got fences to mend an' orn'ry doggies to git back to the herd!"
She says, "You've sunk lower than the wild beasts, lower than a longhorn steer,
For even the furry animals keep Christmas once a year."
"Critters a-keepin' Christmas?" I says. "Now this I gotta see!"
"Very well, cowboy," she says. "Come fly the night sky with me."
Well my eyes got as big as poker chips when flyin' she did suggest.
"Just take hold of my arm, cowboy," she says, "and I'll do the rest."
To a quiet faraway meadow we flew, to a lonely stand o' pines,
An' when I looked down a'neath them trees I was in fer a big surprise.
Fer a-layin' thar a'neath them trees all cuddled up on the ground,
Was ever' kind o' furry critter anywhere to be found.
Rabbits, squirrels, birds and deer all a-layin' in one spot,
With a coyote, wolf and mountain lion a-standin' guard over the entire lot.
She says, "They're huddled together because the spirit of Christmas fills the air."
"Mebbe so," I says, "But them smaller critters should be a-scampin' outa thar!"
"They've nothing of which to worry," she says. "Peace fill their hearts upon this night."
"Whatever ya thank," I says, " but they'd best make dust afore first light."
Yet, as I beheld this miracle, I recollect I shed some tears,
A-rememberin' all the wasted Christmases of my long-gone yesteryears.
I vowed I'd do thangs different, that I'd make another start,
That ever' day I had left I'd keep Christmas merry in my heart.
Then I gave thanks to this 'ere Angel fer a-savin' me from my demise.
She just smiled an angelic smile then she a-fluttered back up to the skies.
A-many a year has passed since I beheld that angelic sight,
An' I've tried to keep the promise I made to her upon that night.
Now I'm proud to herd these doggies, an watch over 'em with all I know --
Like extry hay fer the runt calves, when it's a-freezin' an' a-blowin' snow.
And now I'm thankful that I'm a cowboy, a-roamin' the trails a-wild an' free,
A-watchin' over these orn'ry doggies like the Great Trail Boss a-watches over me.
© 2004, David Althouse
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.
Read David Althouse's
Christmas Night in Big Elk Country posted with Christmas 2008 poems
Christmas Out Here posted in our 2007 Christmas Art Spur
Christmas in Cimarron Country posted with Christmas 2007 poems
Cowboy Pirate of the Rio Grande: A Christmas Treasure Tale, posted with Christmas 2006 poems
Believin' a White Christmas Inta Bein' posted with Christmas 2003 poems
The Night Before the Jackalopes Saved Christmas, posted with Christmas 2005 poems
About David Althouse:
David Althouse grew up in the Ouachita Mountain country of eastern Oklahoma -- riding, hunting, fishing, hiking, and camping. He also spent an inordinate amount of time listening to good yarns, most of which were either liberal twists of the truth or just out-and-out lies. David says, "I've had an appreciation for the written and spoken word for as far back as I can remember. I especially love the literature that speaks of the American West - its history, characters, literature, natural beauty, and romance."
David is a 1987 graduate of Oklahoma State University, where he crammed a four-year degree into about seven and one half years. While there, he studied history and politics, and wrote for the campus newspaper, The Daily O'Collegian. One of his most favorite memories from those days is an interview he had with Mrs. Millicent Miller, a Stillwater, Oklahoma native, and Vivien Leigh's double in Gone With the Wind.
David has written numerous magazine articles dealing with the Confederate Indians of the old Indian Territory, and his writing on a variety of topics has appeared in newspapers throughout Oklahoma. David loves writing cowboy poetry as much as reading it, and is constantly looking for inspiration for that next poem.
David resides in Yukon, Oklahoma with his wife, Patrice, and his two daughters, Kellory and Chloe.
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