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Tucson, Arizona
About Eldon Housley
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Jake's First Big Transaction

Me and Jacob and Buster
Headed out to the auction one day.
Took all the resolve I could muster
'cause we really should be cuttin' hay.

The barn is gettin' near empty,
We're down to a ton and a half,
But Jacob is sure he can tempt me
Into buying a new bucket calf.

He said "Papa it's gettin' near summer,
I'll be out of school in two weeks.
Sittin' 'round for three months is a bummer,
'less you're one of those summer school geeks."

I allowed how his plan had some merit,
Though a bucket calf can be a real pain.
Hey, it's better than raising a ferret.....
That last one drove Buster insane.

The stockyards were buzzin' with action,
Buyers and sellers abound.
One guy offered a speedy transaction
If I'd sell him my Queensland Blue hound.

Jake says: "He's a good one for sure and a smart one,
But it'd take more than two and a half.
'sides, the reason we've come to the auction's
Not to sell but to buy a new calf."

Well he said, "Why didn't you say so,
I brought one to run through the sale.
His mamma died two weeks ago,
He has to be fed from a pail."

Jake says: "What'll you take for him mister,
I prob'ly can pay what he's worth,
Or, maybe I'll trade you my sister,
Been tryin' to trade her off since birth."

"Why, you're just a reg'lar horse trader,
Prob'ly got money stuck down in your boot.
What are you 'bout a first-grader?
I expect you've got lots of loot."

He said "I was hopin' he'd bring at least 52 cents
And he'll weigh about sixty or so.
I'd just as soon sell him to the two of you gents
If you can come up with the dough.

Jake pulls out a quarter, a nickel and dime,
Says "Forty's the best I can do."
The old man laughed, winked at me and said "fine
Son, that bucket calf's now owned by you."

Jake turns and says "Papa, I bought us a calf,
But I surely won't give in to greed.
We've always been partners, you'll get a full half,
...All you have to buy is the feed."

2006, Eldon Housley  
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Eldon told us: When Jacob was about three and a half years old, I started taking him with me to the cattle auction. We might be buying or selling roping steers, or we might just be going to the auction because Jacob liked to go. He would sit there for an hour and a half just watching the cattle come in, listening to the auctioneer and watching them go out the out gate. He would ask a question now and then but mostly he just watched in fascination. He was so little he couldn't say "auction," he'd say "Papa, when can we go to the 'aushkin?'"  This is a story about one of our trips to the 'aushkin'.

The Buckskin Mare

Me and Jacob and Buster
Were tracking a Buckskin Mare.
We had her caught,
Or so we thought,
Then she disappeared into thin air.

We had her trapped in Box Canyon,
There's just one way in and one out.
She's smart as a whip,
Somehow gave us the slip,
We passed right by her no doubt.

We've followed her now and been on her trail
For the better part of a week.
Each time we get near,
She will just disappear,
By losing her tracks in a creek.

It's hard to beleive she's really that smart
Tho the evidence points that direction.
She'll wade in a stream
For miles it would seem,
She's got losing us down to perfection.

It's been two years since Jake first saw that mare
And swore that he'd make her his own.
He'll brand her and break her,
Or else meet his Maker,
We ain't leavin' 'til we get that mare home.

Today at first light, Buster started to whine,
He's lookin' off into the trees.
Somewhere out there
Lies that Buckskin Mare,
Buster picked up her scent on the breeze.

Jake picked up his lasso and started to creep
Toward the cover of an old mossy log.
Then he motioned to me,
Move behind the tree,
And he whispered to "Call off the dog."

I snapped my fingers and Buster came back
But the hair on his neck stood on end.
There's something out there,
If it isn't the mare,
I doubt very much it's a friend.

Jacob started to crawl to the edge of the trees
And ol' Buster just came unglued.
My knees started knockin',
A cougar was stalkin'
Jake like he's some kind of food.

Jake turned just in time to see that cat crouch,
We knew he was ready to pounce.
Ol' Buster broke loose,
But it was no use,
He's tough but that ain't all that counts.

I grabbed for my rifle and turned just in time
To see that cat fly through the air.
As he sailed toward his prey,
He was met half-way,
By that larger than life Buckskin Mare.

Where that mare came from I have no idea
But she sure as heck saved Jake's behind.
With her squealin' and kickin',
That cougar turned chicken,
She got us all out of a bind.

When the dust finally cleared, Jake laid down his rope,
That mare sniffed the back of his hand.
He gave her his word,
She'd never be spurred,
And she'd never wear any man's brand.

As she turned to go, Jake gave her a pat,
Said "this ain't how I thought it would end.
I lost a good ride,
But I know deep inside,
What I gained is a new life long friend."

We see her once or twice a year
Whenever we're out riding fences.
All the boys are aware...
If you mess with Jake's mare....
You'll be facing some dire consequences.

2006, Eldon Housley  
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Eldon told us:  Whenever I recite this poem, invariably someone in the audience will come to me afterward and ask "Is that a true story about the Buckskin Mare?" While it draws from several different experiences in my life, I usually just smile and say, "All cowboy poems contain a thread of truth."



About Eldon Housley:

Cowboy Poet/Country Singer

Eldon Housley grew up on a farm/ranch on the edge of the Sandhills in Southwest Nebraska. Like most boys and girls, his "heroes have always been cowboys." He started riding horses before he was old enough to remember and broke his first bronc when he was twelve years old. (He's broken a few bones along the way as well.)

Eldon's grandfather bought him his first guitar when he was nine years old. Like a lot of cowboy singers he never really had any formal training, just a love of music and a pretty good ear.

A love of horses and the cowboy way helped him work his way through college (University of Nebraska) by shoeing and training horses. By the time he graduated with a degree in Education, he was making more money shoeing horses than he could teaching school.

An avid horseman and team roper, Eldon began writing cowboy poetry that always includes his grandson Jacob and his cow dog named "Buster." His ranching, horseshoeing and team roping experience, plus his love of history and the old west, provides an abundance of material for his stories in rhyme.

In August 2006, Eldon performed at the Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering in Prescott, Arizona. Also in August he was invited to compete in "the world's only Cowboy Poet Rodeo" in Kanab, Utah, earning third place monies in two divisions. In September he was a featured poet at the Gila Valley Cowboy Poets Gathering in Safford, Arizona, and performs weekly at the White Stallion Ranch outside of Tucson.

While relatively new to the world of cowboy poetry, Eldon is fast becoming a favorite at campfires, cookouts and cowboy gatherings.



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