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Abilene, Kansas
About Janet Yocum



Grandpa's Mighty Steed

I'm going to recount this story about
My Grandpa and Grandma G.
They were two of the nicest grandparents
You would ever want to see.

The both of them were often amusing
In that I am not lying.
Grandpa and Gran could strike your funny bone
Without so much as trying.

Being caught in comic situations
Was quite often grandpa's fate,
But the funny punch lines came from comments
Loudly voiced by Grandpa's mate.

Grandpa had an affection for horses
Dating back to days of youth,
So he bought a "gentle" colt from a man
That just might have bent the truth.

Grandpa headed off to the horse trainer
With his colt and tack in tow
With visions of riding that mighty steed,
Like in days of long ago.

After many weeks of anxious waiting
The horse trainer called to say,
"The colt is ready to do your bidding,
From now on he will obey."

We climbed into the truck, all four of us,
Gramps, Gran, my brother and me,
And away we went to retrieve Gramp's horse
Singing songs a bit off-key.

Grandpa could hardly wait to see what feats
The horse trainer had performed.
He examined his horse, then told us all,
"This rebel has been transformed."

The trainer sprang up into the saddle
With such grace and easiness.
That the beast was now a docile old nag
Was just what we all did guess.

When he rode the horse out through the pasture
Grandpa slapped his leg with glee.
As he trotted meekly around the fence
Gramps said, "Looks gentle to me."

The trainer called out, "Who wants to be next,
To try their luck on this steed?"
Gramps stepped to the front and hollered, "My turn,"
And to that we all agreed.

He mounted the horse, just like an old pro,
With a big smile on his face,
But from then on in, it was all down hill
The horse did a change of pace.

The colt took off, heading north at a run,
Gramps smile was no longer there.
If he could only stay astride that thing,
We all said a silent prayer.

Gramps had his hand on the top of his head
Clinging to his old straw hat.
Gran said "Why that old fool, he's showing off.
Now why is he doing that?"

Staying on top the horse, and saving face,
Was now Grandpa's greatest plight,
But just as they reached the end of the fence
The horse turned left—Gramps turned right.

Gramps got up from the ground, brushed off his pants
Then said, with a sheepish grin,
"I think he'll be just a tad bit smoother
As soon as he gets broke-in."

We all loaded up and started for home,
But the maverick stayed behind.
Gramps said with just a little more polish
That young colt would be just fine.

When we reached the ranch Grandpa disappeared
With paint brush, hammer and nail.
Next day on the fence post hung a big sign
It read, "Gentle Horse For Sale."

© 2007, Janet Yocum
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Janet comments: "Grandpa's Mighty Steed" is a true story about my dad, who passed away in 1983. I grew up in a family of 5 children, and so many unbelievably, hilarious things happened to us in those growing up years. I always said I was going to write a book about us, but instead, I decided to record our escapades in poetry form. "Grandpa's Mighty Steed" is one of those stories.



Pop and Mrs. Mason

This is about my Pop and our neighbor Mrs. Mason.
I'll explain it without delays.
Mrs. Mason was a kind and sweet old wider' lady,
Who lived just down the road aways.

Don't assume Pop and the wider' were sweet on each other,
I know just what's fillin' your mind.
That kindly old neighbor lady was ninety-two years old,
So those thoughts, you can keep confined.

On the ranch, Pop always kept a couple of old milk cows,
And we had lots of milk to spare.
Each Monday morning "Ms." Mason came, sometimes before dawn,
For milk, that with her, Pop would share.

Back in those days, a lock on the door of anyone's house,
Just simply, would never be found.
The only kind of burglar alarm found on most ranches
Was the bay of a lazy old hound.

Well, one Monday morning, Mrs. Mason came as usual,
And let herself into our house.
She could tell by the silence, Pop was not yet out of bed,
So she sat there quiet as a mouse.

To see where this story is heading, you must understand
The night clothes Pop wore to retire.
They were not something you'd find in a fashion magazine
With Calvin Klein's sleeping attire.

He wore a very old pair of long handle underwear
That had gapping holes in the knees,
And there was one missing button on the trap on the back,
So one side just flapped in the breeze.

Pop came moseying down the stairs, nothing more on his mind
Than the coffee he planned to prepare
As he rounded the corner at the bottom of the steps
"Guess who?" was waiting in the chair.

Pop spun on his heels, and took off at a run for the stairs,
Gripping the mischievous flap.
Mrs. Mason jumped up from the chair, and let out a howl,
Like a coyote caught in a trap.

Our lazy old hound started bayin', the chickens were squawkin',
and the barn cats flew straight up a tree.
By this time, everybody in the house was wide awake,
And the wider' was fixin' to flee.

Mom calmed us all down, sent Mrs. Mason home with her milk,
And this won't happen anymore.
Cause now, we have the only house in Dickinson County
With a six inch barn hook on our door.

© 2007, Janet Yocum
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Janet told us, "I enjoy writing poetry about things that have actually happened in my life. This poem is another true story (with a little window dressing to try to make it funnier) about my dad that took place when I was a kid—I won't say how many years ago. Funny things just always seemed to happen to Pop, and
if he were still living, he would be laughing right along with us."


Ol' Shep, Pete, Annie and Lee

Lee was ranching with his dad in the Flinthills
     Back in nineteen eighty-two,
When he decided to strike out on his own
     Like young cowboys often do.

He loaded up his pickup truck
     With his clothes and working gear,
And hit the road for better things
     In the spring time of that year.

Lee spent two years in a Texas oilfield
     Working on a pipeline crew,
At night he roamed the local bars
     Drinking beer with friends he knew.

Then he met Annie on the beach one day
    He was there to have some fun,
Lee knew from the moment he met that gal
    His wondering days were done.
Lee decided right then to return to the ranch
     That his dad had built with pride,
He wanted to prove he was now a man
     And show off his brand new bride.
His Dad always said it only took three things
     To make a man's life complete—
A good horse, faithful dog, and a loving wife,
      Even money can't compete.
 Annie took to the land with a passion
     Her love for it grew and grew,
Lee watched her run in the morning light
     Through wildflowers wrapped in dew.
His dad got sick and went to his maker
     Three years after they came home,
It made Lee regret those two lost years
     When he thought he had to roam.
Shep, they never knew where you came from
     Those many long years ago,
Annie found you down by the creek
     That winds through their ranch so slow.
You were just a little bit of a pup
     Full of burs, ragged and thin,
Lee could see it would be love at first sight
     By the size of Annie's grin.
But you learned real fast just what it takes
     To handle a cattle herd,
You could heel those cows into a working chute
     With a softly spoken word.
And Pete, you came along in late winter
     Foaled near the end of that same year,
You have proven your worth many times over
     As you helped Lee cut out a steer.
The four of them grew up together
     Through those young years fancy free,
They didn't have a care in the world,
     Ol' Shep, Pete, Annie and Lee.
They raised two children, a daughter and a son
     What a blessed life they have had,
Only one thing could have made them happier,
     If the kids could have known granddad.
When their time comes, they'll be laid to rest
     Underneath the old oak tree,
Where the song birds sing their peaceful songs
     And flowers grow wild and free.
Another generation will come and go
     One more branch on the family tree,
But the good memories will linger forever
     Of Ol' Shep, Pete, Annie and Lee.

© 2008, Janet Yocum
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Janet told us, "In the area where we live, good land sells at a premium price. In fact, it seldom goes on the market, because it is usually handed down to a son or daughter. This heritage is what inspired me to write this poem. What a wonderful legacy, to keep a ranch in the same family generation after generation."


About Janet Yocum:


My husband, Gary, and I have lived on a small ranch east of Abilene, Kansas for 38 years. We are both retired school teachers. Working with children
has helped us to realize how lucky our 3 children were to grow up in the great outdoors knowing the value of doing a good day's work, and being proud of it. Next to our 3 children and 7 grandchildren, our 5 horses are the highlight of our lives. I started writing cowboy poetry two years ago,
inspired by my nephew, Cowboy Poet Geff Dawson.



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