Cowboy Poetry and Music and More at the BAR-D Ranch

Madison, Wisconsin
About Jim Packard

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


Veteran radio announcer, producer, and host Jim Packard, well known for his part in Wisconsin Public Radio's popular Whad'Ya Know? program, died Monday, June 18, 2012.

There are many articles about the popular radio personality, including one here by Duane Dudek at JS Online.




Ode to Jesse James
            April 3, 1882

It was Dick Little that betrayed Jesse
He's been a traitor for some time
Had it not been for his actions
Jesse James might still be alive.

Jesse was 5 foot 8 and slender
Black-haired and deep blue-eyed
Dark brown suit and spotless shirt
Sun-burnt lower whiskers nestled alongside.

His wife was prepossessing
Also slender, fair of face
When Jesse took that bullet
She said he never deserved that fate.

The deal went down in St. Joe, MO
Bob Ford and brother Charlie got the drop
Young Bob pulled the trigger
They claimed an unjust reward. 

Jim Packard
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without permission.



I keep alive the memory of that first glance
When I saw your face in the mirror at the bar.
How did I get so lucky that night
To meet the drop-dead blonde under the evening star?

I could have ended up with a skillet full of snakes
Slithering rattlers with harsh voice and stingers
Instead, I got you.

Life's full of surprises
Peacocks wander among us
Whales seek their mates
You're the reason love can't be counterfeit or fake

It could have been a cowboy's nightmare,
Instead, I got you

Jim Packard
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without permission.


The Nightingale

She was young and pretty
A very attractive miss
So what was she doing singing
and playing in a saloon like this?

Cowboys at the tables
Cowboys at the bar
Starting to get rowdy
You know how cowboys are.

Let's hear something from the piano, boys
Play the one about the silver fox
Got to warm this crowd up
Before the songbird squawks.

Cowboys at the tables
Cowboys at the bar
Drumming with their hands and feet
You know how cowboys are.

Those boys were so delighted
Excitement at fever pitch
Glasses high, they started mooing
Shaking cowlike, scratching fence.

Cowboys on the tables
Cowboys on the bar
Going cowboy crazy
You know how those boys are.

She sang of kings, queens and courtiers
Men of every stripe, Gallant deeds and
Honor won, Fair maidens in their time.
Lyrics of redemption, no exemptions
Kept this cowboy crowd sublime.

Cowboys laughing at the tables
Cowboys whistling at the bar
Go whoopin' cowboy crazy
You know how cowboys are.

Jim Packard
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without permission.


Alabaster Face

I saw your face in the moon last night
Alabaster skin glowing neon bright
I lay dreaming, didn't hear a sound
Saddle for a pillow, sleeping on cold, hard ground

I dreamed you were close enough to pluck from the sky
I stood on my horse and gave it a try
I just couldn't stretch far enough
You were out of my grasp, proved just too tough

Your face, at first demure, then even coy
Your smile flirtatious in the night time sky
Moods changing and rearranging
As overpowering as fireworks on the 4th of July

Clouds finally obscured my view
A cotton puff layer rolling on a sea of blue
Should I believe what I dreamt was true
Because when I woke up, I hadn't a clue.

My mind raced in circles
My stomach in a stew
Am I doomed to wonder forever
Of the night I dreamed of you?

Jim Packard
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without permission.



The Anonymous Cowboy       
Dedicated to Michael Martin Murphey

I saw the rope twirl from his upraised hand
As the cowboy stared down a stray
The moss-backed longhorn was backing into the bramble
Where only deer and javelina play.

They stared with eyes locked on each other
Neither willing to spill his hand
Would the steer be willing to yield
Or must the cowboy force a stand.

This cedar-breaking maverick inched forward
Still the cowboy spun the rope
Finally the scalawag broke for a gully
Running on nothing but hope.

The lasso settled over the steer's horns and neck
As the runaway fell with a thud
That cow flipped sideways, then down to the ground
Its escape was nipped in the bud

If you ask this cowboy why he takes such risks
Never quits or whines and swallows sand
When he saddles up to go chase the herd
He's always riding for the brand.

2004, Jim Packard
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without  permission.


Packard's Poker Palooza   
(inspired by the Michaelpalooza tour)

I was the palooka in a game of Texas Hold'em
Didn't know the flop from the fiddlin' fold'em
After a few hands, I turned out to be a betting also-ran
Sandwiched between legends, Doyle Brunson and Johnny Chan.

I bluffed 'em and called'em, and shuffled my chips
Then I thought I won a hand when I hit trips
But my three of a kind got squashed by a flush
That belly buster got to me, it was a gut shot blush.

Doyle and Johnny bluffed me and scuffed me
And gave me a hard lesson for free
They dropped me on the bubble
I was left with nothin' for my trouble

Cleaned out in a freeze-out
A long shot trying to shout
I got the nuts, the best possible hand
But then a steal raise and  scramble lost another 10 grand.

So I have no more chips, my bankroll is done
Can't bet my horse, or even a gun
This old cowboy's going  where the game is still fair
I'll play 52 cards, Solitaire.

2005, Jim Packard
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without permission.

Jim told us, "This poem was inspired by a 12 day journey across the eastern United States by the cast and crew of "Michael Feldman's Whad'Ya Know?" this past June to celebrate our 20th Anniversary.  We did shows in Roanoke, VA; Harrisburg, PA; and Trenton, NJ and traveled by luxury motor coach, which was equipped with satellite TV.  I couldn't help but watch poker, poker, poker."


About Jim Packard:

My daddy was born in Coffee Creek, Montana, so I've always been partial to the West.  My grandpa was a ranch foreman and  grandma was the cook.  After they moved back to Wisconsin, (when he got drafted for WW1) grandpa kept a painted mare to ride, collected little ceramic horses and loved to paint horses from those paint by number kits.

I've been in radio for 45 of my 60 years, and can usually be heard as the announcer/sidekick of Michael Feldman on the Public Radio International weekly comedy quiz program, Whad'Ya Know, broadcast on more than 300 public radio stations from coast to coast.




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