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Northwest Missouri
About Kay Gibson

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



(Note:  My husband is from Alabama, and I soon learned when we talked about gophers, we weren't talking about the same thing. Theirs are huge inland turtles.)

When my southern cousin came to visit,
Charlie dogged me way too long.
Then we had that argument,
found family ties ain't that strong.

One day we went a ridin'
I rode Commanche, my black steed.
I set him astride slow Nellie,
cause she wasn't much for speed.

We set across the meadow
the horses sneakin' a bite and chewin'
Old Nellie kicked up a nest of bees
and the bickerin' started brewin'.

Old Nellie started crowhoppin'
any horse would, even one that's mild.
But cousin Charlie started yellin',
"You gave me a horse that's wild."

I watched Nellie racin' thro the daisies;
Ole Charlie bouncin' up and down.
Then old Nellie stumbled,
pitchin' Charlie to the ground.

I rode to Charlie's rescue;
nothin' hurt but his pride, of course.
But Charlie started yellin',
"I ain't gettin' back on that horse."

"Nellie ain't a wild one," I said
as I listened to Charlie squawk,
"And if you don't want to ride her,
I guess you'll have to walk."

Ole Charlie started slappin' dust
the way bucked-off rodeo cowboys do.
He looked at me with fire in his eye,
and said, "I'll hitch a ride with you."

I don't believe in ridin' double;
prefer not to burden a horse like that
and if'n I'd knowed the trouble he'd cause,
I'd left Charlie where he was at.

I yanked ole Charlie up behind
and grabbed Nellie by the rein.
I shoulda let Charlie walk off his steam
rather than listenin' to him complain.

I tried speakin' in my purtiest voice,
"Why Nellie's the gentlest horse around,
she hit a nest of bees and a gopher hole's
what throwed you to the ground.

I'll come back and set some traps,
those gophers won't be missed."
Ole Charlie gasped, "You can't do that,
they's on the endangered list."

"Since when's there a shortage of gophers?"
I yelled back at the guy astraddle.
I may not be the smartest cowboy,
but Charlie's reins don't quite reach his saddle.

"We used to trap gophers," said Charlie,
"weren't no better gopher skinner than Pa,
and oh, those gophers were mighty fine,
but now it's agin the law."

"I'm gonna set them gopher traps,
just gotta go home and fetch ‘em."
Charlie leaned up and said, "If you must,
but we all used wash tubs to catch ‘em."

Charlie thinks gophers are mighty fine?
He must be some kind of dope.
Wash tubs to catch em? I shore do spect,
Charlie ain't got no knot in his rope.

When you're dealin' with a crazy man,
you have to handle ‘em lightly.
"Whatta ya do when the wash tub's full?"
I said, tongue-in-cheek, so spritely.

"Why we fry ‘em or make dumplin's"
Charlie said with his southern drawl.
The thought of eatin' them gophers
started makin' my insides crawl.

By now I was sure Ole Charlie
couldn't be playin' with a winnin' deck.
And I knew this southern madman
was makin' me a nervous wreck.

Then I KNEW what I had to do,
reared Commanche, afore Charlie could open his mouth.
Charlie slid off, and I ain't seen him since,
I'm just hopin' he headed back south!

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




A herd of crickets invaded the bunkhouse
them critters made quite a band.
But when they started playin' their music,
the racket was mor'n I could stand.

Now I like to hear a guitar strum
to hear that banjo and fiddle talk,
but the tune them varmints played
was more like a high-pitched squawk.

I whipped out my 6-shooter and started firin'
shootin' them crickets is quite a feat.
The way them varmits kept a hoppin'
even the best shot couldn't compete.

I drilled the bunkhouse full of holes,
but ain't shot cricket number one.
Round after round of bullets I shot,
cause I won't be happy til them crickets is gone.

I tell ya, the noise they was a makin'
was shore givin' me the jitters.
I pulled out my rope and made a loop,
but I couldn't hog-tie them durn back critters.

Them blasted crickets was drivin' me crazy,
but I needed to get a grip.
It was too late, I'd done gone mad,
so I pulled out my trusty bullwhip.

Man, I started poppin' them crickets
that bullwhip could really bring them down
and this was a durn sight more fun
than 3 months ago when I rode to town.

I'd pop them crickets, one by one
and I must say I was feelin' grand.
I ain't got nothin' agin music,
but I broke up THAT cricket band.

And, oh, the silence is golden,
and I'm here to offer you a tip
If crickets is drivin'you crazy,
just pull out that trusty bull whip.

Oh, yes, I found the perfect weapon
Me and my bullwhip, there ain't no match.
But I ain't got time to stand here braggin'
cause I got 200 bullet holes to patch.

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





"The raincrow is a cuckoo bird, " I scoffed
when he hollered all day long.
"That rain crow's just a cuckoo bird
And his prediction's mighty wrong.

It ain't rained these past 2 months
been chokin' dust fer so long.
So why should I pay heed a tall
to that rain crow's mournful song?

So after supper, I saddled up,
a slicker never crossed my mind.
Why should I worry ary a bit,
Bout what that rain crow'd whined?

I rode the breeze 5 miles or more
finally windin' a top of the hill.
Lookin' cross the prairie at night
always gives me quite a thrill.

But what I saw a comin'
I didn't like the looks of at all.
"Peared all that flashin' lightnin'
could be raisin' quite a squall.

I slapped leather against the wind,
the rain peltin' me in the face.
Ear pinned close, my cowpony flew,
like he was a runnin' in a race.

I hit the barn,soaked clean through,
nary a spot on me was dry.
From now on, I'll have more respect,
when I hear that rain crow's cry.

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




Ghost Town

I lost my way on the prairie,
Riding through a hail storm late one day.
I looked at the abandoned buildings,
Decided it'd be a good place to stay.
I tied Commanch in the blacksmith shop
To the forge so long grown cold.
I marveled at all the stories
This ole ghost town could have told.
I unwrapped and spread my bed roll,
The only thing that wasn't wet.
Was gonna catch me a cat nap,
But Commanch hadn't settled yet.
Commanch whined and pawed,
What could be botherin' my old friend?
I thought I heard some voices,
It must be the gallopin' of the wind.
I squirmed inside and listened
On my bed upon the ground
I was tired and sore all over,
But kept hearin' that same ole sound.
The ghost of yesteryear were beckoning
Remnants of memories long past.
I could tell Commanch was nervous,
So I saddled him up real fast.
We thundered out into the night,
The cold rain pelting me in the face,
I was 'a stewin' why those ghosts
Were still prowling in that place?
All the adobe walls have crumbled,
The cowboy era is at an end.
The cowboy's ghosts now gallop
With the dying prairie wind.

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


About Kay Gibson

Kay Gibson told us she writes for a cowboy re-enactment groups and  "I'm a wife, mother, and grandmother, but my Dad made a farmer of me, and that, I've remained all these years. I cut my teeth on the drawbar of a tractor.  I have been published by Stork, Turtle, Humpty Dumpty, My Friend, Shining Star, Pockets, Faith 'n Stuff (now Guideposts for Kids), Eldridge Publishing, Venture, Club Connections, Backhome, Bird Watcher's Digest, and The Almanac for Farmer's & City Folk (1999). I'm a wife to Tom for 38 years, a mother of two girls and one boy, and grandmother of an even dozen."




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