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Kathy and Santa on Cadillac Jack

KATHY S. and PHIL GRADY
Seven Springs, North Carolina
About Kathy S. and Phil Grady

 

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

 

Cowboy Spirit

A cowboy riding home
A long time on the range
Months turned into years
A lot of hardship and pain

The stories he could tell
Surviving the hardships of this land
He might have left a boy
But he's coming back a man

Thoughts began to fill his head
Why he had to go
A moth to the flame
Destiny...You know

The land now fenced
The longhorn gone
Nowhere left
But to go home

He helped shaped an image
Of America's great land
Little more than 20 years
Was the cowboy .. in demand

Did he have a clue?
The spirit that he contained
It was in his heart
And there it would remain

To be passed down the line
Like some genetic DNA
Skipping some generations
But never going away

A spirit alive and well
Transcending space and time
I present the American Cowboy
And the Cowboy State of Mind.

Kathy S. Grady


Texas Red

This story is about a Longhorn
His name is Texas Red
If it weren't for two men's kindness
This Longhorn would be dead

His career started as a roping calf
He really did that fast
He was young and strong and quick
But he knew it couldn't last

He helped the cowboys get their points
As he pushed along his career
Soon too large for calf-roping
He became a heading steer

Texas Red moved up the ladder
As all good employees may
He soon added steer wrestling
On his Resume

Too large again for wrestling
He was just to big to throw
To the bucking shoots they sent him
And the crowd yelled "Go Red Go"

He soon grew tired of bucking
He didn't like the fight
Bucking off young cowboys
Just didn't seem quite right

Now in this game of Rodeo
You have to play quite rough
But now it was quite obvious
Texas Red had had enough

With his Rodeo career
Now at its end
His boss man gave him a pat and said
"It's time I phone a friend"

He didn't want him sold cause
To the butcher he would go
He's just too good a steer
There's a better way, I know

He called his good friend Ron
A steer trainer, that's a fact
I know I've got a good one
If you can use him in your act

Ron said "I'll take this steer
I think he'll work just fine
I'll ride him in OLE Cowtown
And we'll have a grand ole time"

"The folks will set upon him
Their pictures I will take
And when he's doing really good
Some money I might make"

Texas Red paid his way
Through all his jobs in life
Now you know his story
And two men that done him right

Texas Red is quite contented
And his life is free of woe
He stands to get his picture took
As he travels to and fro

Thanks to our friend Ron
And the guy from the Rodeo
Texas Red is safe and happy
And always on the go

Sometime you might see him
And you will plainly see
As he stands to get his picture took
He'll smile contentedly...

Kathy and Phil Grady

This is a true story and he is one of the two steers we travel around the country with.                                    

Phil on Texas Red
Phil on Texas Red
                                                     


Texas Longhorn

I am the Texas Longhorn
With horns big and bold
My ancestors came from Mexico
Columbus' cattle I am told

We swam the Rio Grande
A new land to arrive
A territory called Texas
And there we learned to thrive

There was no quarter given
From this harsh terrain
It made us strong and smart
O'er this wasteland we did reign

We bore our calves with ease
Within minutes they did stand
We were ready to face together
Pests and predators of this land

Our numbers grew to millions
Our life seemed so complete
But one predator we would face
That we never could defeat

The cowboy came with horse and rope
To put his mark upon our hide
North we went for many miles
Crossing rivers deep and wide
 
Songs were sung to soothe us
As we were bedded for the night
Legends were told about us
When we stampeded, from our fright

Many footprints we did leave
Upon the Chisolm Trail
Driven to Dodge City
To ride the miles upon the rail

Loaded up on the cattle cars
The steel rails we did ride
A growing country needing more
Of our meat, tallow and our hides

Our numbers dwindled fast
After twenty years of cattle drives
They mixed us with imported breeds
We were on a downhill slide

But in l927
Your government stepped in
And now after many years
We're on the rise again

I've been roped, branded and rustled
Many a Cowboy has cursed my name
But it's Me that made them famous
TEXAS LONGHORN is my name 

Kathy and Phil Grady



White Man's Way

The red man was here
When the white man came
They first lived as friends
Their needs were the same

The Indian helped the white man
The first few years
They taught him to hunt turkey
And the whitetail deer

They showed him how to plant corn
And live off the land
Friendship and trust
Was their only demand
 
There was plenty of food
And places to sleep
The white man was happy
And the peace he did keep

The red man was noble
No need to question his honesty
His word was as strong
As the mighty Oak Tree

The white man kept coming
Till there was no where to go
Soon they covered the ground
Like a new-fallen snow

The white man's greed was strong
So his words were weak
The Indian soon learned
With two tongues he did speak

Treaty after Treaty
The red man signed
Only to be broken
Time after time

The red man grew weary
Of this white man's way
Too many promises broken
And cast by the way

His homeland now occupied
His very existence on the line
What's This?
One more treaty to sign

He'd sign no more papers
That just blow in the wind
What's the next step?
For these brave red men

We'll fight to the finish
To defend our homeland
And disappear into the earth
Like fine grains of sand

And their numbers diminished
Battle after battle
These once proud people
Were rounded up like cattle

Forced to follow
The white man's regulations
He was sent to new homes
Called an Indian Reservation

What happened to the deer?
To the turkey and the corn?
What happened to the friendship
Where Thanksgiving was formed?

The only thing left
These red people might say
"Where is the good
In the white man's way?"

Kathy and Phil Grady

 

 

Legend of Thompson Cattle


It was about 1995
In the town of Seipio
There was a man of 99 years
This is how the story goes

He said, "When I was just a boy
With my father I did travel
Up in the Henry Mountains
There a mystery to unravel

As we moved along the trail
A strange thing I did spy
Hanging in the cedar
Were bones way up high

I asked my dad "Who put the bones in them trees?"
As I slipped down from my saddle
"No one son" was what he said
"Its the remains of Thompson cattle"

Many cows died up here
Caught in a fierce snowstorm
Snow deeper than the cedars
It happened before I was born

I'll never forget the piles of bones
And how some hung in trees
This is the story of Thompson cattle
And how it came to be

Yes this is quite a story
So friends gather round
No glory from fame or fortune
But mysterious works can be found

Times of hardship and struggle
And the working of our Lord
For only he knows the River of Life
And where we need to ford

Daniel Thompson and his sons
In the spring of 1904
Moved 10,000 head of cattle
And with hopes of even more

To the Henry Mountains
They drove their cattle to be grazed
To fatten on the summer grass
And wile away the days

While the summer sun stayed long
In the mountain sky
Cattle kept on grazing
And the summer passed on by

Thompson Springs was the base camp
For the roundup in the fall
The drovers arrived there early
For the gathering of one and all

The men left the base camp
Searching for the cattle
Never knowing pretty soon
For their lives..They would battle

As the drovers did their work
And the herd began to grow
The temperature started to fall
And it began to snow

An early snowfall had begun
Mountains turning white
It soon became a raging blizzard
Snowing many days and many nights

The drovers with their horses
Tried to break a trail
Hoping to move the cattle
But to no avail

For now it was apparent
Lives would be at stake
Man or Beast...What's the call?
No longer could they wait

They pushed their horses onward
Through passes blocked with snow
Hardly a trail to be found
The going was awful slow

They finally made it down the mountain
Hearts were filled with gloom
For they knew the fierceness of the storm
Had sealed the cattle's doom

Now the Thompson's faced another storm
Their livelihood was gone
Should they try to build again?
Or should they move along?

Many cattle had died up there
On that mountain range
But some managed to survive
And now they had free rein

So the Thompson's decided to sell
A way of life was now gone
The Meek Bros. at Hanksville would gather up the cattle
Wherever they had roamed

But wait...This story is not ending
For those cows had their own legacy
To leave for us this story
Of good people's honesty

The ranchers remained true and honest
To the unwritten Law of the Land
For when they rounded up a Thompson cow
They marked the calf with the Thompson brand

Those cattle they were scattered
For many miles around
But the ranchers would brand them Thompson
Whenever they were found

This was repeated for many years
That system stayed correct
And in 1941 the Meek Bros. sent
A Thompson son...Their last and final check

Almost forty years of honesty
Is a tribute to the men
Some shortcomings they might have had
But they were honest to the end

One more twist of fate
God's mysteries never end
Short dry summer's.. Long cold winters
Hard times would set in

The people of Hanksville were getting hungry
Food was in short supply
In the mountain's was Thompson cattle
Too wild to be branded and just too tough to die

Like manna in the desert
Thompson cattle did provide
Through the misfortunes of some
Others managed to survive.       

                           

This story was told to us by Ray Thompson, the Great Great Grandson of
Daniel Thompson.  This is the type of story that may not make our history books but is a valuable legacy to some of the fine people that helped settle the West.  Many thanks to Ray and Patti Thompson.

 

Look

As I stood and viewed God's sculpting
Of the canyonlands out west
Grand, Bryce, De Chelley, the Badlands
I knew He'd outdone the rest

All manmade things seemed insignificant
As his artwork did unfold
As majestic as the master
A story must be told

From man's beginning
We've tried to imitate
But I've never seen more beauty
Than what I saw in our Western States

The colors on this earth
The sculpting of this land
The mountains and the valleys
Don't forget it was God's hand

The tools that he used
Some secrets are revealed
Rivers, Oceans, Volcanoes, Asteroids
Many more tools are concealed

I don't think the Sistine Chapel
Or the sculptures of the Greeks
Compare with what God did
In just about a week

I know that was God's clock and
There's been some question about his time
But that don't really matter
I sure didn't mind

For it was worth the wait
However long it took
I was never disappointed
When I took that first look

The painters of the pictures
The cameras and the films
Cannot capture the magnitude
As you stand upon the Rims

Yes they're many great paintings
Done by the human hand
But they pale in comparison
To the ones in our great land

Imitators are all men
In the world of art
Cause the subjects that they choose
Have been perfect from the start

Crayola tries to match
In their box of 64
The colors on God's earth
But there's still so many more

Have you ever seen a yellow
Quite like a daffodil
As it nods its regal head
Up on its little hill

Have you ever walked the beach
Whitecaps breaking in a sea of blue
As you reached for a hand
And smiled an I Love You

Remember the black
Of a pitch dark sky
Count the colors of the hummingbird
As it hovers in flight

How about the orange
Of a harvest moon
Or the whiteness of a snowfall
Beneath the sunlight of noon

The greens of the forest
Dried leaves on the ground
I never knew till I looked
There were so many colors of brown

Did someone invent the water fountain
After going to Yellowstone Park
Inspired by Old Faithful
Or was it a lucky shot in the dark

Yes man tries to duplicate
The things his eyes behold
But God has already painted the pictures
As our lives unfold

If you are an American
See this country of your birth
For there's little to compare
With God's accomplishments on Earth.


Kathy and Phil wrote that they know this is not exactly Cowboy Poetry but we wanted to share it with you because this is how we felt the first time we got to see the places we had dreamed about all our life.  Sometimes when you wait a lifetime you build things up in your mind and they  turn out to be a lot less than expected.  Well, The American West was everything and much much more.  This was the only way we knew how to say thanks God.   

Mustangs

See them coming across the ridge
A look of wildness in their eyes
Manes blowing in the breeze
Head's and Tail's held up high

They're wild, wild horses
Moving in the morning sun
Wild, wild horses
Always on the run

Sliding down a canyon rim
Rocks scattering to and fro
They need to soothe the burning thirst
In the creek bed far below

Charging across a sagebrush flat
Their coats shining in the sun
A dust cloud rising close behind
Mustang's are on the run

A perfect blend of natures colors
Like the painted deserts that they roam
Shades of red, black, and yellow
In the country they call home.

 


Desert Saloon

I was riding along
With a powerful thirst
I've spent months on this range
This time won't my first

But my canteen was empty
Waterholes coming up dry
It was getting tough on my horse
But he sure had try

I found some shade
Thought we'd rest a bit
My eyes were getting heavy
My mind began to slip

Perhaps to another time or place
Maybe a dream, who knows
I can only tell you
What I suppose

I was in this Desert Saloon
It was a cowboy's place
Lot's of sitting room
Plenty of wide open space

Playing tonite was
The Coyote Band
They're pretty well-known
In this desert land

Quaint music with no words
A primitive song
Before I knew it
I was yodeling along

Keeping time with the music
Was the jingle of my spurs
Maybe it was my thirst or
I missed the road in a curve

Cause all at once
I seemed on another plateau
Things went to happening
I just don't know

Well just as I stood
I was asked to dance
By an elusive voice
That never gave me a chance

To decline
Being a gentlemen ,of course I couldn't
And being so long in the desert
I wouldn't

She was light as a feather
As I swung her around
Or maybe it was me
That didn't seem to touch the ground

When somewhere out there
On that big ole dance floor
Some dude bumped me twice
That sure made me sore

I threw a right hook
As we come back around
He followed with a left
That knocked me down

That was it
I would take no more
So I kept on slugging
Till I collapsed on the floor

The next day at sunrise
When I awoke
Daylight told the tale
This was some fool joke

My knuckles were all skint
My face was all sore
I could tell when I moved
I had waged a one man war

But all that stood before me
Was a cactus beat to hell
By the stickers in my face and knuckles
I began to figure this tale

So thirsty was I
It must have been a mirage
I'm just glad I survived
This dusty phased

I fought with a cactus
And how embarrassing to know
I danced with a dust devil and
Stickers and dirt is what I had to show

What a party it was
On the lone prairie
No witness in sight
Just my horse and me.
                                                        



The Ride


He stood on his porch
And gazed across the Utah land
Memories of his life gone by
Stirred deep within this man

His skin was dark and brown
Like old worn saddle leather
His hands were tough and callused 
With the years of work and weather

As his eyes swept the distance
Upon his old horse they did fall
How many years had it been
Since they'd heard the cattle call

Once young and full of fire
His best he'd always given
Now old and uncurried
Many years since he'd been ridden

Now the urge was growing stronger
To saddle up and ride again
To ride the trails of yesterday
With his old and faithful friend

Man and horse walked to the barn
And stood there side by side
Ever so gently he pulled out burrs
And brushed that tough old hide

He put the saddle on
And fiddled with the tack
He double-checked his rigging
Old habits coming back

He placed his foot in the stirrup
Knees grown stiff with time
An extra bounce he had to give
But aboard he did climb

Horse and Man were One again
Their heads were held up high
They were joined in soul and spirit
They'd make this one Last Ride

He pranced like a race horse
The man sat tall and straight
500 yards they rode
And he dismounted at the gate

As his foot touched the ground
The magic was gone
Just an old man and old horse
Standing there alone

But there had been a witness
To this Last Ride
An impression that lasted forever
Was tucked away deep inside

He saw the exchange that day
An exchange of dignity and pride
As they covered that 500 yards
The man__The horse  and  THE RIDE.


This story was told to us by Ray Thompson, the great grandson of Henry B. Thompson.  This story was told to him by his grandfather Sterling who was a young boy watching his failing grandfather Henry and his old horse Tony, make this ride from his own house to Sterling's father's house only 500 yards away.  I am thankful that he was old enough to remember and came to
understand why this ride was so important.  Henry died just a few months after this ride.  The story had such an impact it had been entered and kept in their family history.  Thanks again to Ray and Patti Thompson.
  

Horse's Eulogy

Please Gather
Restless Spirits of you conquistadors
Another one is coming
To join those who've gone before

To blend with the heavenly herd
This place where spirits go
A paradise so perfect
A place flesh and blood, cannot know

In the earth lies your body
But your spirit is now free
To race across forever
Wherever that may be

But I am still of this earth
So one lock of mane I will keep
To press in hand and memory
Till once again we shall meet

For someday you will greet me
With pounding hooves and a soft neigh
And my sadness will be vanquished
When we turn and ride away.

 

 

About Kathy S. and Phil Grady:

Kathy Grady wrote: My husband and I love the west and all it stands for.  I wrote this poem (Cowboy Spirit) one day when I realized it is a coming together of  the spirit of people with these same feelings.  It does not matter if they participate in any western event or if they are loyal spectators it is the coming together of that Spirit.  Phil (my husband) also pens some great poetry and much of our poetry is done together.  About 5 months out of the year we travel with 2 Texas Longhorns, Texas Red and Cadillac Jack and an Australian Shepherd named Mapache, who loves doing tricks with the steers.

 

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