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About Leroy Jones
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About LeRoy Jones:

I was born to Ralph and Juanita (Simpson) Jones, whose parents had come to Oklahoma Territory about the turn of the century, Milam and Elizabeth Jones from Arkansas in 1899, Henry Simpson from Tennessee in 1901, and his wife-to-be Lauretta Owen from Texas two years later. 

After graduating from Oklahoma's Cowden High School in 1949, I entered into the family's farming and ranching operations until entering the U. S. Army in mid January 1953 for a two year "hitch." I then returned home to once again take up those pursuits. I took on a "partner for life" when on June 26, 1955 1 married Sandra Joy Miller, who is also my best friend and greatest encourager. 

We reared two daughters; Mary Cheryl who with her husband Marvin Tacker, son Travis, and daughter Jill,  live on and now operate our farming and ranching enterprises; Cynthia (Cindy) Kaye who with her husband Eddie Landers, daughter Kayla and son Vance, son Kyle, and daughter Lani, lives at Mannford, Oklahoma. Travis and Jill Tacker constitute the fifth generation of our family to live on and work the land claimed by Henry Simpson that will be eligible for designation as a Centennial Farm in 2004. 

A few years ago, after hearing two Cowboy Poets recite on The Johnny Carson Show, I started writing some of my own, memorizing them and those written by others, and reciting them where I could find anyone who would listen. 

I have recited at: Cowboy Poetry Gathering at Elko, Nevada; Montana Cowboy Poetry Gathering at Lewistown, Montana; Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering at Prescott, Arizona; Nebraska Cowboy Poetry Gathering at Valentine, Nebraska; Oklahoma Cowboy Poetry Gathering (Cowboy Hall of Fame Gathering) at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; National Cowboy Symposium and Celebration at Lubbock, Texas; New Mexico Cowboy Poetry Gathering at Silver City, New Mexico; Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering at Durango, Colorado; along with other gatherings, and many other times for celebrations and for civic clubs, women's clubs, schools and radio programs locally. 

                                                                                           continued below...

Poems and Lyrics

One Full Turn
The Preacher's Horse
My Dad's Old Hat
New Cowboy

 

One Full Turn

I looked into the mirror and felt surprised to see
This full grown cowboy standing there and looking back at me,
'Cause I was only four years old, a button of a lad
That dreamed the day would come that I'd raise cattle like my Dad

I turned around and thought I'd see somebody standing there.
My Dad was playing tricks on me, the signs were everywhere
He'd figured out some way to get that picture in the glass
So any time I came along I'd see it when I'd pass.

There wasn't anyone around, I looked as best I could,
Yet every time I came back to that very place I stood
And looked into the mirror, there this Cowboy still would be
A'standing in my mirror looking out instead of me.

When I was playing Cowboy, nearly every day it seems,
That Cowboy got to showing up at night there in my dreams,
But he was me!   And I was riding ranges wild and free
And riding broncs and roping calves and wearing dungaree.

But then about the age of ten the image seemed to change,
And in my dreams when I would sleep I didn't ride the range.
Before that year was finished, and I guess it was okay
When I'd look in the mirror, that old Cowboy'd gone away.

And now I'm getting on in years, my hair is white with age,
My writing in life's book is getting way on down the page
That tells of raising cattle, farming wheat and cotton too,
The wife that's walking by my side that helped it all come true.

Of raising two fine daughters and to see them married well,
And doting on my grandkids which is one place I excel.
Of walking down the straight and narrow following my Lord
So when He's finished with me here He'll give me His reward.

But something quite uncommon happened just the other night,
We came in late, and that old moon was really shining bright.
Before I put the horses up, I led them to the tank
And stood out there beside them making sure that they both drank.

The moon had cast our shadows on the ground beside us there.
Reflections on the water in the tank caused me to stare.
For peering from the water there right where I ought to be
I saw this carefree four-year-old stand looking up at me

1990, LeRoy Jones, from Horsesense and Nonsense
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without permission.


The Preacher's Horse

The Preacher saw this cowhand come a-walking up the lane
His saddle on his shoulder and his face was marked with pain.
The Preacher said, "Just come right in and pull you up a chair
And tell me 'bout this problem that has brought you to despair."

The cowboy said, "My horse stepped in a hole and took a fall.
It broke its leg and so I had to shoot him.  After all
You can't just let them suffer, but it fills me with remorse
To take his life that way, but Preacher now I need a horse."

The Preacher said, "You're lucky, 'cause I've got just what you need.
I trained a horse for my own use, but I'll sell you that steed.
He's sound as any dollar, and he's up to any task,
You'll find him plenty willing, and he'll give you all you ask.

"Come out and take a look at him and see if you agree
He'll do for what you have in mind.  He's good, I guarantee.
The chance to get a horse like that sure boosted his morale,
So he got up and with the Preacher went to the corral.

That Preacher knew his horses, that was very plain to see
So they both struck a bargain for a reasonable fee.
The Preacher said, "You've bought the best and that I'll verify,
But let me tell you one more thing before you say goodbye.

"I trained that horse to use myself and taught him by the book.
For you to use him here's some rules you mustn't overlook.
He works by voice command alone, your guard you mustn't drop
'Cause Giddap doesn't make him go, and Whoa don't make him stop.

"I trained him with the words I use in sermons that I preach,
So you just need to learn those words and proper use of each.
To make him go, say 'Praise the Lord."  He'll move right out and then,
Just when you want to make him stop you have to say, 'Amen.'

"With just a bit of practice you can learn that in no time.
These words will make him hit a run or stop him on a dime."
So this cowpuncher saddled up and then he climbed aboard
And making this small clicking sound said, "Ck, ck, Praise the Lord."

The horse stepped out and in a canter headed down the lane.
He said "Amen," and then the horse came to a stop again.
Why, this would be more simple than he ever dared to hope,
And with that knowledge shouting "Praise the Lord" he hit a lope.

With fluid motion horse and rider seemed to be as one,
The distance simply fell away.  That horse could truly run.
The Cowpoke didn't seem to know how far he'd really gone
Until amazed he saw the cleft that he had come upon.

He knew it was the river with a bluff on either side,
And he knew if he went over that he'd taken his last ride.
"Whoa Horse," he shouted and pulled back with all his might
But that horse didn't break his stride or slow his headlong flight.

Now what was it the Preacher said that he would have to say
To make that horse come to a stop, now did he say to pray?
That's not quite it, oh, now I know, "Amen" He fairly shrieked
And brought him to a sliding stop, but he could hardly speak.

His heart was right up in his throat and pounding like a drum,
And he could barely catch his breath, the scare left him so numb.
The bluff edge there was right back underneath the horse's chin.
How lucky he remembered that he had to say "Amen."

He stood up in his stirrups there and looked down at the bluff.
There wasn't room for one more step.  Man, that was close enough.
He'd almost met his Maker, and collected his reward.
He sunk back in the saddle as he sighed, "Oh, Praise the Lord."

1992, LeRoy Jones, from Horsesense and Nonsense
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without permission.


 

My Dad's Old Hat

It never would be quite the same to drive back up that hill,
Nobody lived there anymore, the house stood dark and still.
That place had been my parents' home for almost fifty years,
Had heard a lot of shouts of joy and seen its share of tears.

They raised their little fam'ly there, 'twas just my sis and me,
But my folks taught us right and wrong while sitting at their knee.
But now they both had gone the way of all at eventide
And crossed on to that better land beyond the Great Divide.

They'd had it fixed for quite a while, dividing up their land;
We only did the paperwork completing what they'd planned.
The cattle and equipment we divided best we could,
We each took what we needed most.  The other understood.

But now the time had come that we had put off till the last;
Dividing up the things that were mementos of their past.
Accumulated trash and treasure came to light that day,
They all were things my dad and mother couldn't throw away.

Things like the trunk my grand-dad brought with him from Tennessee,
And his dad's fam'ly Bible bought in 1873.
We looked in every dresser drawer, behind each closet door,
And things we didn't want to keep we piled up on the floor.

We made a lot of progress once I got the system pat
Until I came across the box that held My Dad's Old Hat.
And though it sounds a little strange, I couldn't put it down
But thought back to the day I'd seen him wear it home from town.

Other hats he wore to work that hung there by the door
But this one was a special hat, and one he kept in store
To wear when he would go to church or when he'd go to town,
Or special times when he and Mom would get to run around.

I know to other folks it may not seem like very much,
But when my dad took down that hat he had a loving touch.
He'd brush off every speck of dust and crease the crown just so,
And make sure that the brim was right, and he was set to go.

I don't guess I could count the times I've seen him pull aside
For funeral processions, it's no matter who had died.
He'd park along the roadside there, take off his hat and then
He'd wait until they all had passed to put it on again.

When we would have a burying in our country way back then
The neighbors met and dug the grave, then stayed to fill it in.
He'd wait until the fam'ly left, then hand my mom his hat
And work till they were finished, you could bet your boots on that.

Then breaking up my reverie and jolting me to life
The door came bursting open to admit my sis and wife.
"We're just about to finish up," My sis said with a grin.
"We've got about the biggest pile of junk there's ever been.

"I see you found Dad's old felt hat, just throw it on the pile."
And I said, "No, I reckon I'll just keep it for a while
And take it home and hang it out for everyone to see.
Reminds me of the kind of man that I still try to be."

1995, LeRoy Jones 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without permission.


 

New Cowboy

Describing a cowboy as scruffy, you'd think,
Would strike sparks like you seldom have seen.
But I think that we're all pretty safe for a while
'Cause I don't think he knows what it means.

He's been on the job just a week and a half,
And he's doin' the best that he can.
When I took him on, he was green as could be,
But I thought he might make us a hand.

He's shorter than all of the rest of the hands
And he walks with a stiff-legged gait.
He's running behind everywhere that he goes,
And that makes the rest of us wait.

But he's coming around and he's learning the ropes,
And the rest of the boys like him fine.
They take up the slack when he can't get it done,
And they laughingly rate him a nine.

But four days from now, he'll be hitting the road
And we'll get back to normal again.
But I figger there'll be a great big empty hole
In the lives of most all of the men.

Cause they took him to heart from the day he arrived,
When I first introduced him around.
They all shook his hand and they cracked a big grin
From the first time he uttered a sound.

"I be Drampa's towboy" he told every one.
I donna wide horsies aw day."
And that's all it took, he was one of the crew,
That is, up until this Saturday.

For that's when his mama will come take him home.
And Grandma and I will be sad.
'Cause keeping your grandson two weeks on the ranch
Makes one mighty happy Granddad.

2003, LeRoy Jones
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without permission.



 

Read LeRoy Jones' The Night Before Christmas and
What Does a Cowboy do For Christmas? posted with other Holiday 2003 poems

 

Recording and Book

 

Songs of the Prairie 

Includes:

Soo, Bossy, Soo, traditional
Hot Ir'n, words by S. Omar Barker, music by LeRoy Jones
Roundup in the Spring, words and music by Carl Copeland and Jack Williams
Lorena, H. D. L. Webster
The Strawberry Roan, Curley Fletcher
'Longside of the Santa Fe Trail, James Grafton Rogers
Cowboy Jack, traditional
The Sierry Petes (or Tying Knots in the Devil's Tail), Gail Gardner
I Ride an Old Paint, traditional
The Cowboy's Lament (Streets of Laredo), Francis Maynard
Red River Valley, traditional
Spanish is the Loving Tongue, Charles Badger Clark
The Tenderfoot, D. J. O'Malley  
Adios, S. Omar Barker
Come the Fall, LeRoy Jones
We Sung Them to Sleep, LeRoy Jones
The Land of the Kiowas, LeRoy Jones

accompanied by a booklet with all lyrics

LeRoy Jones - Vocals, Harmonica, Rhythm Guitar
Frankie McWhorter - Fiddle
Paul Shields - Recording Engineer, Guitar, Bass, Keyboard

$17 postpaid from:

LeRoy Jones
Box 266
Mountain View, OK 73062

 

 

Horsesense & Nonsense

Includes:

Kid Stuff
The Preacher's Horse
One Full Turn
Cowboy
Lifestyles
F.D.I.C.
The Night Before Christmas
Jilted
Muly Cow
Roundup
Tin Can Cave
Range Fire
Christmas
Neighborhood Area Watch
Summer of 1990
The Day of the Cowboy
A Normal Day
We Fly Away
I Want to be a Cowboy
The Dream
A Cowboy Has to Sing

$11 postpaid from:

LeRoy Jones
Box 266
Mountain View, OK 73062

 


 

LeRoy Jones' poetry is included in Humorous Cowboy Poetry, A Knee Slappin' Gathering, edited by Dawn Valentine Hadlock and Madge Baird, Gibbs Smith, Layton, Utah, 1995.  There is a full index of the book here, which is a part of our Cowboy Poetry Anthologies Index.

 

About LeRoy Jones (continued from above):

I also write and sing some of my songs along with some of the old time cowboy songs. I have published a book of poetry and songs called Horsesense and Nonsense and have made two audiocassette tapes of poetry and music and one CD of Cowboy Songs, Songs of the Prairie. Some of my works are humorous, some are melancholy, some are about children, while others are about the very old, some tell about every-day happenings and others tell of things that happen only in my imagination. 

In 1997, I was nominated by the Academy of Western Artists for their Will Rogers award and was a finalist in the field of Male Cowboy Poetry. In 2000, I was inducted into the Washita County Hall of Fame. 

With less time spent in the operation of a farm and ranch, and by playing golf only often enough to keep me humble, I am able to spend more time in activities such as this, and as an Artist in Residence with the State Arts Council of Oklahoma. I work in the Elderhostel programs of Oklahoma University and Oklahoma State University as an instructor/performer. I also do the work of an elder in the Mountain View Church of Christ, where I have been a song leader and Bible Class teacher for over forty-five years. 

When the town of Mountain View, Oklahoma observed its Centennial Celebration in 1999 and published a book of their history, I was appointed editor of the book Mountain View, The First 100 Years. I also write for two local weekly newspapers an article entitled "Look Back, Look West" in which I contribute historical stories from our area and other areas of the west. 

 

Contact Information

LeRoy Jones
Box 266
Mountain View, OK 73062

580-347-2432
lsjones@westok.net

 

 

www.cowboypoetry.com

 

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