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About R.V. Schmidt
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Radio Cowboy

On a rug in front of the Philco, I heard my first cowboy songs.
Tumbleweeds tumbled, ghost riders rode, happy trails were dusty and long.
In an album of black and white photos, its edges all wrinkled and curled
I came to a page with a picture, of a horse and a smiling cowgirl.
Well my heart skipped a beat as I wondered, just who that young cowgirl could be
And my mind took a spin as I pondered a connection between her and me.
I must have been just six or seven, when my dad brought home in a box
A contraption he called television, and in it were pictures that talked.
Well now I could see all those cowboys, who were only voices before
And ride happy trails with that cowgirl, on the rug on the living room floor.
I got my first horse at eleven, a bald face tall dapple gray
And we rode toward the front door of heaven, and we learned something new every day.
At twelve my mom gave me her saddle, along with a kiss and a hug
From the cowgirl who‘d smiled in the picture, on the floor on the living room rug.
I’ve pushed cows all over Montana; I’ve rode point from coulee to plain
Sometimes I just sit in my saddle and gaze out across the terrain.
And I think of the trails I have ridden as I look out toward heaven's front door
And thank God for the cowgirl he showed me, on the rug on the living room floor.

© 2009, R.V. Schmidt
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


R.V. Schmidt comments: The inspiration for the poem came from a family photo of my mother, Bonnie Lee Patterson, on horseback at sixteen years old. It was taken somewhere near Seminole, Oklahoma around 1934.

She rode horseback most everywhere she went as not too many people could afford automobiles back then. The poem is a sort of snapshot of my life. When I first heard "Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer," Gene Autry was singing it. The radio was entertainment before TV. We had a little place in the country, a couple of cows and horses. My dad didn't ride much, but my mother showed me what she knew. Now I have kids that were raised in the saddle and grandkids that would rather be there than any place else. Kind of thought it was a good way to thank my mother for making a cowboy out of me.


Rodeo Cowboy

Sun up and get up and load up and go,
Ride hard and fast for the next rodeo.
Saddles and buckles and horses and tack,
Dallies and hooeys and ropin’ through slack.
Hoof beats and heartbeats pummel and pound,
Lord let me make it to that next go ’round.
Twilight and finals at some unknown date,
Busted and bandaged we pass through the gate.
And all them old cowboys ain’t really gone,
They’re up in the grandstands cheering us on.

© 2008, R.V. Schmidt
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


R.V. Schmidt comments: Well I wrote that poem for my father-in-law R.C. Payne when he passed away. He was one of the Turtles, the outfit that became the P.R.C.A. He rodeoed his way from Oklahoma to California with Cotton McCullar, Ben Johnson and Clark McEntire. The picture is from a California rodeo in the mid 1960s. It's my cousin Bucky McCullar who passed away in 1999 at age 61.

Black Friday

Elmore, Slim and Jimmy had been sortin cows all day,
and they finally caught that Clara steer they planned to haul away.

We’ll put him in that open top and wrap him up real tight,
then we’ll haul him to the auction and get cleaned up for tonight.

We have to be at Sideways Jack’s for his Thanksgiving spread,
and if we don’t get there in time we surely won’t get fed.

Well Clara was a longhorn cross and had a roany hide,
and pointy horns that tip to tip were easy six feet wide.

I know it sounds peculiar so I’ll let you know right now,
old Clara was a woman’s name but Clara weren’t no cow.

See Elmore had a wife one time and Clara was her name,
she rode and roped just like a man and never did get tame.

She kept that steer to practice on, bulldogging was her sport,
she started twisting on him when his horns were fairly short.

Well Clara started getting mean so Elmore let her go,
I hear she’s somewhere wrestling steers and chasing rodeos.

She left behind that roany steer she used to practice on,
so Elmore named him Clara and was thankful she was gone.

By the time our cowboys got old Clara to the loading pen,
they’d lost some blood and clothing and were pretty much done in.

Slim picked up a hot shot and Jimmy got a twig,
and they pushed and prodded Clara till they got him in the rig

They made a snap decision as they watched the setting sun,
they’d wait until tomorrow then they’d make that auction run

So they used up all their lariats to captivate that beast,
and hauled the whole shebang to Cobb for Jack’s Thanksgiving feast.

A bunch of folks were drinking beer out in Jack’s front yard,
and staring at a vat of grease that was boiling pretty hard.

Jack came out the front door with a turkey he had shot,
and put it on a hay hook, then he dipped it in the pot

Well the turkey was much bigger than the recipe required,
so grease spilled out and down the sides and caught the thing on fire.

Jimmy’s pant legs were in tatters from his battle with that steer,
and started flaming as he ran and nearly scorched his ears

When he dove into a bathtub full of beers and melting ice,
Slim and Elmore laughed real loud and dunked him once or twice

Even though Jack had an Ov-Glove his fist got bar-b-cued,
but he never even sniveled and he held on to the food

He made it to the table, slapped the turkey on a plate
and yelled “Our supper’s ready boys, let’s eat, it’s getting late”

While old Jimmy sat a shiverin in his steaming charbroiled clothes,
he made a declaration “Got to have me one of those.”

“They sell ‘em at the Walmart store.” old Jim heard Elmore say,
“When we head up to that auction we can get one on the way.”

Well they ate the tail end of the bird cause that part was mostly done,
and finished off the candied yams and home-made sticky buns.

Then a night of beer and poker and Jack having all the luck,
they woke up hung way over in the cab of Elmore’s truck.

“Lets get this rig a movin,” Jimmy whined and yawned.
“We can make it out to Williams and the Walmart before dawn.

“We’ll snag a turkey fryer and put Clara in the sale,
and be back on Cobb for cocktails boys let’s cut a dusty trail.”

They pulled into the parking lot a short time before dawn,
and found that any place to park was already long gone

Jim said, “Stay right here Elmore, and leave the motor run,
and me and Slim will get in line to get our shopping done.”

Well the line was close to ten yards long and nearly twice as wide,
so Jimmy tried cut in front and get himself inside.

A woman with sleeve tattoo rolled Jimmy in a ball
and flung that cowboy through the air and bounced him off the wall.

About that time a bell went off and speakers from above,
squawked “Welcome to Black Friday folks, please don’t push or shove.”

I’d like to say I’ve been around a stampede once or twice,
but compared to frenzied shoppers a stampede’s kinda nice.

Slim and Jimmy went down fast and got kicked through the door,
 by slippers, pumps and tennis shoes and rolled across the floor

Slim crawled into a doghouse that was shaped like an igloo,
and Jim got in another one whose price was cut in two

There was housewives in pajamas there was children up the shelves,
and Santa Clause got trampled flat along with all his elves.

The line outside had turned into a swelling surging throng,
and Elmore snored right through it cause he’d been up all night long.

Clara spooked and broke his bindings in about a hundred places,
when he come out of that open top you oughta seen the faces.

Of the late arriving shoppers that were left outside the store,
and the way our cowboys eyes bugged out when Clara hit the door.

Handbags and a string of lights were hanging round his head,
and a bunch of giant candy canes with stripes of white and red.

Mothers quaked, children wailed, some men broke down and cried
when Clara hit those igloos with our cowboys tucked inside.

Them dog dens were still spinnin as Clara charged and tore
 out a hundred retail counters and crashed through the exit door.

He trampled twinkling reindeer, he knocked kings and camels down
 and flattened plastic forests before hitting open ground.

Slim staggered to the parking lot and broke up Elmore’s rest,
while Jimmy screamed “Step on the gas and get us heading west.”

When our heroes hit the bunkhouse they made a solemn vow;
they told it to me last month, I’ll repeat it to you now—

“We’ll roast our turkey in a stove for our next Thanksgiving snack,
and stay away from Walmart stores on Fridays that are black.”

I went by there this morning while those boys were still in bed,
and in the yard was Clara with those lights around his head.

He was tearing at the porch posts with his long old pointy horns,
waiting for those three cowboys to start their Christmas morn.

I stopped my rig and spun the wheel and quickly made a U,
and swore that if I owned that steer I’d change his name to Stew.

© 2012, R.V. Schmidt
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

R.V. Schmidt told us that his poem "...started out as a sort of Thanksgiving poem then I think the Christmas spirit kinda took over."

About R.V. Schmidt:

Award-winning artist and author R.V. Schmidt has been involved in several local writing projects including Reads (i-Universe 2006), an anthology of writings from the Lakeside Writers Guild and the play "Lakeside Stories" (weaver Auditorium, Lower Lake, January 2005). The co-creator and former editor of Creative Expressions, a bi-monthly venue for local writers in the Lake County Record Bee, has recently published Single Tree: A Collection of Stories (Tenacity Press 2008). He is living in the mountains of Northern California with his wife, two dogs, two cats and his two horses, Dan and Kit Katz Bar, and still participates in gathering, roping and branding cattle in California, Montana and Nevada.


For additional information about the author please visit his website:




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