Countdown to Christmas
Christmas is almost here,
and I haven't got a clue,
Just what to get my darlin' Wife,
But I guess that's nothin' new.
It's the same ol' wreck, every year
the decisions are always tough,
and some of us just aint real good,
at this Christmas shopping stuff.
Them crowded malls and fancy shops
just tangle up my mind.
So I'll Just slip over to the feed store,
and see what I can find.
Not that I'd buy my darling oats or hay,
they got other stuff as well.
Everything from new gum boots to poetry books,
to please a country Gal!
While I'm there, I'll get my dog,
a rawhide bone to chew,
A little sweet feed for my ponies,
and my Christmas shopping's through.
© 2002, Mike Puhallo
PS. For some reason Linda don't even want my help when it comes to shopping
for the kids and relatives, which don't really bother me much. MP
You can read more of Mike Puhallo's poetry here at the BAR-D and on his Twilight Ranch web site and at the CowboyLife site, as well as at the BC Cowboy Heritage Society (BCCHS) site. Mike writes a weekly "Meadow Muffin," like the poem above written for the week of December 16, 2002. He is the author of several books, and the latest, Piled Higher and Deeper on the Cariboo Trail is a 2002 Will Rogers Medallion Award Winner:
An Arizona Christmas
Christmas in the Arizona desert ain't quite like in the story book.
An' poor ol' Martha Stewart would be aghast at what we cook.
An' did ya ever try to decorate a twenty foot saguaro,
That's why Arizona Christmas is "manana, or "tomorrow."
Santa used to come down here, but his reindeer all wimped out.
Prancer he got snakebit, an' Rudolph contracted gout.
The ol' elf hisself could hardly walk because of prickly heat.
So nowadays fer Christmas we don't do much 'cept set around an' eat.
Now our Christmas vittles may feature such delectable cuisine,
as rattle snake burritos, an' some dip that's plum' obscene.
Oft times we'll warm up with some Mexican hor d oeuvres.
Like deep fried jalapenos, fondued in prickly pear preserves.
Some Javelina tacos, and a Shish kabob of lamb.
Scrambled eggs with Chorizo an a bit of chopped up Spam.
Now I know this talk of Christmas fare has got you salivatin',
But this stuff is just warm-up that we eat while we're awaitin',
Fer the wimmen folk to bring out the dish that's staple to us here.
Served with quiet reverence and a can of cold Budweiser Beer.
Now afore I further bone out this here sublime Yule tide creation,
so's you'll know we're cosmopolitan, let me share some information.
We set out our finest China that we got at Safeway over time.
Linen from Nogales that's embroidered green an' lime.
Ma drags out her silverware, the set that matches purty much.
That's been safely stuck away in her antique mesquite wood hutch.
Then we serve all the usual stuff that you do when you're the host.
Like Ham 'n sweet potatoes, oven turkey and some roast.
My gal puts out some bean dip garnish in her classic Tupperware.
Some suet puddin' an' Mince meat pie, it's like a French affair!
And then with Pomp & Circumstance, and served with much ado,
that grand Dutch oven delicacy, - we call Mulligan stew.
We make it up from bovine parts, most folks just throw away.
A bit of tail and muzzle, slice in some lip and tongue filet.
A chunk of tripe for texture, and some garlic for the heart.
An' if the critter we kilt's a Bull we add a bit of private part.
Throw in some sage and cayenne, and bring 'er to a boil.
Just let 'er simmer a couple a hours and skim off the surface oil.
The stuff'll eat through metal so we use a wooden serving cup.
When it's et', like yer wife's first marriage, - ya won't wanna bring it up.
Now that's our standard Christmas chuck out here in Arizona.
Served with a bit of variation from Yuma to Sedona.
Like we got this great tradition that each visitor brings some fare.
Most usual it's a Chili dish, marked with crossbones and "BEWARE!"
We nearly never make assignments, we just take whatever comes.
But be advised, if you're ever invited, - bring a case of Tums!!
© 2002, Paul D. Hatch
You can read more of Paul Hatch's poetry here at the BAR-D
and at his own web site.
Cowboy Christmas Light
Twinkling stars overhead seemed to whisper
A tune that Mike heard every year
Standing next to his horse he remembered
It was one about Christmas cheer
He shivered a bit 'gainst the cold
Took a pull on his hat and looked East
It was there years ago that he sat
On a bed awaiting the feast
Of sights and sounds and food
His family made with each Christmas
Tamales, tinsel and laughter
And old Granny that made such a fuss
Then Mike turned his head to the West
And pulled himself up board his mount
The bag he held was nigh heavy
But he knew each gift would sure count
His sweet wife had worked on the wrapping
Making sure that each gift was just right
Something that each could hold onto
When they gazed at the stars in the night
Guiding them into the New Year
Like a Cowboy Christmas Light
© 2002, Steve Dirksen
You can read more of Lariat Laureate runner up Steve Dirksen's poetry here at the BAR-D.
The Cowboy's Christmas Ball
We all liked dancin' in Anson at
the Cowboy's Christmas Ball.
It was a real high-toned event
and a good time was had by all.
We even removed our stetson hats,
and that don't happen often;
the only time that comes to mind
is when we're in our coffin.
We cow pokes got ourselves cleaned up
'til we hardly knowd each other.
We cut our hair and shined our boots;
we'd even have pleased our mother.
The ladies all in satin and lace
was visions to behold.
It gave us something to dream about
when we was gittin' old.
The Ball would last for three whole days,
and we held them real dear;
it's against the law to dance in Anson
'cept this one time of year.
© 2002, Tex Tumbleweed
Tex Tumbleweed says "I lived down the road a piece from Anson, and it was against the law to dance in Anson. I think you could get a permit though...This Cowboy's Christmas Ball has been held yearly since 1886, first in the Star Hotel and now in Pioneer Hall." See Larry Chittenden's classic poem The Cowboys' Christmas Ball that first immortalized this event in verse.
You can read more of Tex Tumbleweed's poetry here at the BAR-D.
The Night Before Christmas...Texas Style
'Twas Christmas Eve in Texas, when all 'cross th' ranch,
Not one critter was stirrin', not even a branch;
Th' boot-socks were hung from barbed wire with care,
In hopes that th' tops this year would not tear;
Th' kids were all tucked up like cows in a shed,
While dreamin' of baked goods like cookies and bread;
Mom hung up her Stetson by my worn Resistol,
Took off boots, jeans and belts then in bed we did fall,
When out by th' barn there was all sorts of clangin'
We jumped up right quick to see what was a bangin'.
Grabbed up our rifles and dressed quick like hustlers,
Grabbed ammo 'n' shotguns case it was rustlers.
Moon glow on tin roof shined by sand blowin' hard
Gave enough light for seein' and showed th' farmyard,
We 'uns concluded we was a seein' thangs
Like, an old worn-out stagecoach pulled by eight green-broke mustangs,
With a great big ol' driver, who held a tight rein,
we sure knew right quickly it must be John Wayne.
Much faster than bullets his horses sure came,
Still he whistled, and shouted, and yelled out each name:
"Now Pitchfork! now Pickup! now, Chisum and Dallas!
On, Haybale! on, Hairball! on, Lonestar and Texas!
Right over th' leech field! and on past th' well pump
Now gee-up and yee-haw, git ready to jump!"
Like tumbleweeds scurry when tornadoes whirl by,
When they just go and head skyward, up they sure fly.
Yep, up to th' rooftop them horses strivin',
with that stage full of toys, and th' Duke a drivin'
In just a short moment we heard on th' roof
Th' stomping and stamping of each unshod hoof.
As we threw on our hats, and were heading downstairs,
John Wayne kicked in the front door which fell on two chairs.
Was dressed like a sheriff, from his hat to his boots,
And his clothes were all showin' deep-down western roots;
Saddle bag of toys he had flung 'cross his back,
and small things stuffed in pockets too much for his pack.
His eyes how they squinted! his pistol how gleamin'!
His badge was all shiny, his neck scarf tied streamin'!
His shirt unbuttoned, with th' flap hanging down
And th' jut of his chin was as fierce as his frown;
His rifle he held onto tight in his hand,
'Til he got a good feel for the lay of the land;
He had broad shoulders which carried quite a load in
And shook when he laughed as his face creased with a grin.
He was handsome and tall, a legend come to life,
And we sure liked what we saw both me 'n' th' wife.
Him winkin' at Mom and a noddin' his head
Made us glad we did not get Santa instead.
He drawled a few words, but he mostly just worked,
Filled boot-socks with oranges and meat, spicy-jerked,
And waving his hand in gesture well known,
Crashed through a window just as if he was thrown;
He sprang to his coach, toward his team the whip cracked,
Away they all galloped as if some injuns attacked.
But we all heard him shout, as he started to go,
"Howdy, Pardner, all y'all, saddle up, wagons ho!"
© 2002, Suzann Darnall
Suzann Darnall hails from San Marcos, Texas
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