When The Cowboys Came
A little boy was sitting upon his grandpa's knee,
And he began to question of how things used to be.
"Grandpa, how was Christmas when you were just a boy?
Did you wait for Santa? Did you want a shiny toy?"
The grandpa's eyes looked dreamy as he thought of long ago,
And he began this story for the grandson he loved so:
"We had a Cowboy Christmas, for we lived out near the range.
It wasn't very fancy, but I would never change
The memories that I treasure of how it was for me,
And of the happy hours spent around the Christmas Tree.
We had no television, no flashy shopping mall...
But I had my mom and dad, and the cowboys. That is all.
Dad let me ride behind him when he went to find a tree.
We dragged it home across the snow; my dad, his horse, and me.
The cowboys helped us set it up and decorate each branch
With paper chains and popcorn strings; things common on the ranch.
And Mama baked some cookies. They tasted, oh, so good!
We warmed up by the heating stove as flames burned up the wood.
My daddy took his Bible, and read to us that night,
The story of the Christ Child, and the star that gave Him light.
He read about the shepherds coming on a night so cold,
And kings who rode on camels, bringing frankincense and gold.
He told us of the angels whose songs filled up the sky,
And how the mother held the child, and how he didn't cry.
He talked about a stable and of a manger there.
The cowboys listened quietly. They really seemed to care.
Then they went back to the bunkhouse, and Dad put me to bed
With thoughts about the story still running through my head.
I woke on Christmas morning, a wondrous sight to see!
There was the entire manger scene beneath the Christmas tree!
For while I had been waiting, and trying to be good,
The cowboys had been carving the figures out of wood.
Old Joe had built the stable and topped it with a star,
And Bill had carved the camels and kings who came so far.
Slim had fashioned Mary, with Joseph by her side,
And Morgan made the shepherds, who had no place to hide.
My dad had carved the Christ Child upon a manger bed,
And Mama made the angels to hang above his head.
There were donkeys, cows and critters, and a little band of sheep.
They had set the whole scene up while I was fast asleep!
We sang the Christmas Carols, and of the Christmas Star,
As Slim picked out the melodies on his battered old guitar.
Each cowboy had a story that he told for us that day,
And Mama baked a turkey, inviting them to stay.
Yes, that's how I remember a Christmas long ago;
The story of the Christ Child and how He loves us so.
Of a day of songs and stories, and of the feast we shared,
And how the cowboys came for Christmas, to let us know they cared."
© 1998, Nona Kelley Carver
You can read more of Nona Kelley Carver's poetry here at the BAR-D. She's a frequent performer at gatherings, and has several books, CDs, and cards.
Of Donkeys and Reindeer
Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house
Not a creature was stirrin' - includin' my spouse.
The stockings weren't hung and the tree wasn't trimmed
On the floor muddy footprints was strung end to end.
I in my apron with vacuum in hand,
Was wipin' the mud up and suckin' up sand.
When out on the pasture up at the north end,
Come such runnin' and brayin' as ever has been
I flung on my coat and quick run out to check
What I saw by all 'counts was one heck of a wreck.
It was some kind of vehicle.. sleigh or a sled..
And the teamster was howlin' and holdin' his head.
His whiskers was white and he wore a red suit
Turned out it was Santa...tiny reindeer to boot!
And tiny is right - them reindeer were so small
My donk's took 'em for dogs. (They don't like dogs at all.)
They'd been chasin' the reindeer, and chousin' 'em 'round
Til the traces come loose and was draggin' the ground.
The lines were a tangle, a breechin' had busted
And Santa by now was completely disgusted.
To say he looked mad is a tad understated
So I figured I'd best get this crisis abated.
With a bucket of sweet feed for donkey attention
And the Saint usin' words that .. well.. I just won't mention
I quick caught my donkeys, he gathered reindeer
Got 'em "fix hitched" and loaded -- didn't leave nothin' here..
But I heard him exclaim as he took to the air
"You want presents you pen up them donkeys next year!"
© 2001, Connie Rossignol
Connie has a small herd of jackstock. You can read more of Connie Rossignol's poetry here at the BAR-D and more at her own web site.
Craig Cameron, the horse trainer/clinician, had a clinic in Colorado and I
went. He was riding a mule that he was training. The mule was named
William Jefferson Clinton and was about as smart and as much a character as his namesake. Craig and Jeff made such an impression I wrote this poem.
Christmas was over
On the Double Horn Spread.
Craig was all tuckered
And ready for bed.
Before he could turn in
On that cold Christmas night
He'd feed all the critters,
An' see all was right.
Down at the stables
Where Jefferson stays,
With his sorrel horse cousins
As well as them bays.
Craig went to Jeff's stall
With alfalfa and feed
When he looked in
There was no sign of the steed.
Jefferson was gone !
On that cold Christmas day.
He'd eaten his oats,
But left all his hay.
That curious young mule
Had escaped from his stall
When he saw Santa,
Them Reindeers and all.
He followed them
The rest of that day.
Just teasin' ol' Rudolph
An' eatin' his hay.
West Texas was cold
The stars shinin' bright
New Mexico and Nevada
Were Christmas Card white.
When Jefferson got to Oregon,
He was plumb tuckered out.
So he ate some more hay
An' turned 'round about.
Then headed for Texas
An' the Double Horn spread
He was thinkin' 'bout alfalfa,
Ad' ol' Craig in bed.
"Where have you been,
You silly ol" mule?
I've worried "bout you
On this day of Yule!"
Of course Jefferson didn't answer.
What could he say?
He knew Craig spoke horse,
But was just learnin' Bray.
So he walked in his stall
And began eatin' that night.
And I swear that he winked
As Craig turned out the light.
© December 25, 1996, David J. Dill
You can read more of his David Dill's poetry here at the BAR-D and more at his own ZD Ranch site.
Grampa had a dun mule named Molly,
A sure-enough good one, by golly.
He'd take 'er to the mountains to pack and
The elk meat she always brought back.
He used her to skid logs fer the fire
And even rode 'er when the need was dire.
It was gettin' close to Christmas time
An' Molly, bein' in her prime
We kids thought it'd sure be grand
To pretend we had a reindeer on hand.
We hitched Ol' Moll to the sleigh
An' drove 'er around fer a day.
We took 'er fer a trot down the road
And she didn't seem to mind the load.
Ma hollered she needed to deliver
Some packages to our cousins by the river.
We quickly volunteered her gifts to drive
In our mule/reindeer sleigh contrive.
We wrapped a red rag round Molly's nose
And tied bells where the harness back strap goes.
We hitched up the ol' gal in real fine style
Then grabbed two antlers from a nearby pile.
We laced one on each side o' the bridle
And then back to the sleigh we did sidle.
Ma loaded the boxes fer the ride down the road
And we jingled right to our deliverin' episode.
The cousins were speechless as we pulled in that day.
They had no idea ol' Rudolph could brey!
© 2002, Lynne Hendrickson
You can read more of Lynne Hendrickson's poetry here at the BAR-D.
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