Christmas at the BAR-D Ranch  2001

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Happy holidays folks!


Well sir, now sir, this one's just what it appears to be.
A lesson in country livin' to you, 'specially from me.
We try to keep Christmas simple, but you know how it goes.
With grandkids 'round we tend to buy a few of these an' those,
Until Christmas Eve, the ol' red sack's just about to split,
An' you wonder how there got to be so awful much of it!!

Reindeer Paws

There's honey ham, snapbeans, roast turk an' stewed t'maters,
Pear an' apple salad, coleslaw, stuffin', mashed p'taters
An' gravy; applesauce, relish an' canned sweet cherries,
Watermelon rind preserves an' puckery gooseberries.

Mincemeat, punkin' an' buttermilk pie, raised rolls an' bread,
Sweet potatoes, candied yams an' honey-butter spread,
Creamed corn, greens, fried cabbage, pickled beets an' peas,
"Shore tastes good!" "Here's th' bread an' pass th' butter, please".

Mama's made fudge an' divinity to last until July,
Everbody's ate too much and think they'll surely die
Loosed belts 'round th' table where th' men is playin' hearts,
Women in th' kitchen, cleanin' up in fits an' starts.

Long before th' day arrived, I dreamed of brand new dolls;
In th' catalog I seen some that could tune right up an' bawl,
A tiny baby buggy... I might push it to th' barn,
An' put my kitties in it without doin' any harm.

Say...I could dress 'em up if I get some dolly clothes,
I saw a whole dang page in Sears, complete with little bows.
Then I'd have a baby that could move around an' cry,
There'll always be a cat to fit, th' way they multiply.

Maybe a new doll isn't really the best that I could choose;
How about a thing or two that I could really use?
A pair of Hoppy pistols or some really fancy socks,
New boots, a belt, a pinafore, inside my Christmas box.

Oh, an' I forgot! my cousin Hughie gave me a look
At the secret ring decoder in Tom Mix's funny book.
That might just be my heart's desire from Old Santy Claus,
When on Christmas Eve I hear those tiny reindeer paws.

Pa cut down the fir tree that we'd decorated fine,
An' th' little bent up angel had took on quite a shine.
Popcorn strings, paper chains stars cut from magazines,
An' little sheep made of clay in our Christmas scene.

Truth was when we gather'd 'round our homemade tree,
I'd find store bought candy, one orange and there was sure t' be
Clothes made by Mama, a 'Santa' toy from Monkey Wards,
Homemade gifts of love and time was all we could afford.

From my Granfolks I would get what I always got...
Underwear, some ribbons an' those awful ol' brown socks.
The kind you had to keep up with elastic garters,
I s'pose it really is th' thought that truly matters!

Th' night before, I'd already got my yearly gift from Pa...
Leavin' me thrilled an' delighted an' plumb inspired by awe;
I'd heard jinglin' on the roof an' little hoofbeats prancin',
But I never guessed for years who it was up there dancin'.

Th' turkey frame is boilin' in ma's canner on th' range...
Everone's already thinkin' bout 'th' leftover exchange,
With Nell's egg noodles on the breadboard, spread t' dry,
More'n enough for all our kin t' have a good supply.

PA had a bunch of ice skates that you strap right on yer shoes,
He kept 'em in a shed outside fer all of us t' use;
He'd flood an acre flat spot up behind the springhouse,
An' fence it temporarily to keep out all th' cows.

We'd whomp an' whack our way around, fallin' on our rears,
Each of us was sure we got more graceful ever year;
Pushin' boxes out in front of us kept from breakin' bones,
An 'ever single kid would ask t' take th' ice skates home.

Now with all th' grandkids outside, playin' in th' snow,
Th' table's set for pinochle, an' th' fire is burnin' low...
"Gramma says to Mama, "You know there jist ain't no better kind
Of Christmas any place than here, with fam'ly by your side."

Byrd Woodward 


Read more of Lariat Laureate Runner Up Byrd Woodward's 
poetry here at the BAR-D.

Happy holidays folks!


Santy Claus Has a Rule

The Christmas that I was
Eight years old
Y'could say we was miserable poor

Most of our herd was lost
To the cold
An' wolfs was scratchin' our door

I heard my paw
Say that to my maw
An' she commenced to cryin'

Honey, I've done all I could
Said Paw
It ain't fer the lack of tryin'

She said, I know
But what of the boy
Christmas is gonna be lean

Paw said, I know
He'll miss the joy
This year is the worst I've seen

M'maw said, Honey
Jist what kin we do
An' Paw spoke gentle an' mild

I guess we tell 'im, he said,
What's true
An' Maw said, He's only a child

Paw said, The boy is
Goin' on nine
But there's somethin' I think that I'll try

I'm sure, said Maw
It'll work out fine
An' a tear dropped from her eye

Now what Paw did
Was t'gimme a pitch
How Santy Claus has a rule

That when, like us
A family's so rich
They gotta make up their own Yule

I never told my folks
I'd listened in
Never breathed one single word

I chopped us a tree like
The rest of the men
An' never let on I'd heard

My ma, she baked
An' made me a sweater
An' Paw, he built me a sled

Then, Christmas mornin'
I found a letter
With cookies, right next to my bed

A boy like you, it said
Is the best
Yer folks sure love you a lot

Now of alla the treasures
In my treasure chest
That letter's the nicest I've got

Though most of our herd
Was lost to the cold
An' wolfs was scratchin' our door

I cherish the Christmas
I was eight years old
Cuz I've never enjoyed one more

Bunkhouse Poems and Tall Tales
2001, Hal Swift


Santy West

I had a dream the other night
That Omar West was Santy
An' he brought presents to our house
A first-rate old-town shanty

I had m'doubts when he come in
He wasn't all that chubby
M'wife said, No, y'look real close
He's gittin' kinda tubby

So I said, All right why's he here
An' he said, Why it's No-el
I said, 'Scuse me, do I know you
An' he said, You know me well

I come here ever year, he said
An' you call me Santy West
I recollect ya now, I says
Yer presents're jist the best

Thanks, he said, an' gimme a box
No, not a box on m'head
This had somethin' in, I could tell
An' it's all wrapped up in red

He said, Go on, open it now
So that's what I up an' did
I had m'self a big surprise
When I popped off that there lid

Why, this is jist the thing I need
A book that shows how t'spell
Santy says, It's a poet's book
An' I hope y'use it well

What about me, m'wife spoke up
Santy West said, Dry yer tears
Somethin' each poet's wife should have
Some rubber plugs fer yer ears

Now I kin read m'poems out loud
An' m'wife's jist full a hugs
She don't hear nothin' when I read
All thanks t'them rubber plugs

2001, Hal Swift

Read more of Lariat Laureate Runner Up Hal Swift's
 poetry here at the BAR-D.


Happy holidays folks!


Santa Claus' Sidekick

Now every cowboy hero had a sidekick that was true.

But did you know that Santa Claus well he had a special sidekick too.

Santa had the sniffles and his gout was acting up

He hated to admit it, but he was sicker than a pup.

But the kids from the world all round on Santa they did wait.

So he somehow had to hitch his sleigh and keep that special date.

Yep, Santa had a problem, along with the North Pole flu.

The elves were all too tired to work and the reindeer wouldn't do.

So he turned to his computer and the whole world he did scan

From the hills and plains of Texas to the sands of Pakistan.

Hmmmm, he scanned back there to Texas, where he saw a tiny light

It looked like someone's campfire. Could it be? Yep, he was right.

It was the campfire of ole Sour Dough, the cook from the Bar D spread.

Shoot he was so old and cranky that Santa feared that he was dead.

Sour Dough had helped him once before when he needed an extra hand.

He might pitch in and help him now and ride for Santa's brand.

Santa called him on his cell phone and then his nose he blew

"Yea?" answered Sour Dough and Santa answered "Sour, how are you?"

"Santa, good to hear you!! And what is on your mind?"

"I'm so sick." Wheezed ole Santa, "and I'm running far behind."

"I was wondering could you help me deliver all these toys.

If you could handle Texas and all those girls and boys."

Sour Dough rubbed his scraggly beard and scratched his balding head.

"Well certainly, Santa I'll help you out! I go and hitch up Fred!"

Fred was Sour's tiger stripped mule and cranky this mule was!

But Sour would line this mule out 'cause they must help ole Santa Claus.

With Fred hitched to the chuck wagon, they'd meet Santa on the way

And pick up all the toys that they must deliver on this day.

Fred kicked the single tree and balked a time or two.

He brayed and stomped and twitched his ears just like a mule would do.

Then they saw the red light as Rudolph led the way

And following was Santa and his toy-laden sleigh.

Sour popped his trusty whip and hollered out to Fred,

But Fred was planted in his tracks just like that he was dead.

Sour begged and pleaded at the contrary bay equine

Santa watched this odd dilemma and knew that Sour was wasting time.

Santa whistled very softly till Fred was hypnotized,

With Fred's attitude adjusted Sour surely was surprised!

Santa sneezed a time or two and sprinkled stardust all around

As Fred, Sour, and the chuckwagon slowly left the ground.

It was Sour Dough and Fred a flying through the sky

Delivering all the toys and leaving smiles you can't deny.

They flew the Texas skies from North to South and then from East to West.

Till the chuck wagon was empty and Sour needed a rest!

They landed at the bunkhouse in the heart of the Bar D Ranch

Where they heard the sounds of Christmas carols, could it be a Christmas

As Sour peeked in through the window, he saw much to his surprise

Old Santy kicking up his heels with a twinkle in his eyes!

Well Santa had recovered from the flu and was dancing all around!

The bunkhouse rocked with merriment and was filled with Christmas sound!

"Thank you Sour for all your help, in taking up the slack!

I have something special for you" and he reached into his sack!

A sack of stardust he took out and handed to Sour Dough.

"Just sprinkle it on that balky mule, then whistle soft and low."

"And Merry Christmas Sour Dough," said jolly old Saint Nick.

"And Merry Christmas back at you!" said Santa's number one sidekick.

Linda Kirkpatrick


Read more of Lariat Laureate Runner Up Linda Kirkpatrick's
 poetry here at the BAR-D.

Linda Kirkpatrick and Surprise

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

and read about her brand new book, too:

Somewhere in the West by Linda Kirkpatrick


Happy holidays folks!

Shaving Cream Santa Claus

He's not very big
and looks mighty cute.
Wearin that red coat
and my cowboy boots.
Shaving cream on him
from his chin to his nose.
Stuffed pillow tummy
young child's Ho Ho Ho.

Hound Dog Reindeer
and red wagon sleigh.
He's been waiting a whole year
and tomorrow's the day.
For six guns, toy trains
and bells that will ring.
Grandma and Grandpa
with boxes of things.

Shaving cream Santa Claus
what you doing on my knee?
Shaving cream Santa Claus
he's just to small for holding me.
Shaving cream Santa Claus
I don't want Christmas toys.
Shaving cream Santa Claus
I'll take gifts of love and joy.

And I'll take a memory
that lasts a long time.
So when I'm old and gray
I can look back and find.
A very small child
that walks through my mind,
and the sugar plum dreams
you have today.

Ezra Spur 

Read more of Lariat Laureate Runner Up Ezra Spur's
  poetry here at the BAR-D.

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


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