Christmas at the BAR-D Ranch  2001

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Page Five


Happy holidays folks!



I'd been at the ranch less than a year
I was warm in the bunkhouse when the foreman appeared
He said, "Jonesy, you're low man -- this task falls to you
There's a new calf missing -- Its mother is, too
Saddle up Mack; don't forget your maguey
I hate to send you out on this cold Christmas Eve
But coyotes are hungry -- This year has been hard
We can't stand to lose even one little pard."

As I rode through the snow in the blustery wind
I complained to myself  'bout the shape I was in
Tonight meant the barn dance . . . pretty girls, lots of laughs
I'd miss it all, thanks to one snot-nosed calf
My job seemed hopeless, an impossible test
But since I was out here I'd give it my best
We'd start in the open and work towards the rough
I pointed Mack north and hoped for some luck.

We scoured the pastures, the gullies, the hills
But nothing was moving; it was quiet and still
We rode down the canyon and up past the draw
And that's when I saw them . . . It filled me with awe
Alone in a clearing, not trying to run
Quiet and peaceful, stood mother and son
Slowly they looked up -- their eyes all aglow
And I was reminded of a scene long ago.

My throat got a lump; my eyes got a tear
I'm lucky, I thought, to have ended up here
Where hardships are many, but blessings are, too
Where a short draw can lead to a soul-shaking view
I got off my horse and knelt in the drifts
And I said, "Thank you, Jesus, for all of the gifts
By myself, I'm not much, but I'll do what I can
I've got my own saddle; can I ride for your brand?"

Lanny Joe Burnett 

Read more of Lanny Joe Burnett's
 poetry here at the BAR-D.

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

Happy holidays folks!


My Cowboy's Night Before Christmas 

‘Twas just before Santy came, the story is told.
Cattle weren't stirrin', fact they's bunched against the cold.
The tack was hung near the chuckwagon with care.
Why, we didn't know Santy was close anywhere.

Cowboys on the ground were wishin' for their beds
While nightmares of wild steers ran through their heads.
‘Tween now and the next gather, we needed a nap.
Cookie had just finished, and tied down the flap.

When out past the cavvy, there rose such a fuss,
I sprang to my feet, leavin’ the bedroll a muss,
And grabbin’ my shotgun and my ragged ol’ hat
I run t'ward the racket thinkin' “…what'n thunder's that?”

When thoughts of amazement through my head courses,
It was a buckboard teamed up with draft horses,
A driver in red buckskins, so spry and dainty,
I know’d in an instant, it must be ol’ Santy.

Quicker than jackrabbits, them horses they came,
And, he’s shoutin’ commands to each one by name…
“Get a step, Joe!. One more, Prince!. On, Big Ed!
Pick it up, Sam! Tighten up, Lou! On, Old Ned!

Don’t spook the cavvy, back away from them pens,
You’re a pullin’ this wagon like a bunch of ol’ hens!
Now, when I haul on these lines I mean to stop.
Hold up in this cow-camp like a ton of cow flop!”

They sat down in their riggin’, like I knew they would,
With a wagon of goodies … made of leather and wood.
Then, in a twinklin’ with no further delay,
He said, “Back it up, boys, this here ain’t no sleigh”.

I couldn’t believe my ears, and lookin’ around,
Off that wagon ol’ Santy came with a bound.
He was short, and his chinks reached near to his toes.
He was happy and fat, with a little red nose.

There was a ton of packages and some new tack,
And, ol’ Santy was carryin’ it all on his back.
His eyes sort of bloodshot, much like a cherry,
From "rastlin'" them horses clean across the prairie.

His lips was plumb puckered, his mouth drawn and droll,
(Mine got that way, the day I swallered my Skoal.)
He was holdin’ a piggin’ string tight in his teeth,
Not fer’ tie down, but for tyin’ "up" a fine wreath.

His head was too big and he had a round belly,
No doubt derived from eatin’ Texas Chili.
He’s chubby and plump all right, I’d say quite jolly.
I laughed plumb out loud when I seen him, by golly.

He winked his bloodshot eye, and spat ‘tween his lips,
And, it made me to know we were all in the chips.
He weren’t much for chatter, just done what was due,
Givin’ presents and goodies to the whole durn crew.

Then, he stuck his finger in his wee little ear,
Wallered it around and said, “We’re through bein’ here”.
He fled to the wagon, and his team called ‘em up,
“Come on you swaybacks … what’s the dad-burn holdup?

We won’t be back till next year ‘cause we’re flat broke.
Merry Christmas, my eye, I just busted a spoke!”

© 6/98 All Rights Reserved * David Kelley


Read more of Lariat Laureate Runner Up David Kelley's
here at the BAR-D.

David Kelley

Second Lariat Laureate Runner Up

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


Happy holidays folks!


A Cowboy's Christmas Prayer 

The worn and wrinkled cowboy
slowly shaved and combed his hair.
He picked the finest clothes he had
and then he dressed with care.
He stomped into his new bought boots
and shrugged into his coat.
The others would have questioned him,
but his thoughts seemed quite remote.

He stepped out of the bunkhouse,
and pulled his hat down tight,
Then climbed aboard his private horse
and rode into the night.
The single footin' gelding
ate the miles without a pause
And seemed to know the rider
had a most important cause.

Twenty miles on through the night,
with the rider deep in thought,
The stars came out to guide his way
to the goal the ride had bought.
His horse stopped on a gentle rise,
tho' the rider pulled no rein,
And the cowboy raised his head to stare
'Cross the quiet and lonely plain

He crawled down off the weary horse,
loosed the cinch so it could blow,
Then walked a yard or two away
and knelt down in the snow.
He crushed his hat against his chest,
raised his face up to the sky,
And then he started talking
like a friend was standing by.

"Lord, you see I rode a piece tonight
'Cause I knowed that you'd be here.
Course you wuz at the bunkhouse too,
but on this hill ya' seems  near.
As I look acrost this prairie
and see the things youčve made,
Why, comparin' things us men has done
really puts 'em in the shade."

"I thank you for the love you show
in everything you do,
And I'm proud to be a top-hand
with a loyal happy crew.
I've still got all my fingers,
my legs are bowed, but tough,
Rheumatiz' ain't touched my bones,
and my mind is sharp enough."

"Your spirit gives me comfort,
and I know that when I die,
You'll let me rest forever
at that bunkhouse in the sky.
Forgive me when I wander off,
like a wild jug-headed hoss,
And I pray You'll not give up on me
'fore I learn that you're the boss."

"I've rode out here to tell you
I'm thankful for a Savior's birth,
And to send you MERRY CHRISTMAS
from your folks down here on earth."
Then he mounted up and rode away
with a casual good-bye nod.
A cowboy with his heart at peace
in the palm of the hand of God.

Gail T. Burton 


Read more of Lariat Laureate Runner Up Gail T. Burton's
here at the BAR-D.

Gail T. Burton, photo courtesy Mr. Burton

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



Happy holidays folks!


A Christmas Poem

Christmas is a-comin' soon!
Pardner, ain't ya seen?
The decorations showed up
In the stores on Halloween!

The papers just plumb fulla ads;
Some days it's three feet thick!
That's good-we got a woodstove,
'N' we're short on kindlin' sticks.

The kids all hope that Santa
Brings 'em ever'thing they chose;
"I want a Nintendo!"
"Please don't bring me any clothes!"

The Sally Army's out in force,
A-tunin' up their band;
I always drop a dollar,
'Cause they once gave me a hand.

There's some who say we've lost the track,
'N' don't know rhyme or reason,
That all this hooraw overlooks
The spirit of the season.

They point 'n' say I don't believe,
'Cause in church ya'll never find me;
But I don't need no hymns, or prayers,
Or crosses to remind me.

This year, I think I'll try
What one ole cowpoke used to do;
I'll saddle up, 'n' leave a note:
"Back in an hour, or two."

I'll ride west outta Reno,
A-followin' the river,
'Way up into the mountains
Where the air's so cold it shimmers.

Far away from stores 'n' crowds,
Where the only single sound
Will be my pony's muffled steps
Through the snow upon the ground.

'N' when I reach the perfect spot
(I'll know it when I'm there),
I'll doff my hat, 'n' feel
The icy wind blow through my hair.

I'll find the brightest star that night,
Gaze up at it, 'n' say,
"Happy Birthday, Boss,"
'N' then I'll softly ride away.

Charley Sierra 

© 1994 Rip-Snortin' Press


Read more of Lariat Laureate Runner Up Charley Sierra's
here at the BAR-D.

Second Lariat Laureate Runner Up

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





Page Five



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