Christmas at the BAR-D Ranch  2001

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Happy holidays folks!


My Winter Conditions 

I'll meet you in Texas this Christmas
if I can just get away from the ranch
But snow is falling here now in the Rockies
and I'm not sure I should jump at the chance
True, there's nothing to do when the work's done
but sit around and just read Christmas mail
So, yes, Texas at Christmas sounds perfect
-- yes, Christmas in Texas sounds swell 

I'll meet you in Texas this Christmas
if we can sled down a Hill Country road
And go ice fishing up on the Brazos
as a Lone Star 'winter of wonder' unfolds
I'll bring sleigh bells to hang on the fencepost
if we can snowshoe to Del Rio from home
And then cross country ski to Uvalde
-- and do it all before Christmas is gone

I'll greet you in Texas this Christmas
if the coastline will be covered in snow
If there's Aransas Pass avalanche warnings
screaming to the Gulf's frigid waters below
I'll bring soft flannel sheets for the cabin
and mistletoe we can run up the mast
I'll buy lift tickets now for Mount Corpus
-- and never want for this Christmas to pass

I'll head down to Texas this Christmas
if you can promise me all of these things
If you can accept all my winter conditions
we'll watch the snow fall on Carizzo Springs
We'll eat bowls of some good beanless chili
and we'll chain up my four-wheel for the drive
Up over the mountains that drop to Laredo
-- and across the Rio that's frozen beside

Yes, I'd meet you in Texas this Christmas
if I could just get away from the ranch
But with snow now embracing the mountains
the hard winter chores just don't offer a chance
True, I could use a South Border vacation
if I could just get away from the herd
But when you live, work, and play in the Rockies
-- Christmas in Texas, sounds frankly, absurd

2000, G. Don Ensminger 


Happy holidays folks!


Riding Up the Western Slope 
(Going Home On Christmas Eve)

With no gifts tucked in the saddlebag, and no holly on the saddle horn
A cowboy rode his horse into the hills, the day before the Lord was born
Heading way on up to higher ground, he knew the gifts that they'd receive
By riding up the Western Slope -- and going home on Christmas Eve

He could've spent Christmas on his deathbed, but the spirit wasn't right
So he'd saddled up Ol' Aspenglow, and they left the ranch before first light
He'd been shown a vision in a dream, that they would 'climb to God' out there
And they would reach Him by the Western Slope -- as if climbing golden stairs

And so they rode on up into a storm, that left about two feet of snow
And from the evidence -- they froze to death -- but only the Foreman knows
For there they were, both froze in place -- and they seemed to be at peace
While tracks continued up the Western Slope -- towards the sky, and out of reach

And I'm still reminded of that cowboy, once or twice each Christmas Eve
I still can hear him saying to Ol' Aspenglow, "Girl, we've just got to believe --
that there's room in heaven for us both -- and if the Good Lord has his way
He'll meet us high above the Western Slope -- and grant us gifts on Christmas Day"

2000, G. Don Ensminger 

Happy holidays folks!


Santa Fe Santa Claus 

My Santa did not wear red polyester
and he wasn't old enough to grow a beard of white
but he drove an old red pickup that was in need of a good muffler
and he drank a quart of Christmas Dinner every night

My Santa did not drop down any chimneys
our kiva would never even hold his skinny frame
but he found his way to Santa Fe come every Christmas
to the mother and children that still shared his family's name

My Santa did not land with any reindeer
they'd never trust him to reign in their flying sleigh
but Mom told me once that he had flown in gunships over Vietnam
where he'd lost the wings needed to function day to day

My Santa did not bring us store bought presents
his ropin' hand had not been steady since the war
still he made small wooden santos that he carved from mission lumber
and he'd leave me one each Christmas morning by our door

My Santa never asked for milk or cookies
but Mom left him whisky and tamales by the gate
and he'd sing carols laced with Spanish as he stumbled to his pickup
Dad came by just once a year -- but then he was never late

1999, G. Don Ensminger 

Happy holidays folks!

Christmas Mornings 
(Tanya's Snowmen)

On Christmas mornings when the wood stove wasn't burning
we'd just lay around and build a roaring fire
The memories from those days demand repeating
when we'd ride the hills all day, and never tire
Long before we each found other fires for warming
when I walked out to my truck, with all my things in tow
and kissed you on your cheek that final Christmas morning
and left the mountains through a blinding record snow

I never made it back to your side of the mountain
and I've lived too near to town now, for so many years it seems
that on Christmas mornings when my wood stove isn't heating
I just wrap myself up tightly, and I dream past winter dreams
I see kids towards the meadow that build snowmen so weak and puny
-- they melt away so very quickly once they're done
I think of when we'd run outside and build a giant snowman
and I'd kiss you gently where your skin burned from the sun

It's Christmas Eve again and the snowy streets are crowded
people rushing here and there, to buy one last gift or maybe two 
I bought a woven blanket from Ol' Hosteen Joe, the Navaho
that looks just like the one we'd wrap up in, after our tub was through
I hear there's new record snows this season in the mountains
yesterday I learned from Ol' Dakota that you passed away last spring
Tomorrow morning I'm going outside to build a snowman 'high as heaven'
come back in, and wrap myself up tight, and spend the day remembering

1998, G. Don Ensminger


You can read more of Don Ensminger's poetry here at the BAR-D.




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