Christmas at the BAR-D Ranch  2001

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Page Seventeen



Happy holidays folks!


Christmas Time

It's Christmas time out on the range.
A time of hope, a time of change.

A time to reflect on the year gone by,
A time to stop and wonder why.

To think of that star that came up in the east,
And led the Shepherds and Wiseman to the stable of the beast.

For the birth of a child in a manger of straw,
And the animals that gazed in wonder and awe.

For the Savior was born on that cold winter's night,
God's gift to man, a guiding light.

As I ride cross this pasture with its beauty abound,
I thank God for his Love that grows all around.

May you carry the joy the whole year thru,
And the hope and peace of the season with you.

2001, Tim Graham,  All Rights Reserved


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Happy holidays folks!

Starry Night

It was a clear but cold and starry night,
The new snow sparkled with reflected light.
They pulled the truck to a stop there on that little hill,
The old man and the kid got out into the quiet and still.

The cattle gathered as if by magic to get their feed,
Crowding around as the bed was unloaded of cake and seed.
Despite hat and boots, the kid was new to ways of the range,
And he was made nervous by this behavior to him strange.

The old man chuckled an' leaned back against the door,
Sayin', "That's jist their way -- nothin' to be concerned for."
"Sides, this is their special night, too -- they remember like we do,
After all, it was their place that the man an' woman came to."

"Their feed that night got used in a special kind o' way,
'Tain't often that a new born gets put up on a bed o'hay."
"It was their heat that kept Him warm that cold night so long ago,
An' it was workin' stockmen that were the first to know."

"So I kind of figure that comin' out here on Christmas Eve,
Is my own way of sayin' thanks for the best gift we can receive."
The old man and boy stood quiet on that cold and starry night,
As contented cows added their blessing to the remembered light.

Charles Williams


We look forward to more from Charles Williams.


Happy holidays folks!


The Christmas Star

I was riding through Avalanche Pass one late December day
A short time after the sun fell out of sight
Another of them long, cold days of winter
Gave way to a lonely silent night

I spurred old Buck on up that narrow ridge
Where it looked down on the camp below
The chill spreading through my bones kinda eased its grip
When I finally seen that fire's warm glow

Now I seen night skies from Creede on down to Waco in my years
But never any quite as grand as that one
Seemed like the good Lord had a notion to paint him a picture
Which He just seemed to be getting done

I slid from the saddle and took a long look up yonder
There must have been 'bout a million stars a twinkling
But this big one in the east, glowing like a hot branding iron
Caught my eye and got me thinking

My mind drifted back some twenty odd years
To when my Pa set me on his lap and told me this yarn
How on that very day, in a land far away
A little boy was born in a barn

"He weren't no cowboy like the little pards I know'd
His daddy was a carpenter, that's how he earned his keep
But the boy didn't figure to follow in those footsteps
See His job would be to tend to the sheep"

"So he was a shepherd," I said, "Like old Mr. O'Malley"
"Well, not really," Pa replied  "He weren't like all the rest
See, there were others sent out to tend to the flocks
But this young feller figgered to be the best"

"He started out right when it came time to work
And looked hard to find the twelve very best hands
Then He and His friend set out on their journey
To find sheep that'd been lost through the lands"

"I reckon he built him a sizeable flock," I said
Pa shook his head  "Weren't quite as easy as it sounds
Despite the care and love the shepherd offered
There were some sheep just didn't want to be found"

"And then there were others who hated the man
They got all riled up at how his pastures were filled
So before he was able to gather in too many sheep
They plotted together and had the man killed"

"That ain't a real happy story, Pa,"  I guess I looked confused
'Cause he stared down at me and grinned
"Now listen close, son.  That shepherd...was our Savior, Jesus
And them lost sheep was all us folks who sinned"

Well I never heard it put quite that way before
But I finally understood the meaning of the story Pa told
And on nights like tonight when the north wind blows strong
It kind of helps to warm my insides from the cold

'Cause a cowboy knows all about what it's like to be lost
And not always having a bunkhouse to keep him warm
And those days on the trail would get awful long
If he couldn't see no end to the storm

I've spent many a Christmas out on the trail since then
And ain't a one goes by that when I put my head down to sleep
I don't look up in the night sky and find that bright star
And smile...knowing He's still watching over His sheep.

Alan Lemke


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Happy holidays folks!



A Song In His Heart

I can still hear Uncle Bill, as he rode down the hill, singin' a Christmas song
The creak of the saddle and the jingle of the spurs made music as he rode along
He had a good voice, at least that's what folks at church always said
And if he didn't know all the words, he made some up from his head

Now Uncle Bill didn't just sing at Christmas, no he sang all the time
Whether we were brandin' calves, movin' the herd, or just ridin' fence line
I still remember wakin' up and hearin' Uncle Bill sing as he milked the cows
And the words of Amazing Grace floatin' thru the trees, made me at peace somehow

But Christmas was a special time of the year, and he loved those holiday songs
And he sang them to the cows in a soft clear voice, as he and his horse rode along
Be it a cold, clear, starry night, or the oh so bright blue light of day
He still sung those songs about Jesus, and how he was born in a land far away

Every year when the church went carolin', they made sure Uncle Bill was there
In fact that's how he met Aunt Lucy, one night she was standin' at the top of the stairs
Uncle Bill just stopped singin', and stood there with his mouth open wide
While Aunt Lucy's eyes just sparkled, and a big old grin she couldn't hide

They got married at Christmas, a year to the day from when they first met
That was forty years ago, and they are still in love, you bet
Uncle Bill still sings as he works, an Aunt Lucy's eyes are still bright
And when it's time for Christmas carolin', they are the first ones there each night

Jim Owen


Sam T. Nickles

Sam T. Nickles is a cowboy that lives in the mountains about a day's ride from town
Raises cows, breaks horses, and loves to sit and watch the sun go down
His wife Martha rides herd on him, and helps with all he does
And you will never find two more people in this world, that define the word love

Sam only gets into town, maybe two or three times a year
But he always makes it around Christmas and he is always full of cheer
No I don't mean the liquid kind that some folks pour inside
His is a glowing, bubbling attitude that just can't be denied

He's a small man, in size only, five foot four, maybe one hundred and thirty pounds
And when he laughs, it must come from his toes, and it infects everyone around
You just can't help but like him the minute he comes into view
Rosie red cheeks, flowing white hair, and his jaw puffed out with a big old chew

He wore faded jeans, a much-patched shirt and a ten-gallon hat for a lid
And when he saw you it was always, "Merry Christmas Jim, how's the wife and kids."
Sam loved life and he loved people, and that was plain to see
And he spread joy and happiness around, well, almost like it was free

Sam, like a lot of us, grew up poor in money, there were a lot of times that were slim
So there were times, on Christmas morning, that the underside of the tree was rather grim
I guess that's part of the reason Sam does all of the things he does
Remembering back to those days when your present was a hug, from a heart filled with love

In his spare time Sam is a busy man, oh indeed and yes-sir-ee
He works all year, so the kids in the area will have something under the tree
He makes dolls, drums, wagons, whirl-e-gigs and such
And he paints them and dresses them and really fixes them up

He said he enjoyed making the toys and it helped to keep him busy
As if looking after a cattle ranch sometimes didn't run you to a tizzy
Truth is he enjoys it, he gets pleasure out of each and every day
But I think it helps to fill an empty spot, from his childhood that hasn't gone away

Then along about Christmas Martha and Sam bring this wagon full of toys into town
And then they get passed out to the parents of all the kids around
"Rich folks or poor folks it really doesn't matter to me,
Just as long as every kid around, has something under the tree."

Sam did something else that kinda kept Christmas going year round
He tied bits of red cloth, on trees and such, as he came and went from town
He said that the bits of red reminded him of Christmas, even in the summer's heat
And when the leaves fell from the trees, and when it snowed, they really looked neat

Young and old alike are grateful to Sam, for all that he has done
To teach us about the joy of giving and sharing and having a little fun
We are reminded, every time we see a piece of red tied to a limb or a stick
Of a fellow we are proud to know, an old cowboy we call St. Nick

Jim Owen


Read more poetry from Jim Owen here at the BAR-D.


Happy holidays folks!


Why Santa Ain't a Cowboy

"Why don't Santa use horses?" my daughter asked with a frown.
She wanted an answer, so I sat her right down.
I stopped and I pondered how to get this right,
For Santa was due not much later that night.

Well Hon, it ain't easy to be Santa you see,
He has millions of presents to deliver this eve.
When I was your age, I had that question too,
'cause it seemed to make sense to use a nag like Ol' Blue.

I thought I could lend him my best pard to use,
So I sent him a letter and gave him the news:
"Ol' Blue would be happy to help pull your sleigh,
But if you switch to horses, then you have to haul hay.

"You can't go out in your red Santa stuff,
For Blue mightn't like it and ride kind of rough.
You'd hafta wear spurs and the right kinda boot,
Not black rubber galoshes and a red velvet suit.

"A ten gallon hat would also be needed,
Not that red floppy thing that has so far succeeded.
And gloves, not mittens, would be par for the course.
You'll need all your fingers to ride my ol' horse.

"Ol' Blue can be ornery and sometimes quite nasty,
So mount him with care and don't be to hasty.
Oh yeah:  He don't fly, so don't try to make him,
If ya think you can force him your bones he'll be breakin.

"Reindeer are nice, but you can't beat a horse,
To steer you around a straight and true course.
So anyway Santa, just write me a letter,
If you like my plan and think Ol' Blue would work better."

So I licked me a stamp and I stuck it in place,
Then I sent it to Santa with a smile on my face.
I didn't hafta wait long for long for he answered right quick,
His reply wasn't long, but the package was thick.

"Do you hate me?" it said with a really said tone
"Do you want me to break all my Santa Claus bones?
Your nag sounds a nightmare; like pain is his goal,
Now here is your present," and out poured black coal.

So learn from me darling, and don't irk St. Nick,
If you want a good present, not a big bag of ick.
Santa has a system that has helped steer his course,
He don't want advice and he don't want a horse.

Dianne Baumann


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Happy holidays folks!

Dear Santa,

 Hey there! Santa-baby, with
 The twinkle in your eyes!
 You're comin' in from way up North!
 You've got a "horse" that flies!

 I know that any fella who's
 As handsome as you are,
 Would help this single lady if
 She wishes on a star!

 There's just a couple things I need
 To make my life much better.
 I'll leave a steak at hearth-side if
 You'll please just read this letter!

 First of all, the way I hear it,
 You've got extra snow.
 If you would dump some on my ranch
 I bet my grass would grow!

 Secondly, I hear you've got
 Ranch hands with pointed ears.
 If you would loan me one of them
 I'd  get my fence fixed here!

 If I could borrow Rudolph when
 You're through with him this Spring,
 I wouldn't need a brandin' iron,
 I'd use his "shiny" thing.

 I'd have to change my brand, of course,
 So it reads "Circle Spot" (0 .),
 But all the calves should love it 'cause
 It wouldn't be so hot!

 I'd like to ask you, Santa, for
 A pine tree that drops money.
 But that would make this ranchin' game
 Too easy for this honey!

 In lieu of money, Santa dear,
 Please dump,  with magic wand,
 Environmental-townies in a
 Stinkin', stagnate pond!

 If  pond had alligators or
 A real angry shark,
 That would keep those suckers busy!
 No time to plan a "park"!

 Last of all, dear Santa, I know
 You're a married guy.
 Have you got a single brother?
 Drop off as you go by?

 If he's sweet and dear and lovin' ...
 Got that twinkling eye! ...
 I'd forget the nose and tummy!
 Keep him 'til I die!

 In closin', I must thank you for
 Smiles that you bring,
 To Season's celebrations for
 Our Lord, His Son, our King!


 ...... a musing from the West by Rose Mary Allmendinger

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Happy holidays folks!

An Unlikely Angel

At Christmas time yer sure to hear,
'bout Santa, sleighbells and all round good cheer
The trees are up, all lights, ribbons, an' bows
and everyone rememberin' the worst years' snows.
At our house, however, there's one tradition we keep,
has nothin' to do with dreaming of mistletoe while you sleep
We remember a story that's been passed down and on
'bout a Christmas before, and giving that went beyond
It had been cold that year in '54,
the worst they'd seen, not this bad ever before
Alot of cows just couldn't hang in there
feed was scarce, not enough for anyone to share
The menfolk they figured this would be the end,
none could pull through, there was no money to spend
The horses were weak, the cowboys no better
when at the old farmhouse came an interestin' letter
20 years before, my Dad's grandaddy was the local Doc,
looked after all the townfolk, even the stock
When a swift talking buyer came looking for land
but he'd taken so sick he could barely stand
Now not one of the people from around the homestead,
would have lost any sleep if the man had dropped dead
He was pushy and rude and didn't care how people felt
he wanted to buy it all, no matter what was dealt
Well Papa Doc decided to treat him in any case
but when he was out of the woods, Doc got up in his face
Told him to go easy, treat others with respect and pride
for that land had held famillies, kinfolk who'd worked and died
Nobody knew where that fella went after that,
just packed up his things, left under his hat.
But that letter that came to the farmhouse in '54
left them feelin' that maybe Doc had said more
Inside was a paper with a very brief note
"with thanks and appreciation" the fella's widow had wrote
His last years were happy, spent with family and friends
she said he'd told her about Doc, at the end
It was her husbands wish that the debt be repaid
inside was a cheque for the honest profits he'd made
That winter was tough, the family barely made it through
Papa Doc would have been surprised if'n he ever knew
That the healing he'd given, to a stranger 20 years before
would end as a Christmas blessing, an angel at our door
Suzanne Ball

Read more poetry from Suzanne Ball here at the BAR-D.

Happy holidays folks!


The Christmas Sleigh

The little elf went to the barn
Where Santa kept his sleigh.
He inspected it from top to bottom,
And it seemed to be okay.

But when he tried to gently rock it
To make sure the runners both were sound,
Much to his amazement...
They were frozen to the ground.

"Santa!" he called, as he ran
To the house with Santa there,
"The sleigh's stuck to the ground,
I need your help out there!"

"What?" thundered Santa Claus,
"My sleigh's stuck to the ground?"
And when the little elf nodded,
It caused Santa Claus to frown.

"I know we waxed the runners
Before we put the sleigh away.
I can't imagine what would cause
The thing to act this way."

But once inside the barn
That housed The Christmas Sleigh,
Santa was shown the dilemma
By the little elf right away.

Santa took ahold of the side,
And tried to work it loose.
Said to the elf, "Without this sleigh
Old Santa's neck is in a noose.

I've got to deliver packages,
Down some of those chimneys,
And place some on whatever
Serves to stand in for Christmas trees.

I've got to deliver love,
To warm and trusting balconies,
And faith to ever so many
That kneel down on their knees.

I've got to deliver happiness,
To those in direst need,
And somehow find the homeless
Some place where they can feed.

I've got to deliver to children
The dreams they've given me,
And I have to deliver hope
To the weary and the diseased.

I've got to make it around the world,
To the low spots and the high."
His voice had grown into a whisper,
And the little elf heard him sigh.

"We'll hitch the reindeer to the sleigh,"
Said Santa deep in thought.
But with the reindeer hitched,
Their efforts were for naught.

Then Santa ordered water
To be brought to the sleigh.
Perhaps that would relieve the runners,
And the sleigh could be pulled away.

Water upon the runners
Quickly turned into ice,
And froze the runners once again,
And now they're frozen twice!

The little elves were startled
As Santa gave a curse.
The situation had gone to bad,
It couldn't get much worse.

And Santa in frustration
Gave the sleigh a hearty jerk,
And heard the wood of a runner give.
O God! That meant more work!

You couldn't replace a runner,
Not at this time of the year;
There wasn't time to order them
In time to get them here.

"Go out," he told the elves,
"And find me a sturdy sweetgum or oak.
We'll have to try to make a runner
To replace the one that broke."

He unhitched the reindeer,
And turned them loose again.
Just a few days left to Christmas Eve
When he'd need them all again.

He brought out the carpet heaters,
Perhaps they'd do the job.
He plugged them in and turned them on,
And no one heard him sob.

Santa didn't cry, you see,
And no one ever knew,
That in the barn that night.
He cried as his frustrations grew.

By the time the elves came back,
Santa was in command.
He helped them cut and saw,
Hone a runner down and sand.

The new piece looked really good,
And Santa told them so.
With this new runner on,
The sleigh again could go.

The barn was warm and toasty
When they entered it  at last.
And the sleigh sat free and clear,
As it had in the past.

They moved it to a dry place
To try to right the wrong.
To make it just like new,
It didn't take them long.

This time they'd be more careful
When they put up the sleigh.
They'd not go through this again.
Boy, there was no way!

"Hurry, boys!" yelled Santa,
"For I'm facing many miles,
And I have sparkles to put into eyes,
And faces to paste with smiles.

I have happiness to spread,
And peace and joy, too.
And when the sleigh was loaded,
Through the night he flew.

He spread his night of cheering,
For all the world to know,
Throughout the desert sands,
And through the driving snow.

Across the prairie grasslands,
And through the mountain trees,
And across the violent oceans
To deliver overseas.

The Christmas Sleigh made her rounds
With the new runner now in place,
And Santa kept his promises
To many a smiling face.

While back here in Santa Land,
We stood and watched him go,
And heard him calling back:

2001, Janice N. Chapman, All Rights Reserved


Read more poetry from Janice Chapman here at the BAR-D.

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


Happy holidays folks!


The Big Cold Chase

Jackpot Dokes and Redboot Bill
Were headed fast for a bunk in Hell.
The men from town were mounted good,
And were quick approachin' where the cowboys stood.

Shinin' bars from the moon shone down
And lit the trail for the men from town.
The snow was light, their hosses fresh,
And the posse knew that they'd soon catch
Them thieves who stole their prize.

Jackpot Dokes and Redboot Bill
Wheeled  'round and struck the hill.
Pushin' their ponies hard, they fought
Up through the drifts, to the the place they sought.

Shinin' bars from the moon shone down
And lit the trail for the men from town.
The snow was deeper, their hosses slowed,
But still, in his mind, each posseman knowed
Them thieves would pay the price!

With one hand froze to the saddle horn,
Jackpot urged his black hoss on.
Redboot put a spur to the grey,
Thinkin' they still might get away.

Shinin' bars from the moon shone down
And lit the trail for the men from town.
With hooves crackin' sharp on the icy slope,
The posse began to lose the hope
That the thieves could be caught that night.

Glancin' down, Jackpot spied
The posse worn, but comin' hard.
So Redboot pulled his hogleg slow
And fired a round above the posse below!

Shinin' bars from the moon shone down
And lit the trail for the men from town.
Like equine engines their hosses blew
Ice-white steam, and each man knew
The thieves might win this race.

Clamberin' up on the icy crest,
Jackpot and Redboot swung due west.
Though the tall black hoss was heavin',
And the grey that Redboot forked was weavin',
The cowboys pushed their pace.

Shinin' bars from the moon shone down
And lit the trail for the men from town.
With hosses iced and froze half over,
The posse finally reached the bower
Where the thieves had turned their steeds.

Jackpot slid the black to a stop
On the frosty white plain of the mountain top.
Redboot swung from the grey and swore
"I ain't gonna drag that thang no more!"

Shinin' bars from the moon shone down
And lit the trail for the men from town.
Their hosses now were nearly spent,
When cold words hissed from one ol' gent
"Them thieves just cain't be caught!"

Grabbin' the prize between froze gloves,
Jackpot lifted while Redboot shoved.
When they got their plunder stood up straight,
A catbird's grin cracked on each cold face.

Shinin' bars from the moon shone down
And lit the trail for the men from town.
While hoss hooves crunched on the high plateau,
A posseman grumbled soft and low,
"I thinks I sees our thieves."

Whilst stuffin' wax on hard green branches,
The two cold 'punchers did stiff-legged dances.
And by lightin' the wicks on all them waxes,
The owlhoots thawed their froze moustaches.

Shinin' bars from the moon shone down
And lit the trail for the men from town.
Their hosses beat, the posse neared the pair,
And their whiskers sparkled in the cold, night air.
Them thieves had won the prize!

Jackpot howled and stomped around
And Redboot's gunshots shook the ground!
As the weary posse edged up close,
The cowboys let their yodels loose!

Shinin' bars from the moon shone down
And lit the trail for the men from town.
Their hosses pleased now to rest and blow,
The posse dismounted and walked up slow.
And they watched the thieves go wild!

"Is this glowin' thang you see ahead,
What you were chasin'?,"  Jackpot said.
"Hell, we left a trail even YOU could foller
So's you'd come and join us!," Redboot hollered.

Shinin' bars from the moon shone down
And lit the trail for the men from town.
Their hosses nuzzled the black and the grey,
And one of the town men stepped up to say
"You stole our prize, you thieves!"

Jackpot howled a wolf's loud yowl,
And he stomped the ground with glee!
"What better prize to steal this night ,
Than your big, ol' CHRISTMAS TREE!"

Redboot removed a bright red sash
From around his goose-bumped neck.
And he hung it on a needled branch
With gnarled, but gentle hands.
And Jackpot said, "This tree was meant,
To stand tall on the land.
And be festooned with pretty stuff.
Come on, boys! Join our band!"

Shinin' bars from the moon shone down
And lit the trail for the men from town.
Their hosses grouped on the mountain nook
And shared their warmth with ease,
Whilst the town preacher took from his bag a book,
And said, "Now, listen, please.

"These thieves that we have captured here,
Are mentioned in this Book.
They're like the two, who Jesus knew,
And God knows, these boys are crooks!

"But what did they do with their ill-got gain?
They led us to this knoll.
On a winter night, so cold and bleak,
So each of us would know:
That God was born of a Virgin pure
On a night quite like tonight.

"So let's festoon this Christmas tree
And make it's lights blaze bright!"

Jackpot Dokes and Redboot Bill,
Upon hearin' that preacher's word,
Knew then that their souls weren't goin' to Hell,
And they loosened up their Colt's!
They fired high in the sharp, night air,
Like men who knew their Lord!

And the town men did the same.
And friends...

That's how this story ends.
1998, Pat "Pinto" Schutz


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Happy holidays folks!


From our pard Kimberly:





Page Seventeen



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