Christmas at the BAR-D Ranch  2001

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Happy holidays folks!


An Encounter

I had just settled down
in my warm winter bed
when I heard something thumping
above my poor head.
Up there on high
on the canvas so tight
something was creeping
along through the night.
It was just when
I thought I should scoot
the canvas tore open
and I saw a black boot.
He was cussing and fussing,
it was really quite weird.
Then he fell on through,
landed there on his beard.
He was mussed up and fussed up
and a raggedy disgrace,
and it didn't help him much
with my shotgun in his face!
"What the heck are you doing?
I was trying to sleep.
I gotta' get up early
and go herd my sheep!"
I waved my gun at him--
it caused him to pause,
"Well, settle down there, sheepherder,
I'm jest old Santy Clause.
Come to bring you a treat
way out here on the range."
"Yeah, right, you old coot--
you're sure looking strange.
I s'pose your deer landed
up on my canvas roof
and that rumble I heard
was of each tiny hoof!"
"Do you have some whiskey?
I could sure use a toddy--
this tumble I took
kinda' shook up my body."
He snorted and sputtered
and shook his old head--
"One more night like this
and Ole Santa will be dead!
Put that derned gun down,
don't you recognize me?
See my coat and my bag
and the gifts that are free?
Well, I lit up the lantern
and decide what he said
might just be true
and I was out of my head.
"I aint heard of Santa
climbing up on sheepwagons."
"Well, the reindeer got tired
and were all kinda laggin',
so I give 'em a rest
up on top of that butte
and decided to visit,
'till I slipped with my boot.
Your sox are hung out
over there by the stove--
my lord they could walk!
Is the water all froze?"
"Well, you aint too clean either
and you ruined my roof.
Now are you gonna fix it
and give me some proof
of just who you are--
'cause I want some I.D.
You're a scraggly old Santa
and sure don't look real to me."
By then he had regained
his balance and stance,
he took 2 or 3 steps
and one heckuva chance
by touching those sox
'cause they surely did stink.
He put some spurs in them
and gave me a wink.
He gave a wide smile
and a small tree appeared
there on the side bench
and he wiggled his beard,
and little lights shone
with an angel on top.
This bird was sure Santa
and I nearly did drop.
I dug out the whiskey
and poured out a jigger,
for him and for me,
'cause I needed to figure.
"Well, I've got to go,
you sheepherding sot.
You'd best get some sleep
for you've seen a lot."
He popped through the roof
just a' wiggling his beard,
popped over the hill
and soon disappeared.
It was a memorable Christmas--
yep, I'll long remember that one--
for he left rusty spurs--
and stole my shotgun!

Jean Mathisen

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Carol of the Wild 

Old dog coyote of Simpson's Hill
is howling out tonight.
Singing chorus with the wind
beneath the full moon's light.

His song, it is a lonely sound--
a carol of the lost.
Of the wild and wary way of life
for those who are storm-tossed.

My heart is crying out with him
as I sit here in line camp--
thinking back on years gone by
and my eyes get kinda' damp.

The girl I left so far behind
when I chose the cowboy way.
My folks who wonder where I've gone
and regrets come back my way.

It's nearly getting Christmas time,
I've no wreath nor Christmas tree.
The times are lonely in the camp,
just dog coyote and me.

But now a star shines 'bove the ridge,
it has a blinding light,
reminding me of joyous times
and the meaning of this night.

Old dog coyote of Simpson's Hill
is crying out tonight,
singing chorus with the wind
and a carol of Christmas Eve night.

Jean Mathisen

(I wrote this a few years ago when there was actually a full moon on
Christmas Eve--only happens every 30 years or so.)

You can read more of Jean Mathisen's poetry 
right here at the BAR-D.

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


Happy holidays folks!


Jinglebobs a Ringin'

Jinglebobs a ringin', stars a shinin' brite.
Me & the boys are a headin' into town tonite.
Ponies steppin' lively, each man on his favorite one
There's gonna be a dance we're a aimin' fer some fun

The boys with shaves & haircuts, brand new shirts and jeans
Best hats all a brushed up, boots shined up and an' clean.
One or two is wearin' suits, Curley even found hisself a tie.
We think he's courtin' Emma Simms but, he'll say, "It's a lie"!

Purty gals in dresses, dudes in bowler hats,
Kids runnin'all over, chasin' dogs an' cats.
Everyone's a grinnin', shakin' hands, slappin' backs
Some arrive a horseback, others drivin' fancy hacks.

Fiddle, banjo, guitar and an old-time washboard bass
Folks a dancin', clappin' hands, a smile on every face.
Food to feed an army, chicken, biscuits, steaks
Platters full o' candy, cookies, pies an' cakes.

Out back in the haystack someone's stashed a jug,
We step outside a time or two, take a little tug.
Thanksgivin's over. Christmas is a drawin' nigh
Air is crisp & cold, they's snowclouds in the sky.

Supposed t' take yer spurs off but, listen to the sound
O' jinglebobs a ringin', as ya swing them girls around.
An' if yer not real careful, you'll end up on the ground
Jinglebobs a ringin' as yer trippin' up & fallin' down.

While we wuz standing by the door, Pearley Gates slips me a note,
As she's a leavin' with her parents an' a puttin'on her coat.
"I saw you were eyeballin' me most o' the night, You didn't have to mope.
There's another dance on New years Eve, you'll be much braver then, I hope."

Jinglebobs a ringin, ridin thru the fallin' snow
New hope fer times a comin' singin' soft and low.
Horses pickin' up the pace, they know there headin' home.
May these holidays find you at peace, everywhere you roam.

2001, S. J. Passamonte

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      A Christmas Thought

      Christmas is just around the corner, tho' things is kinda slow.
      We're all a waitin', watchin', wondrin' which way things'll go.
      We all need to remember a child that was born 2,000 years ago,
      That someone's up there watchin' out fer us, we all need to know.
      They's a lots a smarter people , Lord, I'm just an old cowpoke
      May our hopes and prayers ride up to you upon the campfire smoke.


2001, S. J. Passamonte        


You can read more of S. J. Passamonte's poetry 
right here at the BAR-D.




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