Christmas at the BAR-D Ranch  2001

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Happy holidays folks!


I'll Be Good

"Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep;
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.

"My Pa's gone off and left us,
My mama said that he would;
If you tell me what I did wrong, Lord,
I promise this time I'll be good."

My little brother's bedtime prayer
That Ma and I chanced to hear,
Nearly broke our hearts in two,
Especially this time of year.

"An' Santy, if you're listenin',
You can unpack all my toys,
What I did must be awful bad.
So give 'em to good little boys.

"I can do a whole lot better,
If you whisper it to me tonight...
I can't be really good, Lord,
If I don't know just what's right."

I knew that he'd cry himself out
And go to sleep before very long.
I prayed, "Lord, please show me a way
To prove that little boy wrong."

Next morning, we wrote our letters
To Santa Claus, with hope,
We laid them in th' woodstove,
They flew to Saint Nick in the smoke.

Charlie said, "Santy won't get mine;
'Cause I know I ain't been good..
Phooey", I said, "we'll write ten of them;
I'll go fetch in more wood."

We wrote his over and over,
And sent them all up in flames;
'Now! If Santa doesn't get all those
We certainly can't be to blame!"

I stayed up late; I had made plans
To get Charlie back on track.
I hoped he might understand better,
If St. Nicholas wrote him back.

Before I stirred fire next morning,
I ran to awaken the boy;
"Charlie, you've got a big surprise!
And... this is the real McCoy!"

The letter propped on the kettle,
Was tied with green and red bows,
With my brother's name in big letters
And a Santa Claus sticker below.

The edges were singed just a little
To show it had come through fire;
Mama came back in from feedin'
Just in time to inquire...

"What's goin' on? Oh, my gracious!
I can tell that letter is real.
I got one just like it when I was small .
I wonder what yours will reveal!"

Of course, it read just as you'd expect..
Santa knew how good Charlie'd been;
"In fact," he wrote, "if I've seen better,
I sure can't remember just when!"

The letter told Charlie he was special,
That he'd done the best that he knew,
It ended with, "P.S. Charlie, the Lord
Says he sends his love along, too."

2001, Byrd Woodward


Arizona Christmas Eve

In the desert southwest, when Santa got dressed,
He found he was hotter than Hades.
His winter suit wouldn't do, when in dust storms he flew,
Prescott Valley had never been shady.

The next thing you know, when Saint Nicholas would go,
He left everything off but his undies.
He planned every trip, so he could just whip
Through the heat weekdays or even on Sundays.

Santa's plan worked out fine, over many years' time,
He'd decided on red shorts with white fur.
The reindeer would hoot, at his 'near birthday suit,'
And the workshop elves would concur!

For the next hundred years, Old Nick flew with no fears,
Until one night the sleigh missed a turn.
Kris Kringle bounced out, the gifts sailed about,
When the 'bow' of the sled became 'stern.'

Santa's shorts were hung out, on our grandson's down spout,
Kris was found hanging in them next morning.
While the reindeer were grazing, and the neighbors were gazing,
The gutter gave away without warning.

Nick's fur jockeys went RR-II-PPPP !  Then he started to slip,
Gus shouted,  "Santy Claus, don't you worry."
He dashed for his 'dune tube', as the bare-ended old dude's
Red shorts gave away in a flurry!

Wearing nothing but boots, in his real 'birthday suit,'
Santa lit on a cushion he thought was rubber.
He bounced back up high, nearly clear to the sky,
Gus's 'dune tube' was made out of flubber!

Rudolph blew his nose flute and gave St. Nick a salute,
The rest of the team shouted and laughed.
Santa blushed a bright red, from the top of his head,
To his bottom, which was feeling a draft.

The sled on the rooftop had slipped off with a plop,
Nick had landed on a spot that was sandy.
He was laid out quite flat, on his tummy so fat,
And was covered with kid's toys and candy.

Gus's mom had been a clown, of some eminent renown,
She dived into her closet with speed.
"Put this costume on quick,"  Robin cried to Saint Nick,
"I'm sure that it's just what you need!"

When Santa was dressed, he seemed quite distressed,"
"What will the kiddies think of me now?"
"What would they conclude, if you showed up in the nude?
You're very modestly dressed... as a COW!"

So Kris Kringle drove away, in his reindeer powered sleigh,
Looking to the whole world like a Hereford.
The 'Ghost Riders' harassed him...NASA 's trackers had passed him,
On their RADAR...he was just one of the herd !

This year when you perceive, a red sled Christmas Eve,
Look up to see what that Jolly Elf 's wearing.
He'll be dressed for high heat, in red Burmuda's so neat,
'Cause he's sure all of Arizona is staring!
2001, Byrd Woodward


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

Happy holidays folks!


High Plains Christmas

On the high plains desert the people make jokes
About how the weather kin change
In jist twelve hours go from kickin' up dust
To three feet a' snow on the range

Now that figgers out t'three inches an hour
An' that's comin' down real steady
It kin leave a herd in a heckuva jam
If y'don't have things all ready

One Christmas Eve it snowed like that
I think Sixty-Eight was the year
Seems like it wasn't too awful far back
But the memory's dang sure clear

The holiday spirit must'a got in the way
I dunno how else t'excuse it
We had enough hay fer our three hunderd cows
But no way that nobody could use it

Then some kind soul in the National Guard
Flew  out with their whirlybird
Set down by the barn where we loaded 'em up
An' they carried our hay t'the herd

The storm didn't last but a day er two
But them boys an' girls stayed on it
An' it weren't jist us them people helped
They helped anyone who'd want it

That's one fine Christmas we'll not fergit
An' the snow that come down so hard
An' how we was saved from a real bad time
By our friends in the National Guard

On the high plains dessert we still make jokes
How the weather kin suddently change
But we'll not fergit jist how lucky we was
Fer the help that we got on the range

Bunkhouse Poems and Tall Tales
2001, Hal Swift


Candles on the Christmas Tree

I jist remembered a Yuletide thing
I almost plumb fergot
An' that's candles, lighted on the Christmas tree
Nossir, I kid you not

On Christmas Eve all our fambly went
To our Grammaw's house t'eat
She'd got the dinin' room all spruced up
An' the food was really neat

This Grammaw we saw was m'mother's mom
An' the ranch house was big an' old
A fireplace an' wood stove heated it all
An' the rooms could be damp an' cold

If you's fambly you'd go to the livin' room
To the parlor if you was a guest
But on Christmas Eve we'd git t'go to both
Cuz we was all dressed up in our best

The Christmas Tree was in the parlor
But when all the folks'd got there
All us kids'd go to the dinin' room
But y'know we didn't care

Grammaw'd take all the wimminfolk
An' slide shut the parlor door
A couple a men stayed with all of us kids
While we rassled around on the floor

We'd all eat powdered sugar cookies
Till we almost got the cramps
Then one a the men'd say, Kids, it's time
An' we'd blow out all the lamps

Someone'd slide back that parlor door
Without even usin' the handles
An' there'd be that big ol' Christmas Tree
With the light of a hundred candles

It was almost more'n a kid could stand
That tree looked bigger than ever
An' fer alla that beauty we owed our thanks
To the wimminfolks' endeavor

We was so impressed that we couldn't talk
Jist stood with our mouths wide open
They was presents galore all over the floor
Some fer each, us kids was hopin'

We squinted at the gifts, each tryin' to see
If our names we could distinguish
But before the presents got handed out
They's the candles to extinguish

While the lamps got turned up t'git more light
Grownups by the tree would blow
An' us kids, bein' careful not t'start a fire
Got t'snuff out the candles below

I know this is somethin' you won't see today
Cuz now it's jist part of the lore
But way back then, when I was a kid
You jist couldn't ask fer more

Candles on the Christmas Tree pleased me as a kid
An' it's somethin' I miss as a man
I'll never fergit how that candle wax smelled
But if I close m'eyes I still can

Bunkhouse Poems and Tall Tales
2001, Hal Swift


Santy's Christmas Trick

Early on Christmas mornin'
I snuck down to our big ol' tree
To see what presents Santy'd brought
But there wasn't a one for me

Now I was some disappointed
Cuz I knew that I'd been good
So I went lookin' all through the house
In ever dang place I could

I looked out on the cold back porch
And under the kitchen sink
And I looked underneath the old dog house
I didn't know what to think

Oh, I found Christmas candy
And plenty a'presents, too
But I found nothin' that had my name
And I was feelin' blue

If y'add up all the hired hands' kids
An' the four that lived in our place
It couldn't of been sich a dadblamed chore
Fer Santy t'show 'is face
Now, I knew the old boy'd been here
An' I had me plenty a' proof
When I got a look at the reinder man-oo-er
Scattered all over the roof

So use yer brain, I told myself
You know you was good, I said
Then I remembered the birthday boots
That I found once under m'bed

I couldn't wait t'git up the stairs
An' in through m'bedroom door
Then down on m'knees to look under m'bed
An' it was all right there on the floor

Ol' Santy hadn't fergot me at all
He was playin' a Christmas trick
An' I'll never fergit all the gifts that year
That I got from old Saint Nick

Bunkhouse Poems and Tall Tales
2001, Hal Swift

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


Happy holidays folks!


Special Day

The air outside was near freezing cold
just a couple of stars seemed to shine
inside the line shack a fire
gave off a scent of pine
pretty close, but safely bundled
a cowboy slept wrapped up
lost in a dream of his favorite horse
like it was a new born pup
they swept across the rangeland
like the ride wouldn't ever end
two critters joined by a feeling
kindred spirits of the wind
but soon the dawn it cracked
and the cold woke up the hand
who sat up quick and stoked the fire
cause he rode for the brand
but today there was something different
coursing through the air
and he paused to think of his family
for a moment he'd like to be there
then he said out loud to himself
"I've got to get on my way.
Me and that pony got to find us a tree,
cause this here is Christmas day."

"California Steve" Dirksen

Read more of Lariat Laureate Runner Up "California Steve" Dirksen's
 poetry here at the BAR-D.

Steve Dirksen, photo courtesy of Mr. Dirksen

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


Page Sixteen



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