By David Kelley
'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.
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,
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 chaps 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 darn 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 dag-burn holdup?
We won't be back till next year 'cause we're flat broke.
Merry Christmas, my eye, I just busted a spoke!"
About the Author
Howdy! my name is David Kelley, and I was born in the panhandle of Texas in 1943, west of Lubbock, Tx., in the thriving metropolis of Levelland, Tx.. Yes Margaret, there really is such a place as Levelland. I’ve been writing cowboy poetry off and on for twenty years, mostly off. I came to know some of the older lingo, due to my surroundings, and as I got into poetry, it just came natural to write the way I talked. I came by most of my stories honestly, by the limited experiences I've had, and the fact that one side of the family was almost all cowboys. I spent a good deal of time as a child on The Pitchfork Ranch, (as we called it back then, actually The Pitchfork Land & Cattle Company) near Guthrie, Texas. I had a dear uncle who was the "Farm Camp Manager" for the "Pitchfork" for years. He and his brothers, Porter, Jack, and his dad, King David Myers, cowboy'd all around the Caprock area of Texas all their lives. They're all dead now and I felt an obligation to put some of their stories, as well as some of my own, down for my kids, and others who might be interested. Some of my wife's family are subjects of my poetry as well. I feel blessed and honored by the interest in my work thus far. I have made every attempt to be accurate, and authentic, as well as informative and entertaining. It is my desire that you would see our poetry as your introduction to the past, and to the future as well. My attempt in writing this poetry is to immortalize the working cowboy lifestyle, and his forefathers. While the cowboy is not perfect, he certainly embodies the spirit of goodness and fair play that we could all use in this imperfect world we live in.
I write about the working cowboy because I should have been one, and blew my chance, and because folks on the street today need to remember what the cowboys down through history have done for them. I write about the working cowboy, and perform at gatherings when I get the opportunity, because it's one of the last forms of entertainment, void of the filth and garbage in most other forms of entertainment today. I write so little Johnny down the street can find out about his grandpa, or uncle, in an amusing, or even a serious way, without having to wade through trash to get there.
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Good morning, David Kelly. I loved the poem--poetry? You're quite good. Levelland? My "old stomping grounds." My daddy was with an oil company, and in 1950 at age 10, I moved to Levelland with my parents and two sisters. There we remained until we all married and moved away. My husband, also, was raised in Levelland (he was born in Pettit), and he had relatives there--and still does. It's still the place I call "home."ReplyDelete
Thanks for visitiing the Sweethearts--and now you can join Dac Crossley as an honorary member of our group!
David, thank you so much for sharing your fun poem with us today. Merry Christmas!ReplyDelete
Well thank you Celia, I accept your invitation proudly, especially coming from a countryman. Actually I only stopped off in Levelland after spending 9 months with my Mom, on the way to "Maple, Tx." MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone.ReplyDelete
Howdy David, I love your cowboy version of a Night Before Christmas. Thanks for sharing it with us. Merry Christmas!ReplyDelete
Thank you for a wonderful "cowboy" Christmas poem! Cowboy poetry from true cowboys is a dying art. Merry Christmas!ReplyDelete