Christmas Eve, 1892
I have spent a lifetime cultivating friends. It has been a gratifying experience on my part. I hope it has been for those who have befriended me. At this time of year, we are inclined to recognize the sincerity of friendship. I would love to list each one individually, but I could not possibly single out any one person for to do so would overlook someone and that would clearly not be my intent. So, allow me to use this platform as my way of saying Merry Christmas to all my friends of today and those of years past and to all my family members.
Times have changed so much and so fast over the years. I do not send out Christmas Cards as I once did. I suppose social media has a lot to do with that. But with the technology of that medium, this will serve as my Christmas greetings. My family is scattered and grown with grandchildren of their own. Each family celebrates Christmas in traditions and customs of their making. However, the custom and tradition of family love is inherent in each. I love my family and support each as we welcome the celebration of the Christ Child.
From time to time I dabble in Cowboy Poetry. This is a poem of such in recognition of the celebrated Child.
It was Christmas Eve in eighteen ninety-two
when the crusty old cowboy come riding thru.
the years ain’t been too kind to his wrinkled old skin
but that wasn’t stopping his toothy old grin.
He was wearing his frazzled and moth-eaten old coat
with a dull-colored scarf wrapped ‘round his throat.
under his coat he wore an old woolen shirt
thread-bare ‘round the elbows and covered with dirt.
His legs was all chafed by the rough leather straps
of his battered and weathered scruffy old chaps.
His tattered old hat barely covered his wind-reddened face,
wrinkled and wearied by a tediously…backbreaking pace.
His worn-out old boots had known much better days
When they weren’t stuck in the stirrups rounding up strays.
Ain’t been no easy years for this doddering cowpoke
For he’s played out his life mostly hard up and broke.
Been riding the range for most all his existence
Depending on nature for all his subsistence
Too many Christmases have passed him on by
But this one seems different yet he can’t figure why
May be he’s thinking it’s the end of his ride
And there’s a few things in this life he ain’t never tried.
Like hearing a preacher tell and discuss
’bout ashes to ashes and dust to dust.
Or hearing the story of the birth of Christ
Born in a stable under the Daystar’s light.
This old cowboy ain’t figured it out just yet
But when it finally comes ‘round he won’t ever forget.
Now he’s close to the end of this rough cowboy life
And he’s tired of the anguish, torment and strife.
But he ain’t never stepped foot inside of no church
So, he’s got no sense about where he should search.
But the voice in his mind kept telling him ride,
Keep riding cowpoke, the Lord will provide.
So, the crusty old cowboy woke up before dawn.
This was the day before Christmas so he kept riding on,
for there was a particular… place the voice said to be
and he needed to be there… on Christmas Eve.
He rode into town feeling so distressed
When a stranger asked him, “would you be my guest?”
The crusty old cowboy felt a sense of relief
As the dark-headed stranger shared his belief.
The old cowboy wondered if he could hear more
‘bout what all that happened on that stable floor.
And he wanted to know ‘bout any gifts he should bring
The stranger said, “He is the gift, He is the King”.
This old cowboy’s at the end of his rough cowboy life
He’s tired of the anguish, torment and strife.
He’s looking to finish with a whisper and smile.
Knowing Jesus is what makes it all worthwhile.
No more dust and grit to choke when you ride.
No more chasing strays and branding their hide.
No more riding watch in the middle of night
No more wrangling horses in the flickering light.
You signed on to ride with Christ the rest of your days
You’ve stood your ground and heeded His ways.
No more riding ‘crost the prairie plain
All wrapped in a poncho fighting the rain.
I’ve fixed up a camp spot high on a hill,
with bedrolls and blankets, in case there’s a chill.
There’s a campfire burning that never needs wood
A cast iron pot of beans that always tastes good.
Sourdough biscuits made the campfire way
and cowboy coffee to start your day.
And if you think you might… just get the urge
To ride the range where the rivers converge,
Then your dusty old bay is tethered near by
You can ride forever ‘neath the clear blue sky.
And the angels all gathered to sing and shout
Surely, old cowboy, you’ve figured that out.
It didn’t seem much like Christmas Eve he thought…
But his life was made new by the gift that Christ brought.
So on Christmas Eve in eighteen ninety-two
The crusty old cowboy comes riding thru
His looks had been changed from his wrinkled old skin
But there sure wern’t no mistaking his toothy old grin.
The story goes on ‘bout stars in the sky,
How the cattle are lowing but the baby don’t cry
How the bells keep on ringing the news for today
That the Christ Child was born on Christmas day
on this Christmas Eve he was feeling so blest.
This crusty old cowboy heading for a long winter rest.
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT