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Behind the Grindstone: Cow Country Santa

By Bill Bunting

December 8, 2023

I went to town last night and saw all the Christmas lights lighting up Main. All of a sudden I realized December is just a few days away. And with it Christmas. Now is the time to dig out those Christmas poems we only get to use once a year. Hope you all enjoy the Christmas season.

The old man and his grandson
Sittin’ in a reclinin’ chair
A place of close contentment
They spent time together there

The son of the son
The old man had sired
Who respected his Pops
The man he admired

He said, Pops I gotta question
I wanna’ know how you feel
Do you believe in Santa
Do you believe Santa’s real

Some say it is true
Some say it’s not so
I told them I’d ask you Pops
Cause I knew you would know

Cause you know about everything
And even some more
And you’d have the answer
I told them for shore

Well, the old man pulled on his mustache
As he pondered a while
Then looked at his grandson
And said with a smile

Twas the night before Christmas
And all cross the range
Not a critter was a stirrin’
Which seemed mighty strange

And I was about your age
Just a six year old kid
But I’d hid to catch Santa
And I’m shore glad I did

I was hid in a corner
Plum back outta sight
I figgerd I might have to
Stay there all night

So I had a couple a blankets
And a pillow for my head
I was feelin’ right cozy
In my makeshift bed

Now the wood stove was burnin’
And still glowin’ bright
If he came down our chimney
He’s shore be a sight

When I heard a sound
Like the sound of a hoof
But it came from the yard
Not up on the roof

So I peaked out the window
As quick as could be
I just wanted to see
What there was to see

There weren’t no reindeer
And there weren’t no sleigh
Just a string of pack horses
And a good lookin’ bay

They weren’t on the roof
They were there in the yard
And those horses shore looked
Like they’d been rode hard

They were ground hitched
In the fresh fallen snow
Who was ridin’ that bay
I shore wanted to know

Then the door was flung open
Just how I don’t know
But in walked this cowboy
All covered with snow

There weren’t an ounce of fat on him
He was lanky and thin
With a big bushy mustache
Drooped plum past his chin

From his vest to his chaps
He was dressed all in leather
With an old Carhart coat
He was dressed for the weather

He walked like he’d spent
His life in the saddle
You could tell by his boots
He’d been workin’ some cattle

‘Cause the heels of his boots
Were caked with manure
He was a real cowboy
I’ll tell you for sure

And the way he was dressed
And the stride that he had
There shore was a resemblance
Of my own dad

Why his boots looked the same
I’ll tell you for sure
‘Cause my dad’s boots
Were always caked with manure

And the mustache he had
Looked just the same
It was the sleep in my eyes
I thought was to blame

And the pack that he had
Slung ‘cross his back
Was nothin’ but an old
Burlap feed sack

With a twinkle in his eye
He pulled on his mustache
Dug deep in his sack
It was shore quite a stash

When the sack was empty
He gave it a shake
The last thing fell out
Was a piece of cotton seed cake

Then he counted all the presents
Makin’ sure none were missed
Got out his tally book
And checked off his list

He looked at the stove
Then at the door
And decided to go out
How he’d came in before

He swung in the saddle
With such ease and grace
Touched his spurs to that bay
And they shot into space

As he flew in the night
Pack horses and all
I heard him yell, “Merry Christmas”
“Merry Christmas y’all”

I woke up in the mornin’
All the presents were there
And all I could do
Was wonder and stare

I wondered if it was real
Or if I’d just dreamed
But it must be real
As real as it seemed

Then I remembered the sack
That he’d given a shake
And there on the floor
Was the cotton seed cake.

At least, that’s the view here from behind the grindstone.

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