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In Lieu of a Christmas Card This Year...



Christmas Eve Morning, Stuck at the Ranch

Christmas Eve mornin' an' I'm stuck way out here

Four hours from town an' holiday cheer.

Cuss my sorry luck! I'm the new hand, I know,

But still, it ain't fair the Boss said I can't go

Into town with the others to celebrate there.

While they're havin' fun, I'm stuck 'way out here.

Oh, I'm not all alone, the coosie came back

From town with supplies. Now he's in his shack

A'stirrin' up somethin' from out of a book.

He's not a bad fella for a cowboy camp cook,

But he's an old hand. Forty-seven next year!

Just too old to mind bein' stuck 'way out here.

Well, grumblin' won't make the day any more fun

An' I've got a full day of chores to get done.

First feed the stock then break up the ice

That froze in th' troughs and buckets last night.

My pards drink hot cider and sing "Deck the Halls"

While I'm stuck 'way out here muckin' out stalls.

Oh, I knew what I's doin', signin' on as a hand,

A cowpuncher's life, it ain't always grand.

You ride early 'til late mos' ever durned day,

An' work hot, tired and dirty. You sure earn your pay!

You feel ev'ry emotion, joy, anger an' fear.

They're part of the job when you live 'way out here.

That old round pen gate is creakin' an' draggin',

Another half-hour an' I'll quit it from saggin'.

I scoop grain for the hosses from out of a sack,

Then traipse back to the stable to mend some old tack.

How long has it been? I guess nearly a year

I signed on to cowboy an' live 'way out here.

The stable's all quiet, an' I start reminiscin'

'Bout all of the good things I think I've been missin'.

But after a spell feelin' sorry for me

My thoughts turn to all of them things I'd not see,

Like a just-borned new foal, or that big herd of deer,

If I lived in town an' not 'way out here.

My hoss stamps his foot. I stand...stretch...and then

I give him a carrot from out of the bin.

I glance out the window at the sun's fadin' glow

An' think of a stable twenty centuries ago.

A new ma an’ pa, and a Babe lyin' there.

They tell He left heaven to live 'way down here.

Why, the cowboy church preacher said that He did

As he told us a story I'd heard as a kid,

Of a king who was born just as common as me,

Who followed a trail that led to a tree,

An' now sits by the Father, in heaven somewhere,

To give life forever to sinners down here.

Christmas Eve in a stable, guess there's no better place

To think about life, and God's lovin' grace.

An' then I feel growin' a glow in my chest

As it dawns on me just how much I've been blessed

To be warmed by His sun and to breathe His clean air

He don't make for the city...but for just 'way out here.

While my pards take in the sights of the town

I've got all of Creation, if I just look around.

They're eatin' stuffed turkey and pie with ice cream,

But I've got Coosie's good biscuits and bacon and beans.

I add up my blessin's and feel downright cheered.

Maybe life ain't so bad after all 'way out here.

©H R Chafin, 2013, 2015


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