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The Nooseletter
Vol. 1 - No. 9 December, 2019 Nooseletter Home SUBMIT AN ARTICLE
 
The Christmas Story

The kerosene lamp burned brightly all night in the window that faced to the south.
A blue norther blew through the cracks in the door; the rain would soon end the drought.
He left her early that morning to search for that black baldy cow,
That cow always had trouble calving; he must sell her someday, somehow.

His wife, she would not worry until sunset as the wind still blew up the draw.
It would not warm the entire day and the water in the trough wouldn't thaw.
She'd be up all night waiting for him while the lamp flickered and the wind blew cold.
She'd lay the Bible on the rickety old table to again read the story of old.

They had always read it together, the story of the first Christmas Eve,
But tonight she would read it without him, as she tried very hard not to grieve.
Then the creak of his saddle awoke her, as he put the stray cow in the pen.
She raised her head from the Bible and wondered where in the world he'd been.

She built up the fire in the old wood stove and brewed coffee in the old porcelain pot.
She heard him merrily call her name as he came to the house at a trot.
He bounded up the steps of the weathered old porch, as he tried to forget the cold.
He could hardly believe the events of the night, a night he would forever behold.

He'd left out early on that Christmas Eve morn, headed out towards the Rio Grande.
That old blue norther chilled him to the bone as he rode cross this barren cold land.
He rode all day in search of that cow, no telling where she could be,
And then at dusk he found her and her calf, sheltered ‘neath an old mesquite tree.

As the sun set slowly in the west, "Let's head on home," he said.
But they hadn't gone but a mile or two when they came to an abandoned old shed.
They'd best stop here and camp for the night and get out of this howling gale.
He knew that she'd be worried, and that sad old wind did wail.

But wait, what was that noise he heard? The wind was now only a sigh.
The stars lit the heavens and desert below as he opened the shed door wide.
"Por favor, Senor," the young Mexican said. "We are lost and don't know the way.
Could we please shelter in your shed tonight? You see mi esposa needs a place to stay."

"Seguro que si, yes, you can!" the cowboy replied. "I'd be honored to have you stay.
We'll stoke the fire and warm you up. It's been a long, cold, dreary day."
"My name is Jose and this is Maria," the young Mexican said with pride.
"Tonight I fear the babe will come; Maria has had a long, long hard ride."

The donkey she rode stood quite still, as they helped Maria to the ground.
"Gracias, gracias!" he thanked him again. His words rang with a heavenly sound.
They fixed Maria a bed made of hay, then soon they all went to sleep.
But they awoke to the voice of a shepherd, calling softly to his sheep.

The norther outside had stopped blowing, the stars were shinning bright.
And there in the manger, a baby, born on this holiest, holiest of nights.
Then thundering hooves broke the silence they were unable to say a word.
As out of the darkness came cattle, a ghostly stampeding herd.

The herd was followed by cowboys, apparitions all clothed in white.
Their saddles were laden with silver; they were such a heavenly sight.
The horses they rode were translucent, from their hooves lightening did spark.
They came in a luminous whirlwind, they made the night no longer seem dark.

They dismounted and approached the manger and left their cache on the ground.
They remounted and rode off in silence; no one made a sound.
The cowboy finally caught his breath, while Jose and Maria did pray.
They thanked the Lord for the baby and the gifts they were given this day.

They covered the babe with a poncho, even though it was tattered and old.
They knew that it would protect him from the wind and the bone chilling cold.
The cowboy awoke the next morning; in the night the fire had gone out.
But where was Jose and Maria? As silently he looked about.

"Guess I must a’ been dreaming," he said as he carefully looked around.
He poured the last of his coffee on an amber coal on the ground.
He picked up his saddle and blanket and as he prepared to go
He noticed lying in the manger a tattered and old poncho.

He folded it gently to put in his pack, took his saddle and went to the door,
He then saw the note that was tacked to a post, "Muchas, gracias, forever, Senor."
He thought of his life here in Texas, he thought of his wife at home,
He knew she was worrying about him; he knew she was cold and alone.

He pointed the cow and calf north, if he hurried he could make home soon.
If they didn't have any problems, he could be at his table by noon.
The lamp in the window would welcome him and happily he called her name.
The wind was beginning to die down then he noticed the flickering flame.

He told her of his wondrous night and when her doubts began to show,
He opened his pack on the table and unfolded the tattered poncho.
They knew a miracle had happened as it had many years before.
They opened the Bible before them and read the story again, once more.

 
by Linda Kirkpatrick of CowboyPoetry.com
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A Cowboy Christmas Carol
   
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