West Elk Cowboy Company
Tommy and Jake had been cowboys,
Since before either one could walk,
Brothers livin’ the cowboy dream,
And a’talkin’ the cowboy talk.
They bought the spread from their daddy,
He was gettin’ up there in years,
They kept the place goin’ this long,
With plenty of blood, sweat, and tears.
Tommy and Clara got married,
When they was jist eighteen years old,
A preacher, some friends, and their vows,
And two weddin’ rings made of gold.
Jake had been married fer a spell,
A daughter’s what he had t’ show,
His wife needed t’ find herself,
She packed and said she had t’ go.
Tommy and Jake’s at the cow camp,
Hunkered down ‘neath three feet of snow,
Some cows were still on the mountain,
They got three bulls t’ find for they go.
Tommy’s updatin’ his journal,
Says, “Hey Jake, tonight’s Christmas Eve!
Another year spent as cowboys,
Brother ain’t it hard t’ believe?
We’re missin’ another Christmas,
Our women alone at the place,
I’ll bet they’s jist havin’ supper,
Holdin’ hands and sayin’ their grace.”
“I wish that we coulda been there.”
Jake say’s with a tear in his eye.
“I been neglectin’ my daughter.”
He broke down and started to cry.
They stoke up the fire in the stove,
And they settle in for the night,
Maybe with luck they can be home,
They’ll have to get goin’ first light.
Well they awoke on that cold Christmas mornin’,
T’ find the stove roarin’ with fire,
They looked at each other and both said, “Not me!”
Then who? They was forced to inquire.
There was snow on the cabin floor,
Fresh, hot coffee brewed in the pot,
Stockin’s was hung o’er the window,
And sweet rolls believe it or not.
Well Tommy and Jake was confused,
And bewildered t’ say the least,
‘Cause stacked up there on the table,
Was fixin’s fer a Christmas feast.
By chance, they looked out the winder,
And marveled at what they could see,
Two riders a’horseback comin’,
They seemed t’ be draggin’ a tree.
Them riders rode to the cabin,
And stepped in out of the cold,
They took off their jackets and hats,
It was quite the sight t’ behold.
Their women standin’ before ’em,
As perty as ever could be,
“Quit starin’ and get bundled up,
Get out there and fetch us that tree.”
Tommy and Jake was dumbfounded,
And didn’t know quite what t’ say,
Clara said, “Boy’s we’s family,
And we’re sharin’ this Christmas day.
We figured y’ wouldn’t be home,
We knew what we needed t’ do,
We guessed you couldn’t make Christmas,
So we up and brought it to you.”
Well that there’s the way it happened,
In a cow camp one Christmas day,
Christmas was jist as it should be,
And a fam’ly held hands t’ pray.
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From June through September, John Etchart spends most of the day driving a tractor through hayfields below the mountains near Meeker in northwestern Colorado.