slouched into work that first morning
wearing chaps the storekeeper said
all the cowboys wore.
The hands called him a jackeroo,
inexperienced, but he won them over
working early-to-late, just one of the boys,
teller of tales with a guitar, until
he married the prettiest Swedish girl.
They came from miles for Chivaree.
Nothing to do but smile and nod
and pass the home-made brew,
Swedish girl shivering by his side,
staring at those cowboys
on horseback, whooping it up,
prancing 'round and 'round
their little wood house, little more
than a shack. Somehow those hands
wired cowbells to the bed.
In the morning, that new Model-T
was discovered on the roof.
My grandfather never found out how,
but I grew up hearing tales
of cowboys and jackeroos.
Note: I borrowed the word "jackeroo" from Australian history, slang used to describe an inexperienced station hand. A "chivaree" is a noisy, impromptu serenade to honor a newly wed couple; cowboys are notorious for their pranks. These stories came from my grandfather.
|Trophy Bear, Elk Mountain, c. 1922|
My grandfather taught my grandmother, raised in Stockholm and Chicago, how to shoot snakes with that pistol hanging from her waist. Later, when he was out riding the range, a bear tried to come in their house. By that time, my grandmother had two little girls to defend. When he returned home, he found his little girls playing with the big "doggy."
Any doggy stories to share?
Read what others have written for April, National Poetry Month:
NaPoWriMo at http://www.napowrimo.net/participants-sites/