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Shopping in Mexico

By Les Buffham

I was recently on a sojourn down in Mexico for some medical attention I couldn’t afford in the States. As soon as I walked through the gate the hawkers attacked. They would sell you anything from sombreros to saddle blankets right there on the spot.

It made me recall a lady friend of mine tellin’ me about her trip to Tijuana a few years ago. She was strollin’ down the sidewalk with her husband concentrating on where she was putting her feet and not noticing what was going on around her. The sidewalks down there are forever changing. Kinda like treading your way through a prairie dog town. You gotta watch your step.

She had her purse casually hung over her shoulder when a guy drove by, reached out and grabbed it and sped away. She went bananas. She was jumpin’ up and down and stompin’ her feet and squallin’ at her husband, “You gotta do something! Call the cops!” He was pretty cool about it and was trying to explain to her it wouldn’t do any good.

She was pretty much in tears when the thief pulled up beside her, holding her purse out the window and hollered in his border accent, “Hey Lady, dere’s no moneys in here. I let you have it back for tweny dolars.” She started for him and was giving him a piece of her mind when her husband grabbed her, pulled her back and held on to her while he fished around in his wallet then handed the guy a twenty and retrieved her purse.

She told me, “Now, when I go to Mexico I carry all my goodies in a fanny pack!”

Not a bad idea.

(Reprinted from The Western Way, Spring, 2016. Used by permission.)

By Smilin’ Vic Cox

(Inspired by Canary Rhodes)

I was talkin’ about a paintin’ of a horse with a cowboy tryin’ to tie a flat tire to his saddle horn. It made me remember a sorrel colt I raised when I was a kid. I called him Charlie Horse.

When he was still young, maybe a year or so old, we tied a tire to a rope and put it on him, thinkin’ it would help me get him broke quicker, ‘cause I’d be able to catch him easier.

Well, it didn’t work.

About 2 seconds after I tied the tire to the rope, he tore straight up into the air, made a quick “U” turn, headed out at a fast gallop. The tire at the end of the rope was followin’ right along behind.

I lit out on foot behind him, my older brother, Tommy laughin’ and hollerin’ for me to, “Catch ‘im, Teay! Catch ‘im!”

Didn’t he think I would if I could??? That yearlin’ had four legs and I only had two, but I was givin’ it all I had

He was headin’ for Dad’s garden.

Now, Dad had chicken wire around his garden to keep the chickens out, but it didn’t keep that horse and bouncin’ tire out no mor’n a second.

I followed right through the big hole they left behind ‘um.

Next, I was jumpin’ rows of cabbage, onions… The horse wasn’t that picky, he was tearin’ right down the middle of it, the tire slingin’ from side to side, takin’ out three rows at a time! I was just glad Dad’s corn wasn’t up yet!

We came to the end of the garden and Charlie didn’t even slow down. He tore a brand new hole through that end of the garden fence, too! It wasn’t chicken proof anymore, not by the time he took that flyin’ tire through it with him.

Now, he was runnin’ up the middle of Mama’s flower bed, draggin’ the tire behind him and wipin’ out any irises left standin’.

I chased him around the house until he got tired and hemmed himself in against the metal gate in the front yard.
I had run all over the place tryin’ to catch him before he tore something up.

Lotta good it did me. By the time I caught up with him, you could see a trail of destruction everywhere he’d been.

Little ol’ Charlie Horse didn’t even have a single scratch on him!

I did what he had wanted all along, I walked up and untied the tire.

Now, Charlie was happy and I had fences to rebuild.
It was then that it dawned on me, I had been goin’ about it all wrong…

As a horse trainer, I’d just learned my first lesson.

Lesson one: if you’re ever gonna tire a horse, just make sure
YOU’RE not the one
Who is REALLY gonna get tired!



                  …Out-House Tales…                        

                              BULL & THE AXE

                                                      by Smilin’ Vic Cox

climbed through the fence and headed across the pasture with the axe. I was going to cut persimmon sprouts. My daughter’s FFA project snorted and came charging at me.

This was something new to me. We’d never had a Brahma before. They are a different kind of animal, that’s for sure. I was used to a Herford cow showing fight if she had a new calf, but I’d never been treated this way by a young bull. And this brammer had me in his sights.

I hollered at him and waved my arms, thinking he’d run like most cows do. He did run. But with his head down and straight for me.

So, I ran, too…for the only shelter around…a telephone pole.

Now, there ain’t much room behind a pole to hide and be outta sight. I’d peek out to the right, just to distract him so he wouldn’t come after my tail which was sticking out on the left. Me and that bull did a fast dance all around that pole.

I had an axe in my hand, but I couldn’t use it. I’d paid too much for that blamed bull!

All I could do was dance with him ‘till he got tired and went on. And I sure couldn’t afford to be the one to tire out first. Rough as he was dancing, he might do mor’n just step on my toes.

This was beginning to get embarrassing.

It was a hard thing to do. But while I was behind that post, looking that bull square in the eyes, I swallowed my pride and gave a yell for my dear little wife.

She was in the house and I shore hoped she didn’t have the volume up on the TV.

So as me and that bull were wearing a trail around that pole, I yelled some more. Only, now, it was coming outta my raw throat like a quivering scream.

She came tearing out the back door. When she saw her dear hubby’s silhouette zipping around in that dust fog…well, her eyes showed red.

That bull was in big trouble now. She came under that fence after him.

He saw the movement and turned his attention to her. I saw my break and made for the opposite fence. I rolled under, spit grass and spring to my feet.

She was already back on our side of the fence, too. And still yelling at that bull. For some reason, when she yelled at him, he knew she meant business and lit out across the pasture.

Kinda like with the kids. I get the same kinda respect from them.

Over the fence, I watched that bull trotting off and turned to the little woman. “Fer all I care, them persimmon sprouts can become trees!”

Your axe is still out there in the pasture.” she noted.

That axe can lay there and rust!” I pouted.

She smiled up at me, all understanding like. Dust puffed off my shirt as she patted my shoulder. “Don’t worry, Honey. When I go feed, I’ll pick it up for you.”

Now, I ask you,

ain’t SHE…

just a little Sweetheart?

                       MAMA THE COWDOATiES

                                                  by Smilin’ Vic Cox

There was a time

Mama answered nature’s call and came face to face with the call of the wild.

She had just stepped out of the little wooden outhouse, when there on the trail between her and our backporch stood a pair of mangy coyotes…or Cow-Doaties, as my little sister called them.

With yaller eyes, they stared at Mama. She took a quick glance at those smiling teeth and drooling pink tongues. Her heart jumped, then she jumped—–right back into the outhouse, latching the door behind her.

Daddy was in the kitchen at the time, but he could hear the shouts for help. All the commotion froze those coyotes in their tracks.

Mama screamed from the outhouse, Daddy hooeed at ‘um from the back porch.

Them coyotes were trying to figure out what all the yelling was about.

Their fool heads were spinning back and forth so fast, they nearly snapped ‘um plumb off!

Daddy didn’t waste time. When he saw they didn’t tear out for the woods, he ducked back in the house and grabbed his shotgun. Sister and I wondered what all the ruckus was about and wandered into the kitchen just in time to see Daddy step out the backdoor and pull the trigger.

Well, I wanna tell you, it’s a tad unnerving fer little folks to look up to a big strong parent and see his downfall.

But that’s just what we saw.

That shotgun kicked Daddy so hard, he fell right back into the house. It knocked him through the doorway and plumb up under the kitchen table.

Me and Sis just stood there holding onto each other, eyes big as saucers. Daddy seemed a little embarrassed, but he quickly recovered and crawled out from under the table to go see about Mama.

I reckon them coyotes had about all of civilization they could stand. They had lit a shuck back to the deep woods along the creek where things wasn’t quite so wild!

Mama peeked her head out of the outhouse. She ran to Daddy’s arm’s like the gal runs to the hero in some old western movie.

After that incident, every time Mama went to the outhouse, Daddy had to go with her and stand guard outside.

Kinda reminded me of the Queen’s guards.

To this day, whenever I see or hear anything about Buckingham Palace…it brings back fond memories of that ol’ outhouse!


By Smilin’ Vic Cox

Tassles on my corn

And I’m glad I was born,

‘Cause I love it in the country.

When it’s time to get out of bed

Chickens and cow to be fed

Take time out to pat Ol’ Red

Early in the mornin’

When the rooster starts to crow

I cross the yard with my hoe

Gonna watch my garden grow

Early in the mornin’

I love life,

my kids and my wife

And I love it

in the country!

Pee Wee Attacks By Smilin’ Vic

There’s a lot of things we take for granted now days. Like running water and indoor plumbing.
When I was a kid, we had an outhouse. It was like having the commode outdoors. Rain, sleet or snow, if you needed to use the restroom, you followed a well-worn trail to a little wooden building about thirty yards from your house.
I remember one time I was glad it had a wooden latch inside the door. I’d been aggravating my baby brother. Older boys tend to do that sort o’ thing. Well, Pee Wee’s quick temper got the best of him. His yowler hair turned red. He grabbed the handiest thing he could find and took after me. What he grabbed was the grubbing hoe.
The only place for me to run was to that outhouse. I barely made it in time. Even though I had the door latched, he was determined to get at me. I felt safe enough to laugh. That was a mistake.
I found that laughs don’t do anything but set simmer to boiling. Well, he started hacking at the door with that grubbing hoe. The only thing I had in there to protect myself with was a Sears Roebuck catalog!
Listen, he was only about four and I was a big strapping seven year old. But let me tell you, when those one inch thick oak planks began to splinter right before my eyes, this near-grown young man started crying for my Mama———at the top of my voice.
I immediately did my repenting and praying right there in that ol’ outhouse. I started reminding my dear sweet brother how much I loved him and assured him I didn’t mean to say anything to upset him. Between these short, pleading attempts to convince him, and bribing promises, I didn’t forget to bellow out a loud, “MAMA!” occasionally.
I was never so relieved to see a body in my life as I was to see Mama come take the grubbing hoe away from that little boy and try to calm him down.
I was glad to come out with my head hung low and take a well-deserved scolding for making my baby brother cry.
From behind Mama’s skirt, I looked at little Pee Wee in an entirely different light.
After that, I was always careful not to push him too far.
I had learned a valuable lesson.

But I had learned to judge distance!

Take my advice…
better get yourself a long, long pole,
if you’re gonna go
poking at_


For the Love of a Mule    By Les Buffham

You may remember from the last issue of the Western Way I wrote about my meeting up with an older white-haired gentleman and his wife, “Miss Poodles.” He was wrinkled and brown and had a fairly long head of hair that didn’t quite reach his shoulders. He talked with a deep southern drawl, and he had a way of expressing himself that was foreign to me but, nonetheless, intriguing.

He asked me if I ever rode a mule. When I told him I had two of them in my string at one time, he said, “I love mules. In fact, one of mine saved my life once.”

With a little prompting from Miss Poodles, this is the story he told.

“I have a wicked half-sister and an evil brother-in-law. My daddy was in pretty bad shape for the last three years of his life, and I took care of him with no help from either of them. When he passed away, he left most of the ranch to me including the only two pumping oil wells. My daddy told me that at one time those two wells made thirty thousand dollars in one month. He never had any money though; just kept buyin’ up more land to run cows on.

The wells were producing enough to keep us in the cow business but not a lot of money in the bank. My two relatives were furious and pulled every shenanigan they could think of to get those oil wells away from me. I spent a fortune in court and the judge told them the only way they would get them was when I died. I wish he hadn’t told them that because of what happened next.

“I’d gathered a little bunch of cows from one of the outside pastures and put them in a holding pen for the night. I tied my mule to the fence and bedded down under an old oak tree. I didn’t want the rats chewin’ on my saddle so I left it on him. I was pretty tired so I went right to sleep. When I woke up sometime in the night, two goons were standing over me. I started to ask what they wanted, but didn’t get a chance. They worked me over pretty good, hitting me with a pipe and then shot me right here.” (He put his finger to a scar about the size of a pencil eraser above his right eyebrow.)

“I guess they left me for dead, but I came around. Then I crawled over to that mule and pulled myself up into the saddle. I don’t know how and I don’t remember much at all, but I just turned him loose and he took me home. When he stopped I woke up layin’ over the saddle horn and could see the outline of my old pickup in the starlight. I slid off and I think I passed out for a while.

“When I came to, I drove myself to Abilene to the hospital. I don’t remember the trip or staggering into the lobby and fallin’ over on the floor. I came to a day or two later and they told me I was gonna live, but the bullet would stay ’cause it was in an area where they couldn’t get it without killin’ me. I also had a broken collar bone and two fingers on this hand.” (He held up the hand to show me how crooked the fingers were.)

“That was about ten years ago. I saved every penny that those wells were makin’ and invested it so it earned a little interest. A couple of months ago I had enough to have a rig come in and work over one of them. It’s up to max production now and the price of oil is coming up. I sold off all the cows and next year should be able to work over the other well and get it producing better. All this, thanks to that mule.”

I sure wish I could remember that old feller’s name.

(“Reprinted by Permission. The Western Way/Winter 2014)

Right Side Get Down  By Les Buffham

I was on my way back to California after attending a great AWA show in Ft. Worth, just amblin’ along making camp wherever I felt like it and in no hurry. I was camped on the west shore of Fort Phantom Lake just outside of Abilene, Texas. It was a pretty place, the water was clear and not too many mosquitoes. I’d found me a prime spot in the shade of a big cottonwood tree with no one else around. I’d just finished up my breakfast and was relaxin’ with a book and the last cup of coffee for the day when a shiny, older Lincoln town car pulled up a little way off and stopped. An elderly lady got out with two poodles on leashes and took off in the opposite direction. An older white haired gentleman stayed in the car behind the wheel. He looked over my way and I waved. He raised his arm that was hangin’ out the window in a likewise greeting and I went back to my book.

After a while the lady came back and got in the car with her two poodles. The car started and they made a big circle and pulled up with the driver’s door not far from my smoldering campfire. Most Texans are a gregarious lot and I could see these two were no exception. I walked over to the car and we introduced ourselves. I can’t remember his name but he told me his companion was ‘Miss Poodles.’ I asked them if they’d like a cup of coffee. Agreeing, they both got out, came over to my fire. I found a couple of cups that I filled out of my black outlaw pot and we set down for a good long visit.

I quizzed them a little about the country and, of course, they wanted to know all about me; where I was from, where I was goin’ and where I’d been. When I told them I grew up on a ranch, the old man perked right up and asked me if I’d ever done much ropin’.

He said, “I always loved to rope. As far back as I can remember I was ropin’ the dogs and cats and chickens when I was a little kid. Sometimes I got in trouble with my Mom, but that didn’t slow me down much. She’d tell Daddy and he’d tell me to be a little more discreet. I guess he thought it was funny. When I was about fifteen or sixteen I fashioned me a ropin’ arena out of oil field scrap pipe, sucker rod and page wire. It wasn’t much to look at but it worked. Daddy would let me bring in a few pairs of calves and keep them close to the house so I could practice. I’d change them out pretty regular so I didn’t take too much weight off of them. Once in a while I would go to a ropin.’ I never won much, just enough to keep it interesting and not be too humiliated. Then one day I got the bright idea how I could cheat a little. I figured if I could get down on the right side of my horse I might shave enough off of my times to win more money. I made a few skid marks with my head in that arena before I got so I could stay on my feet and get to the calf quick.

“There was a big ropin’ coming up in Abilene and I figured I would go down there and rope them boys.” (That was the expression he used instead of “I’d go down there and rope with them boys”.)

He went on, “I had a pretty good horse. He wasn’t fancy bred or much to look at, but he had a lot of power and speed, and he would put you where you needed to be in a hurry. He was real calm in the box and I don’t remember ever breaking the barrier with him. My pickup was old and so was my trailer, not a lot of paint left on either one of them. My ropin’ rope was originally a well rope and so were my reins. My saddle was old and tied together with string in a few places. The first time I got off on the right side, I came home with about $200 in winnings and thought I was sittin’ on top of the world. If I’d known anything about betting I could have gotten some pretty good odds that day.

“My Daddy tried to talk me out of ropin’ for money but my hearing wasn’t near as good as my eyesight; so in a couple of months I went back again. I didn’t do nearly as well that time but I did notice that just about all of those other cowboys were gettin’ off on the right side!”

Note: Les tells the WW that he has more tales from his Texas “campsite friend” that he’ll share in the next issue.

(“Reprinted by Permission. The Western Way/Fall 2014)



Longhorn Adventure in Miles City, MT by Bob Kisken

MILES CITY, MT-In 1995, some cowboys decided to drive longhorns from Ft. Worth, TX to Miles City, MT. I was in Miles City in the fall and went out with a bunch of people from the Miles City on wagons.

If I remember correctly we met the herd and they followed us into Miles City.

Recently I had some slides of the event put on a disk. Thought some of our readers might get a kick out of the photos.

That is me in the yellow slicker, don’t know why I bought i as it never rained and was hotter than hell.

The hat? I borrowed it, so much for being a cowboy


My Date by Bernice Landers

I’s been a while now,

since I’ve been on my own –

My friends and family all ask,

aren’t you tired of being alone?


They said to try a dating site.

To them I’m much too shy –

they say I may find Mr. Right,

to I said “OK, I’ll try.”


I got this picture in the mail,

it was in such a pretty frame –

What a handsome cowboy he was,

why he looked just like John Wayne!


We decided to meet for lunch,

at a diner down the street –

I had such expectations,

for this guy I was to meet


The waitress said my date

was sitting in a booth –

She said he came in limping,

‘cause the heel fell off his boot


Now if he thought for just one second,

that he looked just like the Duke –

while he sent me the wrong picture,

the resemblance was a fluke!


He jumped right in to tell me

everything about his life –

how messing with other women

wrecked his mariage to his wife.


He talked about his divorce,

and the court didn’t leave him much –

tht’s when it finally dawned on me,

that it was me that was buying lunch.


Now the thing that bummed me out,

was when he said he didn’t like meat.

Now from one old rancher to another –

what else is there to eat?


I figured since I’m buying,

I ordered a big prime rib.

He got some potato soup

and used his napkin like a bib.


He has some emphysema

from draggin’ on those smokes –

The Dr. advised a heart by-pass,

before he has a stroke


He has cataracts on his eyes,

his spleen may have to go –

We talked about his hemorrhoids,

and the fungus on his toes.


His teeth are falling out,

and he’s in line for a new hip,

but what really grossed me out,

was his darn post-nasal drip!


We talked about his prostate,

boy, the stories he could tell –

I’m just so glad that I’m a woman,

you guys must go through hell!


He had a kidney stone last year.

Now that was not much fun –

he talked about the pills he took,

before our meal was done.


There’s arthritis in his knees,

he’s been treated for some gout –

He thought he’d make it through the year

ifr his kidneys didn’t give out.


He did ask two questions,

and hoped I’d answer right –

One, was I an organ donor,

two – what the heck was my blood type?


Now our date just went all wrong,

but really no one was to blame –

See, I’m no Elizabeth Taylor,

and he certainly no John Wayne!


As I was driving home,

contemplating about my life –

I thought of two very lucky women,

myself and his ex-wife!


The Homesteaders by Bernice Landers

I was feeling pretty restless,

so decided to go for a drive –

hoping for some new adventure,

or something interesting to find.


I was on this country road,

when a farm house came into view –

from the weathered, beaten old boards,

it had been years since it was used.


I walked up to the porch,

the path was hard to see –

the steps were broken in,

and the yard was full of weeds.


The doors were off their hinges,

the wind blew through the panes –

shingles dangled from the roof,

and the floor bulged from the rain.


Dust devils danced around,

in sunbeams on the floor –

cobwebs brushed my face,

as I walked in through the door.


The curtains were in pieces,

that once were hung with care –

Wallpaper peeled away,

where pictures hung,

the walls there now were bare.


As I walked from room to room,

wishing these walls could speak to me –

and tell me about the family,

their life, their history.


There was such a presence,

as I stood and looked around –

what happened to this family,

that once to this house was bound.


I thought I could hear laughter,

as I walked down through the halls –

Were the children still there playing,

hiding secrets within the walls?


I found an old oak dresser,

the knobs were off the doors –

a wood box was hidden,

among the mice nests in the drawer.


I lifted up the lid,

wondering what treasures I would find –

Would there be some clues in there,

that the family left behind?


There were pictures of the children,

dressed in their Sunday best –

two girls with long blonde hair,

with ruffles on their dress.


The boys wore bib overalls,

one had freckles on his nose –

I found some locks of baby hair,

and a record of how they’d grown.


A picture of little twin boys,

propped up on a feather bed-

Christopher and Benjamin, age 1 month,

that’s what the backside said.


A broken pearl earring,

some faded yellow lace-

I closed the lid down tightly,

to keep those treasures safe.


You couldn’t believe my sorrow,

when I walked around outside-

two little graves with crosses,

marked that those babies died.


Could that have been the reason,

the family moved away-

too many sad memories,

within those little graves.


I wanted a new adventure,

I guess I found one here today-

about a family and their life-style,

what they had and what they gave.


So I’ll keep their little secrets,

and let their memories lay-

that’s probably how it’s meant to be,

within those little graves.


Next time I pass a farm house,

where homesteaders once had lived –

I’ll have a better understanding,

of what they endured,

and just how much they had to give.



Hello, I read about your website in the  Rockford College “Catalyst”, where Bob Kisken’s alumnae news appeared.  I graduated from Rockford College in 1967, so I didn’t know Bob (class of ’62).  However, he wrote of his interest in “mules and more,” so I thought you all would like this painting I did based upon a trip to the Grand Canyon.  It’s entitled “Comin’ Up the Trail.” Sincerely, Marie Baumann



THE ECONOMIST   by   Gail T. Burton
Randy Jones and Booger Red,
With a tough ol’ yaller houn’
Wuz huntin’ deer out in the brakes
‘Bout forty miles from town.
Almost starved, ‘cause game was scarce,
They wondered what to do.
So chopped the tail off that ol’ dog,
And cooked it down for stew  :.
They ate the meat ‘n drank the soup
Then tossed the dog the bone.
The grateful pooch licked Randy’s hand
When everything was gone.
Then Booger looked at Jones and said:
“I’ll call a spade a spade;
If you really study what we’ve done,
It’s just like Federal Aid”.
Cowboy Life   by  Les Buffham 1992


A cowboy’s life aint
so romantic

Like them poets all

He’s just a lost soul

Out there searchin’
for his brains

The cold back horse
he’s ridin’

Wants to buck forever

And even when he gets
him rode

It seems he’s always

He gets a chain on
the calf

While the cow drags
him around

He finally gets it
outa there

And it freezes to the

He tries to bring it
to life

 By blowin’ in his nose

That heifer turns on

And sure snots up his

The bull he tried to

Tore down half a mile
of fence

Topped a ridge a

And he aint seen him

The cowboys out in Opry

All come to sing and

While he’s ridin’ on
the wagon

And a pitchin’ out
the hay

They sing about the

Of a lonely cowboy

Most cowboys is so

 They can’t even get a wife

The britches that
their wearin’

Are green with cow

And they don’t smell
to sweet

From breathin’ air
that’s pure 

A cowboy’s life aint
so romantic

Like them poets all

He’s just a lost soul

Out there searchin’
for his brains

Dear Homer, (for those who don’t know, Homer, is the legendary pet rat of Rope Burns Publications! He was named “Homer” because if he ever got hit with a baseball bat, he would be sent to the cheap seats!)  

I hear your proud owner and now co-edditer of this internet rag, ROPEBURNS.ORG,  he calls a magazine has quit eatin’ chicken. That is sure gonna tear up his budget cause he was consuming a lot of that cheap chicken.
His neighbors can take the padlocks off of their hen houses and his wife Bette will no doubt begin to harvest more eggs from her flock.  A friend of mine who knows him real well toldme that old Newt had purchased one of those whole roasted  cluckers you can get now days at most markets that are all hot and ready to go there in their little glass cage. When he got home with it he was pretty hungry and that chicken sure was smellin’ good to him. He popped the top on that plastic roaster it came in and rolled it right out on his cutting board in the kitchen. He knew his wife wouldn’t be home for a couple hours and he couldn’t wait so he went to devouring that chicken. He started on the right hand drum stick and wing. All the while he was watchin’ the Sooners get beat by the Broncos on the TV above the kitchen counter. That must have been a little frustrating to him as he had a whole six pack bet on the outcome. His frustration only lent to his appetite so he started in on theright side breast meat of that chicken. He was saving the left half for his wife
Bette when she got home. Bein’ a real gentleman wasn’t he?

He was right down to the breast bone and diggin’ away at those last pieces of white meat when he broke through into the body cavity and discovered that, whoever had butchered that chicken had forgot to take the guts out!

 Now I sure don’t want to discourage anyone from eating chicken. Those Chicken farmers need all the help they can get. I still eat it. Especially eggs. And I do on an occasion buy one of those tasty, great smellin’ ready roasted cluckers in the shell. But after hearing this story I do check ‘em before I start gnawin’ on ‘em to make sure they have had their innards removed. Wouldn’t you?

Yer Frend, Les Buffham, (Les was once fired from his cowboy job for palpitating a entire pen of steers! He didn’t get fired for palpitating them, but for telling the boss that 5 were springing!)

Dec. 31, 2011


I reckon everybody knows Bobby Newton, ex-editor of Rope Burns Magazine and founding father of the AWA awards show. If you don’t maybe I can help you get aquainted. I tried to call Mr. Newton a while back to see how he was farin’ with those wild hogs that have been tearin’ up his wife’s garden and his hay stacks. His wife Bette answered and said Bobby was in the hospital. She gave me his room number and the hospital where they had him laid out and I called him. I asked him what the problem was and he wouldn’t tell me. He wanted to talk about every thing else except why he was in the hospital. I called Bette back.
  She told me he was working on the rain gutter on the back porch and had climbed up there with an electric drill and a coffee can with some little angle iron pieces he had just cut off with the chop saw. They were kinda hot and he was in a hurry ’cause it looked like it might rain so he put them in the coffee can in some water then climbed up his ALUMINUM ladder. Some where along the way either goin’ up or comin’ down he turned his hand that was holdin’ the coffee can with water in it over and the water poured out on the drill.

 Reckon it was kinda like droppin’ a hair dryer in the bath tub.  Bette said she heard him scream and ran out and found him layin’ on the ground at the foot of that ladder all passed out. She didn’t think he was breathin’ so she gave him a little farm girl CPR. Jumped up and down on his chest a few times then ran in and called 911.

 Needless to say he survived and that visit I had with him at County General was the first time I can remember him not wanting to tawk. He wasn’t hurt too bad, nothing broken
but a few ribs.  Wonder if that was from the CPR.



An old abandoned house it was-
a broken-hearted place;
alone, again, with memories
that time did not erase.
As winds raced through its attic,
you could hear its timbers moan,
“Ain’t nothin’ quite so lonely
as a Christmas spent alone.”

And out upon the prairie,
rode a cowboy, Christmas day.
His wife had long since passed on;
and his kids lived far away.
Each Christmas left him heartsick
like few other days he’d known.
Ain’t nothin’ quite so lonely
as a Christmas spent alone.

And up above the prairie
through the star-lit clouds up high,
Santa, reindeer, sleigh and elves
were traveling ‘cross the sky.
Finished! They were finished!
Their task was truly daunting-
to visit every family,
and leave no child a wanting.

But, it left his crew bone-weary-
with a journey home ahead.
Exhausted, drained, the crew now faced
the journey home with dread.
Tired, the crew and Santa too,
and traveling back so slow,
when Santa spied an empty house
just waiting, down below.

Then Santa made a bee-line
for the yard; and parked his sleigh.
He figured that his weary crew
would rest there Christmas day.
The house was just ecstatic
when they all walked through its door,
unpacked their sleighs, and lit a fire,
and sacked out on its floor.
* * * * * * * * * *

The cowboy saw the vacant house,
with curling, chimney smoke.
He figured there was someone there
who fueled the fire and stoked.
With a pine tree freshly axed to give
the occupant within,
he headed for the house with hope
he’d be invited in.

Well, Santa and his crew were pleased
to have a Christmas guest.
They asked the man to come on in
and stay awhile and rest.
The reindeer dashed into the house,
but no one cared a fig.
The cowboy yodeled up a storm;
and Santa danced a jig

Donner played a fiddle
and Vixen played a flute;
and Rudolph on his new tin horn
chimed in with a toot.
Dancer drummed an old tin pan
and Prancer sang a song;
and Rudolph on his new toy horn,
tooted right along.

If you’re wondering, dear Reader,
just how this story ends-
well the cowboy found a nice, warm house
with lots of kindly friends.
And the sad, old house was happy
and filled with Christmas cheer;
and memories that warmed its heart
all through the coming year.

And Santa long remembered
stopping there to rest.
Indeed, he thought that Christmas day
was just about the best.
He’d been alone when he got home
most Christmas days before.
They left him feeling empty
and wanting something more.
* * * ** * * * * *
The moral of this story-
for there is a moral here-
about what counts for Christmas,
for that day is drawing near….
what counts are friends and family!
Gift are over-blown!
Ain’t nothin’ quite so lonely
as a Christmas spent alone.
Bette Wolf Duncan©2011


Kristyn Harris


Kristyn Harris receives the first Janet McBride Yodeling Award at the Western Music Association’s annual meeting in Albuquerque, NM in November of 2012.  Photo by Lori Faith Merritt


Der Editer!

I want you to know how bad things is in the cattle business.  Right now, we’re paying the banker $500 a month for safety deposit boxes.  It’s the only way we can keep our hay secure till we need it.  Our cows been on a diet for the last four months.  We had to put suntan lotion on all the fish to keep them from frying in the ponds. The grass was so bad,the cows was licking up the yellow lines on the highway after they broke through the fence.  We ain’t got no trees left with any bark and one cow was even caught eating a Big Mac, they’ve turned into “karnivores”.  The good thing is the ticks done dried up and the chiggers went north for the summer.  We’ve had a few little rains, a drop here, a drop there, nope that was jest a pigeon with a kidney condition!!!  We took some to sale, but there was so many cattle there, the sale folks said that we’d have to make an appointment and the next one was around November!  Been thinking about getting out of the cattle business, but where else can you lose that much money that quick.  It beats Vegas.  Anyway, wanted to tell any of your readers about the glamour side of the cowboy business, and if they want in, let me know.

Thanks, your pal, Luke