Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas Cowboy

A Christmas Mem'ry
"Where ya bound on Christmas mornin'?"called the blacksmith as Lou passed."Jest headin' out. I plum fergot.One day seems like the last."Lou nodded, once, then rode on off.What he'd said was partly true:a man alone on Christmas daydon't have a lot to do."Where ya bound on Christmas mornin'?"yelled the storekeep and his bride."Jest ridin' out to check the stock."Again he knew he'd lied.Them folks was well intended, seemed,but they wouldn't understandhow Christmas weren't the same fer him,a lone and lonely man."Where ya bound on Christmas mornin'?"asked the Rev'rend by his gate."I got some work that needs be done.I'll likely be out late."Again that weren't the truth a-tall,but he couldn't tell him then,how Christmas service made things worseeach time he'd ever been.Where ya bound on Christmas mornin?If they really cared to know,to an empty, cheerless cabinafter ridin' in the snow.Then the day began a- fadin',and the snow to coverin' tracks.He reined about to head on into a one-room, gloom-filled shack.But, he sensed a change about himas the wind blew bitter, strong.The snow was growin' deeper, andthe way back, now, seemed wrong.Lost in thoughts of bein' lonely,he had failed to note his path.He found himself alone, indeed,and facin' winter's wrath.Where ya bound on Christmas mornin'?Oh the truth behind his lie:to a grave, out here, a fool alone.who'd surely freeze and die.Then the sound of voices singin'Little Town Of Bethlehemnow caused ol' Lou to turn and seea glow now flick'rin' dim.Through a mile of deepened snowdriftshe had reached a cabin wall,and, there, within, a Christmas scenelike those he once recalled.There were logs a-blazin' brightlyand a tree close by the fireall decked in popcorn garland strands,and folks in dress attire.Such a vision stirred his mem'ryand he thought across the yearsof another time at Christmas.His eyes began to tear.Now he recognized the facesof the folks he saw within.There was Smitty and the storekeep,the Rev'rend, all his friends.He opened up the door a bit,"Why, it's Lou. Where did you go?Come in and have a cider mugand shake off all that snow.Ol' Lou was grinnin' ear-to-ear.While he'd been out there bummin',his friends had warmed his cabin fora Christmas Day homecomin'.That evenin' 'fore Lou closed his eyeshe'd a prayer, long overdue,"God bless my friends and neighbors, Lord,and Merry Christmas, too."© 2003, Rod Nichols
Read more of Rod Nichols' poetry here.

No comments: