My dh is one of the hard ones to buy for at Christmas. It’s not that he’s a scrooge, but he really does NOT want money spent on him. This year, he told me, “All I want for Christmas is you, babe.” (Haha, not really.) He said, “I’d really like it if you could find the poem ‘That Little Blue Roan’.”
Oh boy. Tall order. You see, he’d heard this old poem at a cowdog demo years ago and enjoyed it so much he’d tried to track it down. I finally got the cowhand on the phone who’d quoted it, but he was flustered and told me it was all in his head and he had no idea of the original author’s name. I asked him if I could pay him to record it on tape, or to write it down, and the answer was no.
That was that.
Well, with the advent of the internet and such, dh brought it up again, and asked me to see if I could find it online.
Ta-da…this time, rather quickly, the elusive poem popped up on my screen. Excitedly, I printed it off and decided I’d pen and ink it for my dh for Christmas. (Remember me saying I’d finished a calligraphy project and matted it?)
But on the Wednesday before Christmas, I came up with an even better idea. Something my creative and hard-to-impress dh would really appreciate! I approached my nine year old and asked her if she’d like to memorize it for her daddy.
Nothing is too good for her daddy. Not even an “epic” sized poem of over 50 lines…on her own she memorized the whole thing in the five days before Christmas morning!
You can find the whole poem here, if you’re really interested. Here’s the best part, about half, to satisfy your curiosity:
Excerpt from That Little Blue Roan by Bruce Kiskaddon
“One day in the foot hills he gaive me a break
He saved me from makin’ a awful mistake,
I was ridin’ along at a slow easy pace,
Takin’ stock of the critters that used in that place,
When I spied a big heifer without any brand.
How the boys ever missed her I don’t onderstand.
Fer none of the stock in that country was wild,
It was like takin’ candy away from a child.
She never knowed jest what I had on my mind
Till I bedded her down on the end of my twine.
I had wropped her toes up in an old higgin’ string,
And was buildin’ a fire to heat up my ring.
I figgered you see I was there all alone
Till I happened to notice that little blue roan.
That hoss he was usin’ his eyes and his ears
And I figgered right now there was somebody near.
He seemed to be watchin’ a bunch of pinon,
And I shore took a hint from that little blue roan.
Instead of my brand, well, I run on another.
I used the same brand that was on the calf’s mother.
I branded her right pulled her up by the tail
With a kick in the rump for to make the brute sail.
I had branded her proper and marked both her ears,
When out of the pinions two cow men appears.
They both turned the critter and got a good look
While I wrote the brand down in my own tally book.
There was nothin to do so they rode up and spoke
And we all three set down fer a sociable smoke.
The one owned the critter I’d happened to brand,
He thanked me of course and we grinned and shook hands
Which he mightn’t have done if he only had known
The warnin’ I got from that little blue roan.”
The fun part of the story was on Christmas morning as she began quoting, hubby could hardly believe it was the right poem. After all, it was so long, how on earth could she have memorized it? As recognition dawned on him, the expression on his face was priceless. (Yes, I got it on videotape!). He’s had her quote it to his dad, his brother, the cowboys at work…I can’t imagine any gift he would have enjoyed more.
And you should see my nine year old work the room with her eyes as she spins this ole cowhand’s tale. Speechifyin’ comes naturally to such a lil’ gal.
My cowgirl poet.