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BEACON Senior News - Western Colorado

When the Cowboys came for Christmas

Nov 29, 2022 11:17AM ● By Nona Kelly Carver

A little boy was sitting upon his grandpa’s knee, and he began to question of how things used to be.

“Grandpa, how was Christmas when you were just a boy? Did you wait for Santa? Did you want a shiny toy?”

The grandpa’s eyes looked dreamy as he thought of long ago, and he began this story for the grandson he loved so:

“We had a Cowboy Christmas, for we lived out near the range. It wasn’t very fancy, but I would never change

The memories that I treasure of how it was for me, and of the happy hours spent around the Christmas tree.

We had no television, no flashy shopping mall...but I had my mom and dad, and the cowboys. That is all.

Dad let me ride behind him when he went to find a tree.We dragged it home across the snow; my dad, his horse, and me.

The cowboys helped us set it up and decorate each branch, with paper chains and popcorn strings; things common on the ranch.

And Mama baked some cookies. They tasted, oh, so good! We warmed up by the heating stove as flames burned up the wood.

My daddy took his Bible, and read to us that night, the story of the Christ Child, and the star that gave Him light.

He read about the shepherds coming on a night so cold, and kings who rode on camels, bringing frankincense and gold.

He told us of the angels  hose songs filled up the sky, and how the mother held the child, and how he didn’t cry.

He talked about a stable and of a manger there. The cowboys listened quietly. They really seemed to care.

Then they went back to the bunkhouse, and Dad put me to bed with thoughts about the story still running through my head.

I woke on Christmas morning, a wondrous sight to see! There was the entire manger scene beneath the Christmas tree!

For while I had been waiting, and trying to be good, the cowboys had been carving the figures out of wood.

Old Joe had built the stable and topped it with a star, and Bill had carved the camels and kings who came so far.

Slim had fashioned Mary, with Joseph by her side, and Morgan made the shepherds, who had no place to hide.

My dad had carved the Christ Child upon a manger bed, and Mama made the angels to hang above his head.

There were donkeys, cows and critters, and a little band of sheep. They had set the whole scene up while I was fast asleep!

We sang the Christmas Carols, and of the Christmas Star, as Slim picked out the melodies on his battered old guitar.

Each cowboy had a story that he told for us that day, and Mama baked a turkey, inviting them to stay.

Yes, that’s how I remember Christmas a long time ago; The story of the Christ Child and how He loves us so.

Of a day of songs and stories, and of the feast we shared, when the cowboys came for Christmas, to let us know they cared.” 

A cowboy poet who didnt even know it

A cowboy poet who didn't even know it

Locally acclaimed cowboy poet Nona Kelley Carver learned to write poetry completely by accident. Read More »