Posted in Holidays, Poetry

Grandpa’s Cowboy Memories


I know a tremendous number of veterans and I am grateful from the bottom of my heart to all of them for their dedication to keeping us all free to play in the yard, write blogs about whatever we’d like, go to college, work in the career we want, or believe in what we wish.  I thank them for the time they spent in the military and for their sacrifice to all of us that they do not even know.  I am thankful for my father, grandfathers, and back all the way to the my Revolutionary war grandfathers that fought for basic rights.  For Memorial Day we are going over to see one of my favorite veteran’s, my grandpa.  He regales me with delightful tales from his youth still and I love each one.  My favorite war story of his is when he was serving up grub in the mess hall and walking through the line was his brother!  He didn’t even know Uncle Allen enlisted or that he was in the same place!  My grandfather worked on the Amphibian, a vehicle that goes from land to sea.  But most of his tales come from his being a cowboy.  My grandpa was a real cowboy, out on the range, waiting for the chuck wagon, roping cattle, riding his horse from Sterling to Estes Park to work on a dude ranch as a teenager.  He was in the rodeo circuit riding bucking broncos and worked on a ranch where he made ten dollars more because he rode the rough string, or half broke horses.  This is a poem he wrote that I find endearing and tells of a time not in many of our memories.

The Round Up (by Elmer Horner)

It is cold and wet and just breaking light

When the cook yells out, “Come and get it or I’ll throw it out!”

He pulls on his pants, and then his boots, buttons up his shirt to complete his attire

Crawls out of his bed roll and heads for a cup of coffee and the warmth of the fire.

When it’s early in the morning and the sleet coming down

A roundup cowboy wishes he was in town

Where his bed is dry and not everyone wears a frown.

The food from the Dutch oven is steamy and hot

With a hot cup of coffee just poured from the pot.

There’s biscuits, steak and beans, which with your pay,

They call this “found and a dollar a day”

You slip into your slicker, put on your spurs

And you do all of this without saying a word

You grab your saddle, hackamore and blanket

Pull the brim of your hat down over your eyes

And head in the direction of the Remuda horse herd.

You tell the jigger boss what horse you would like

And he ropes you an outlaw by the name of Spike

The hump in his back causes the back of the saddle to rise

And you know then that for a cold wet morning,

The horse you picked to start the day sure is no prize

You ease your mount away from the Remuda so that if he blows up

You won’t be blamed for spooking the herd

When even on a cold wet morning you would not have to feel any shame

You head for the cow herd to start the day of cutting out and sorting

The cows that will stay and holding the ones that would be loaded and shipped away

Roundup is over and you draw your pay and load your gear

So you can be on your way

You tell the boss that you enjoyed the food and thanks for the pay

The next time there’s a roundup you can be sure as you’re sittin’

This cowboy is going to be roughing it at the Hilton.


Katie Lynn Sanders is a Master Herbalist, the author of seven books, has been a speaker on sustainable living, and loves all things wine, regenerative agriculture, homesteading, travel, food, arts, crafts, books, and finding enchantment and inspiration in the smallest things. She lives on a one acre farm with her husband, fourteen chickens, three ducks, a giant Pyrenees, two goats, five cats, and visiting children and grandchildren in southern Colorado.

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