The Cowgirl's Tale

It’s a good thing I was never much inclined
to girly stuff, ‘cause it would’ve been
my tough luck if I was.
I was born the last of six, the only female
‘cept for ma on the place.
Grew up just like my brothers,
lean and tough and a little wild.
I think Ma was a little disappointed
when I turned out so rough-and-tumble.
I think she would’ve liked to have had
someone knitting with her on the porch at night.

Our place is called Sundown Valley Ranch.
When I got older I used to laugh
‘cause we weren’t in much of a valley.
Oh, there were dips and hills
but mostly it was grassy plains.
Daddy said Ma named the ranch
when they first got married
and she always did have a romantic streak.
We raised cattle, good cattle,
Angus beef for the market.

I was on a horse by the time I was five.
Daddy taught me good -
there’s never been one that could throw me.
I learned to be fast and fearless.
I was bound to keep up with my brothers
so as not to be left out of all the fun.

We all went to school
but the minute we got home
books were forgotten and we were out
on our horses,
practicing with ropes and barrels.
It’s no easy thing to dodge in and out of barrels
but we all got good.
We all got pretty banged up too.
My brother Tommy broke his arm one time
showing off riding one-handed
and we none of us ever let him forget it.

Ranch life wasn’t easy but it was always interesting.
Always something to keep you busy,
even though we had experienced hands
doing most of the work.
I especially liked calving time.
Even though I knew those babies
would grow up to end up on someone’s plate
I loved spending time with the new ones.
But most of all I loved my horse Zero.

Zero was my birthday present when I turned ten.
He was an Appaloosa, all ringed and spotted and full of beans.
I called him Zero ‘cause he had
a dark brown ring around his left eye
that looked just like the marks I’d get in school
when I didn’t hand in my homework.
We were a team, me and Zero.

When I got older some of the boys
from neighboring ranches
would ask me to dances and cookouts,
but I never was much interested.
Sometimes I’d go with one or another of them
but I always ended up in a corner
talking riding and roping and such.
Ma despaired of me ever getting married
and she was right.
I never did put a ring on my finger.

Got no regrets about that.
I lived my life the way I wanted to,
riding, racing and roping and working on the ranch.
All my brothers got married
and went out on their own except for Jim.
He married Kathy Baker and they lived
on at the ranch too.
Good thing, ‘cause Daddy and Ma
began to get feeble and couldn’t keep up
with everything that needed to be done.

Now it’s just the three of us,
Jim, Kathy and me.
Their kids are grown and gone too.
We’ve cut back a little bit,
don’t raise as many head as we used to,
but we manage.
Sundown Valley Ranch is still going strong.

See these wrinkles?
I’ve got more lines on my face
than a dry gulch canyon.
Yep, the sun’s left his footprints all over my face
but it don’t bother me a bit.
Every cowgirl needs a hat,
and I always wore one
but it never did help much.

Old Zero’s long gone,
but I’ve always had a horse
and I’m still out there riding,
although at my time of life
I feel pretty beat-up some mornings.
But like I said, I have no regrets.
When I go I wish I could be buried here,
but county rules don’t allow for that.

© 2014 RC deWinter ~ All Rights Reserved

The Cowgirl's Tale

RC deWinter

Fairfield, United States

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Artist's Description

Narrative poem written in the voice of a woman rancher.

Artwork Comments

  • Shulie1
  • RC deWinter
  • Brian Tarr
  • RC deWinter
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