William Weinrich column head

It was December 24th and I remember it quite yet.

I was ridin’ across the prairie without a single regret.

I was sitting astraddle a blue roan horse,

He seemed to like the country so I let him have his course.

Trailing along on a lead rope was my contrary buckskin mare, Pet.

I had finally gotten her broke to ride and was plumb tickled to death.

Running along was a donkey I had found in the mountains over a year ago.

And Jack, as I had called him, tagged along since he had nowhere else to go.

Now, old Pet had fallen in love as most young mares do,

And her dream of having a young one was about to come true.

As I was riding along on this cold and starry night,

I looked up toward heaven and I saw a beautiful sight.

A bright star was shining noticeable more than all the rest.

I knew it was telling me that there would soon be a Christmas guest.

The star was pointing toward the East through the snowflakes that were starting to come down;

Then all at once I spotted some lights and soon came to a little bitty town.

I approached a livery stable but before I could get my foot out of the stirrup and step to the ground,

A little man came out of the livery stable door- he was quite short and round.

“Howdy, Stranger, howdy,” this little feller said to me.

“It’s two bits a night for each of your critters but you can stay for free.”

“There is hot coffee in the coffee pot and hot stew on the stove,

Cathead biscuits in the oven that will warm you clear down to your toes.”

So I led my critters into the stable and put each one in a stall

All but old Pet-she just plumb gave out and I didn’t want her to fall.

So with a little effort me and the old feller got old Pet to lie down;

We covered her up with blankets and soon she was safe and sound.

Then I found my way to the coffee pot and poured myself a cup,

And commenced to sit down on a bucket and size this situation up.

The feller that owned the stable said that it would soon be Christmas Day,

And that there was a Christmas play at the church that night and that he needed to be on his way.

So off he went a traipsing through the night and the falling snow,

To see the play his young ones were in, hoping to set his own heart aglow.

So myself, I went back to old Pet, to see if she was having any luck,

But she was laying nice and still as quiet as a green-headed Mallard duck.

Then I heard a commotion out in the nearby street,

So I opened up the stable door to take a little peek.

The snow was still falling hard as most in the west usually do.

I saw a mule being led by a small boy so cold he seemed to be turning blue.

And on that mule’s back was a woman who looked to be almost due.

I said, “What are you doing out here in this here time of night?”

And as she passed through the open stable door, she commenced to tell me of her plight.

“My husband was always foolish and also a little too bold,

So he left me and the boy here and went off to prospect for gold.”

“He was up in the Superstitious Mountains and he didn’t have a bit of good luck.

The Apaches met up with him and unfortunately he became that evening’s potluck.”

So I steadied her carefully as she got down off that mule,

And she continued to go on about her husband that she called the crazy fool.

She told me the only doctor, Doc Jones, was about twenty miles to the south,

He was delivering a set of twins to some lady by the name of Mrs. Hagrouth.

I said, “You can’t have your baby here. Ain’t there room in the hotel?”

But they had done checked and all the rooms had been rented for quite a long spell.

“Holy hen house,” I said, “I ain’t delivered a baby before.”

But she reassured me that it was no harder than walking out through a door.

I found some warm horse blankets that I guessed would have to do,

And then I sat down on the ground and as I sat there I began to really stew.

When I heard some scratching on the door, chills seemed to run through my hair,

So I got up and to check what possibly could be there.

I peeked out slowly and I looked all around;

And bless my soul, if it weren’t an old blue tick hound.

The small boy ran toward the door as he yelled to his ma,

“I bet it’s Old Blue. I could tell by the sound of the scratchin’ of her paw.”

Sure enough the dog belonged to the boy and she was bout as round as a ball.

Well, I let her into the barn and the boy laid her down in a stall.

We made her a warm nest and as she put herself down making all sorts of appreciative sounds,

I knew it wouldn’t be long before we would be blessed with a litter of baby hounds.

Suddenly I noticed something out the barn window-oh what a beautiful site!

There was the star of Bethlehem shining through the night.

As I stared through that old cracked barn window at that star that was so very bright,

I started thinking about the Baby Jesus born in a stable on that long ago night.

Then suddenly I heard a groan coming from over towards Pet’s way.

She had decided to go into labor- her baby was on its way.

As I worried about just how birthin’ a foal went,

The woman decided to have her blessed event.

She smiled as she said, “Remember what I told you before,

It’s easy having a baby-just like walking through a door.”

Old Pet beat the woman in that race and if that foal didn’t just beat it all.

It was a beautiful little molly baby buckskin colored just like its ma.

The woman was next. I can help her, at least I think I can.

The first thing I know I was holding her little baby boy in one hand

I gave the baby to his mother and hurried all about

Trying to find a clean blanket but we had to do without.

Then the boy came to me and said that Old Blue is about due

The first thing I am starting to count puppies-one and then two

Soon I had counted all the way up to ten.

The prettiest pups I had ever seen since I just don’t know when.

I heard voices out the door and a hustling over I did go.

And here come a group of people coming through the snow.

They all had gifts for the baby I discovered in just a little while.

Just like the wise men of long ago, they each had a gift for the new child.

They all kneeled in a circle around the woman and the new born boy,

Thanking the Lord up above as their hearts were filled with joy.

The townspeople had made sure the woman had a bed in the hotel

They managed to have enough to pay for her to stay there quite a spell.

As I was getting ready to leave, I made a trip to the Cafe to get me a bite to eat.

And here come that woman carrying her baby and sat down on the next seat.

She said, “I wanted to thank you for taking care of my baby and me.”

I told her there was no need to be thankin’ me.

I explained that I had been glad to be able to help her out,

But that her thanks should go to the good Lord, no doubt.

She told me that she had forgotten to introduce herself the other night with all that was going on.

Her name was Mary Joseph, she explained, and her twelve year old son was named John.

She went on to remind that she and her boys would go back to the farm a few miles from here.

She invited me to stop by her place if my travels ever brought me near.

With no husband she went on to say that she didn’t know how she would pay for the place.

I could tell the worries were taking over her joy by lookin’ at her face.

I promised I would be back and that I would help her out in her time of strife.

And secretly I wondered if this woman might someday become my wife.

And so ended the Christmas on the prairie- one that would eventually change my life.

Because, as you might have guessed, those boys became my boys and Sweet Mary became my wife.

And Doc Jones just informed us the stork is on the way

It’s twins, and theirs is due on Christmas Day

Merry Christmas

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