This poem was originally recited by Frank L. Jones and later copied by Loren “Teense” Willford.
Wild turkey in the oven and the boys all gathered round
And they got to kinda talkin’ ‘bout the different things they’d found
That they could feel thankful for on this Thanksgiving Day, And some, they told it serious-like, and some, they told it gay.
“I’m thankful most for cattle,” says Slim, who thinks a heap.
“Without them critters in the land we might be herdin’ sheep!”
Ol’ Bashful claimed that women was the blessing in his life – he must have meant his mother, for he’ll never get a wife!
Tom thanked the Lord that hosses had four legs instead of two, so cowboys don’t have to walk like some poor people do.
The Foreman he was thankful that the grass was good and long, and Curly said he thanked the stars that he was young and strong.
And Bud, he blessed his appetite and the way that turkey smelt, and said he felt thanksgiving for the long holes in his belt!
Ol’ Dunk, just kinda sucked his pipe and gazed off toward the hills.
Well boys, he says, I’m 69 years old and full of liver pills.
My rheumatism aches me and my pipe is gettin’ stale.
My hossy days are over, and I’m feelin’ purty pale.
My bunions are so bulblous that I’ve had to split my boot.
My ears – I’d have to climb the tree to hear a hoot owl hoot.
Cain’t drown my woes in likker, for my ticker’s on the blink.
I cain’t even read the cattylogs, the way my blinkers wink.
I’ve got some nose for smellin’ left – that turkey’s pert near done,
but all the chawin’ teeth I’ve got is about a half of one.
Ol’ Gus shore savvies fixin’ Turk! I’d like to eat a pound,
But hell, I couldn’t chaw it if he took and had it ground!
You talk about Thanksgivin’, boys, and here you see me set,
A plumb wore-out ol’ cowhand – but I’m mighty thankful yet,
For every hoss I’ve ever rode and every sight I ever saw,
But I’m thankful most of all for gravy – which a man don’t have to chaw!
Frank Jones originally recited the poem “Cowboy’s Thanksgiving” during family gatherings at Thanksgiving beginning about 1900.
Nationally known Cowboy musician, poet and entertainer Teense Willford first heard it as a kid at those family gatherings and continues to recite it. Teense recently entertained the local coffee club with this rendition and was asked to write it down so we could pass it along to our readers.
Both Teense and his great-uncle Frank Jones ranched on Calf Creek between Saratoga and Encampment and both served in the Wyoming State Legislature – Frank before 1900 and Teense at the end of the 1900s.