The Rest of the Story
When Christ was born in Bethlehem
Some sheepherder’s saw the light,
An’ heard the songs that filled the air
From an angel choir in the night.
We know this from the holy gospels
Which record the blessed event –
(Reporters all missed the cowboys,
Jest ‘a peepin’ thru the fence.)
Some ‘a them was peeled up a bit,
From their wrecks on the way to town;
‘Cuz a bronc that’s seen an angel choir
Could put ol’ Casey on the ground!
The trip was begun in search of fun
When one ‘a the puncher’s spoke,
“There’s a crowd in town for the taxin’, boys,
Let’s saddle up, an’ take a lope.”
“There’ll be strangers there from all around,
An’ prob’ly some purty girls,
A n’ maybe, even, a dance somewhere
Where we can take ‘em for a whirl.”
It sounded good to the lonely hands,
Who spent so much time on the range –
Cookie was the only one who’d been to town,
An’ everyone was needin’ a change.
So they busied the washtub an’ razor strap
An’ fought a lot over the glass –
Broke out their best duds an’ shined their boots,
Then figgered their looks ‘d pass.
They saddled their ponies an’ hit the trail
Never dreamin’ what a wild ol’ night
They’d have before reachin’ that Bethlehem place –
I’m tellin’ ya, it was a sight!
First thing they noticed was a big ol’ star
In a place where it never had been.
They begun to hear music – couldn’t tell from where,
Before they’d reached Job’s shearin’ pens.
Then, all of a sudden, the whole sky was lit
By a light like they’d never saw!
Ever’ cayuse stampeded a dif’rent direction,
Over hills, an’ down rocky draws.
Each hand was so busy getting’ back in control
He lost plumb track of the others –
They wish’t they’d stayed in their cozy bunks,
But t’was too late now for “druthers.”
Quite a bit later an’ further down the trail
They drifted back together,
Congratulatin’ each other in heartiest terms
For the kind of a storm they’d weathered.
“Them angels got a strange sens’a humor,” sez Slim.
“One kept sayin’, ‘Don’t be afraid!’”
“I’d ‘a liked to seen him stay on top of ol’ Blue,
Without turnin’ pale jest a shade!”
“Aw, give ‘em a break. They was sorry,” sez Clem,
“to have caused us such a storm.”
“Why, one caught my bronc an’ led him back to me –
Kep’ him from trompin’ all Samuel’s corn.”
Each told his tale as they rode along,
With much razzin’, an’ some braggin’,
An’ before they knew it they’d covered the miles
An’ into Bethlehem town was draggin.
“This ol’ colt’s had all the ridin’ he wants,”
The foreman soon did say.
“What say we hunt a liv’ry barn,
An’ give the brutes some hay?”
That suited one an’ all jest fine,
An’ soon they’d found a place –
But as Slim led his pony into the barn
He spied a lady’s face.
“Beg pardon, ma’am,” he blurted out,
“I thought this was the barn!”
She only smiled and pointed him to the hay,
Saying softly, “You’ll do no harm.”
“The city’s so crowded, since Augustus’ decree,
We could find no room in an inn.
But they gave us lodging for the night in here –
The baby’s come since then.”
“This ain’t no place for a baby!” Slim sputtered,
“Why, lookit Him in that manger.”
Still the Mother just smiled and calmly said,
“I’m sure He’s in no danger.”
And thus it was that all the hands,
Who cowboyed for ol’ Saul Morey
Met the Savior on that night of nights –
An’ now you know “the rest of the story.”
By Rhonda Sedgwick Stearns