MAJOR ‘N ME AN’ TH’ SNOWSTORM
By Donna Penley
Major was a geldin’ my dad bought for my birthday;
He was twelve an’ so was I, in summer 1950.
He was muscular, yet wiry, an’ he had a heart o’ gold;
An’ he saved my life that winter, so his story must be told
We’d moved t’ Kansas from Missouri, had t’ leave my horse behind;
Had moped an’ cried, so dad said a horse for me he’d find. (So, he took me to a sale)
Paid $800 dollars for th’ geldin’, an’ herein lies th’ tale.
Major had been a ranch horse, an’ a good one in his day;
Hard times had made him poor an’ thin, his coat a faded bay.
So, we took him home, deformed him, an’ fed him
An’ it wasn’t long ‘till that ol’ horse showed his King Ranch blood.
That summer was idyllic, we traveled many a trail;
Got t’ know an’ trust one another as we traversed hill an’ dale.
Then summer faded into fall, an’ winter’s blast was nigh;
Little did I realize my horse an’ I might die!
On a venture in a blizzard that came up fast an’ hard;
Ol’ Blue Norther came a’ hellin’, an’ my dad let down his guard.
To validate my dad’s part in this saga, I must say
Th’ weather hadn’t socked in yet when he sent us out that day.
To a pasture three miles west of home, t’ pick
Up two ol’ cows,
An’ their yearlin’ doggie’s, of which my dad was proud.
We made th’ three miles in short time, then th’ snow began t’ fall;
So hard it was getting’ hard t’ see,
O’er my eyes I pulled my shawl.
We headed back at a faster pace, th’ snow, it turned t’ sleet;
Th’ wind was howlin’ loud an’ mean, drivin’ snow ‘round Major’s feet.
Th’ cows were getting’ restless, an’ they bagan t’ bawl;
As th’ wind whipped ‘round us, meanlike. They knew we was lost.
My feet an’ hands were burnin. My saddle caked with ice;
Major kept throwin’ up his head, as th’ pellets hit his eyes.
I stepped off th’ horse an’ spoke t’ him. Took off my neckerchief,
Tied it to both sides o’ his bridle, t’ give his eyes relief.
My heart was beatin’ heavy, an’ I was in a panic;
I knew back at the home place my Mom was nearly frantic.
So, I gathered up my courage, an’ I talked t’ that ol’ horse;
Told Major that it was up t’ him -- that he must choose our course.
I dropped th’ reins down on his neck, an’ I sat on both my hands;
Clucked t’ him an’ breathed a prayer I’d chosen th’ right plan.
It seemed like hours later, as numb an’ turnin’ blue,
I spotted headlights up ahead. Ol’ Major had come through!
Dad was mighty glad t’ see us, ran th’ stock into th’ barn;
Sent me packin‘, to th’ house t’ get my body warm.
My Mom was really mad at Dad. She really gave him heck
For sendin’ me an’ Major out, an’ riskin’ both our necks.
They say years dim your memory, an’ make things not th’ same;
But that night comes back so vividly -- th’ cold, th’
fear, th’ pain.
An’ th’ good sense of th’ ol’ bay horse --
Major was his name.
Donna Penley is a Cowgirl Poet with deep Kansas roots who has been writing cowboy poetry for over twenty five years. She is a real Cowgirl and an ex-barrel racer.
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