'Twas the night before Christmas at the ranch.

'Twas the night before Christmas, and all across the ranch,
Not a bovine was stirring, not even the herd bull sired by Conneally Advance.
All of the tractors and feed trucks had been parked in the yard with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.

The cattle were nestled all snug in their straw beds;
While visions of alfalfa bales danced in their heads.
And the rancher in his Carhartt and I in my hat,
Had just settled our bodies for a much needed long nap.

When out in the pasture there arose such a clatter!
I sprang from my easy chair to see what was the matter?!?
Away to the window, not sure what to anticipate,
We ran to the barn and threw open the chained gates!

The moon on the crest of the new fallen snow,
Gave a lustre of midday to the cattle in the field below.
When what to our sagging and tired eyes did appear?
But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer.

With a little old driver so lively & quick,
We knew in a moment that he must be good old St. Nick.
More rapid than a wild cow on the hunt, they came,
And he whistled and shouted and called them by name!

"Now Dasher! Now Dancer! Now Prancer and Vixen!
On Comet! On Cupid! On Donder & Blixen!
To the top of the ranch and over fences that tall,
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"

And as quick as cattle thru the sorting gates, off they did fly;
When met with a fenceline, the reindeer did mount to the sky.
Up to the north forty the reinder they flew,
With a sleigh full of hay and grain, and St. Nicholas too -

And then in a twinkling, we heard on the fresh fallen snow of the feeding grounds,
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As we pulled down our hats and were turning around,
Down the alley of Powder River panels St. Nicholas came with a bound!

He was dressed for the ranch, from his head to his foot,
His pants were pressed and he had on a pair of shiny black full quill boots!
A sack full of grain he had flung on his back,
And he looked ready to help with chores as he opened his pack.

His eyes - how they twinkled!  His dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up ready to praise,
And the beard on his chin was as white as a newborn Charolais;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the Stetson he wore, it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly
That shook when he laughed like a bowl full of homemade grape jelly.

He was chubby and plump, like a pen of well finished calves,
And we laughed when we saw him, in spite of ourselves,
A wink of his eye and a tip of his hat,
Soon let us know that we had nothing to fret.

He spoke not a word, but like any rancher would he went straight to his work,
Grain poured from his sack; and bales were spread with a new pitch fork.
Then letting us know that the chores had been done,
He gave a nod and across the pasture he did run.

He sprang to his sleigh and to his team gave the call,
And away they flew like a remuda of horses turned out all,
But I heard him exclaim to the animals & ranching families below,
As he rode out of sight -

"Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"


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