Newborns

Newborns

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Stranger's Advice

Note: I originally wrote this poem more than 10 years ago, but I thought it was especially appropriate this year.  Merry Christmas!

I’d been to the sale earlier that day
To sell a load of lambs,
And drivin’ back I was mighty depressed
About what the buyer had paid.

We’d bought the ranch a couple years before
And it’d be tough to make it through
Another year like this one;
We couldn’t take much more.

The headlights of my truck flashed on a man
Up ahead alongside the road.
It was snowin’ pretty hard by then,
So I stopped and offered him a hand.

I could see that he was pretty old
As I looked him over in the cab.
His long white beard was full o’ ice,
And he shivered in the cold.

“Thanks for the ride,” he said and grinned,
“I knew you’d be along,
I’m headed the very same direction,
And I knew where you’d just been.”

How’d you know I’d been to town,
And how do you know who I am?
How do you know where I’m goin’?
I asked him with a frown.

“Dan, I know a lot more’n you think,”
He answered with a  chuckle.
“I know you took a beatin’ on those lambs
You sold,” he added with a wink.

Yeah, well, I said, it’s not much fun –
We’re barely getting by.
What’s worse we’ll have no Christmas –
Now what’ll I tell my son?!

“That’s why you picked me up,” said he,
“So I could tell you what to say.
Tell your boy why you chose this life,
And he’ll begin to see

“That he gets a gift most every day
By you livin’ there on the ranch.
That’s what you’re givin’ this Christmastime;
He’s bound to see it this way.

“He fishes all summer down at the crick,
Goes huntin’ with you in the fall.
Winters he helps with all the chores –
What else would a ranch kid pick?

“So don’t dwell on what you couldn’t get,
Store-bought gifts are over-rated!
Be thankful he’s growin’ up out here,
Your ranch is the perfect fit!”

Then he asked me to pull over once more
And let him out of the truck.
“This is as far as I need to go,”
He said, “and like I tried to say before,

“Don’t worry about what you couldn’t buy
Or what’s not underneath your tree,
‘Cause the gift you’ve already been given
Comes from up on high.”

As he climbed down from the cab he paused
And said, “Can’t you figure out who I am?”
And as he disappeared into the snow night,
I realized he was Santa Claus!

So now I’m thankful that we’re livin’ out here,
And that I’m raisin’ my family to ranch.
So I’m wishin’ you all a Merry Christmas
And the happiest of all New Years!

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