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Monday, March 27, 2017

Growing Up Poor- By Bud Allen

Posted Saturday, November 12, 2011, at 7:36 PM

My oldest brother Rick at our first Cousin's Reunion in 2006.
This blog belongs entirely to my dad. I am not sure when he wrote this. The first time I heard it was at a family gathering shortly before he passed away.

Dad wrote all kinds of poetry over the years, but it was Cowboy Poetry that captured the essence of his talent and heart.


I grew up poor, if you know what I mean,

Times then was tough and the picking was lean.

I was raised in a shack, by the spring, up the draw,

Lots of brothers and sisters and a Ma and a Pa.

A few chickens and cows and horses there too,

A long way from town, so we learned to "make do".

A big old iron range that burned wood by the cord,

Choppin' wood's what you done so you wouldn't get bored.

Some slept in the kitchen, by the tables and chairs,

Mostly because there weren't no upstairs.

Ma washed in a tub to keep our clothes clean,

And the milk stayed cold in a box by the spring.

The clothes that we wore didn't cost much,

Most of the made by Mama's soft touch.

I remember back then we ate lots of game,

What beef that we butchered was the halt and the lame.

It was food on the table and meat in the pot,

It tastes mighty good, when it's all that you've got.

We were taught not to waste and always say grace,

Don't sit down at the table till you've washed your face.

A handshake those days would seal any deal,

When strangers come by they were offered a meal.

You took care of their horses like they was your own,

And did what you could to make them feel at home.

You didn't buy nothing those days on time,

I can remember my folks ever owing a dime.

Ma could milk an old cow, or set a broke limb,

Take out a sliver or sing you a hymn.

She could give you a lickin' stuff your mouth full of soap,

Or give you some lovin', fill your heart full of hope.

She could bake you a pie or else fry you a scone,

She made that old shack a warm lovin' home.

Make plain simple food taste fit for a king,

I swear to this day, my Ma was a queen.

It amazes me now, how much smarter my Pa,

Had got since I was a kid, in that place up the draw.

Just a plain simple man that lived by his code,

With twelve kids to feed, he packed a big load.

He taught me of value, honor and pride,

To do a days work without the boss at my side.

To crawl right back on, when a horse bucked me off,

When you meet a lady, your hat you must doff.

To help out a neighbor, when he is in need,

Never take pay, when you've done a good deed.

You don't put your saddle on a horse if he's poor,

Or work a good team till their shoulders were sore.

Keep all your cows on the very best feed,

Doctor all the sick critters, whatever their need.

When you've given your word, that's just what it means,

Never try to back out, with excuses and things.

Long years have passed since I was a lad,

I guess growing up poor wasn't really that bad.

I had wealth beyond counting and treasure galore,

That's how it was just growing up poor.

By Bud Allen

As our family approaches the 2nd year of his being gone from our midst, I tried to think of something that would honor him the most. My oldest brother Rick, memorized this entire poem and quoted it in his remarks at Dad's memorial service. It was an awesome thing to do on his part, putting aside his own grief and sharing something that defined our father in a very difficult setting.

We miss our dad terribly, but we are able to catch glimpses of him in our own children and grandchildren. We can hear his voice raised in pride and raised in irritation too. You didn't belong to the family until you got yelled at for letting a cow slip by. We can see his face light up when he was telling a "TALL TALE". And we hear his music as the last notes fade away from his mandolin.

Our loved ones are the treasure that no government can take away. Our reflections and memories are more valuable than silver or gold. This Thanksgiving, the world's troubles may storm around us, but a family who is willing to love; forgive or hold strong during the difficult times will not be dismayed.

Keep your loved ones close in your heart and never miss an opportunity to hug them and tell them how much you love them.

Showing comments in chronological order
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To both of you, WELL SAID!

Bonnie, having recently joined company with those who have lost a parent, I understand more than ever your feelings and words. It is time for me to try once again to get my own family back together and put the bad feelings aside.

God Bless you Bonnie.

-- Posted by royincaldwell on Sun, Nov 13, 2011, at 6:59 AM

Beautiful written poem

Did your Dad write other poems?

I have a dog sweater I knit that I named "coat of many colors" from the Dolly Parton's song. I use left over yarn a little bit of this and a little bit of that and it has always been a good seller for me..

-- Posted by MsMarylin on Sun, Nov 13, 2011, at 10:12 AM

Dad wrote many things over his lifetime. There has been discussion of a book at some point.

This was the only one that I had in my possession but I feel as though it was one of the most important ones.


I hope to see you on the 21st.

-- Posted by KH Gal on Sun, Nov 13, 2011, at 11:25 AM

Wouldn't miss it. I still need an e-mail as to where it will be.

-- Posted by royincaldwell on Sun, Nov 13, 2011, at 1:14 PM

I will be sending an email to all, please send me one so I have yours miller.jessielou@gmail.com

Great blog Bonnie!

-- Posted by jessiemiller on Mon, Nov 14, 2011, at 9:01 AM

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Bonnie Bird
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Fixing fence is the one of the hardest jobs on a ranch. I no longer live on a ranch, but I do know what hard work is. Fences are everyone's concern, but nowadays,the "hole" is always your neighbor's side not your own. It used to be that you would respect your neighbor and mend the fence together. If their cows got in your field, a simple phone call resolved the problem. You might even saddle up your own horse and help them gather them up. We need more people who are willing to roll their sleeves up and fix the fence regardless of who your neighbor is. There are people in this country who need to be reminded that a fence is like the way you should conduct your life. Your posts should be straight and neat. The wire needs to be stretched tight and your gate might be closed, but can still be easily opened. And most of all, we can all saddle up together and ride the range, it won't matter if you have an Appaloosa, Quarter Horse or Thoroughbred. The cows still have to be gathered, fences have to be fixed, and the range is a wide open space of opportunity for us all.
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