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.
GROWING UP POOR BY BUD ALLEN
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.