Country Whispers

Winter of Fifty Five

I remember well the blizzards
in the winter of fifty-five,
an’ how I dang near froze to death
just tryin’ to survive

It was in the mighty Tetons
up Wyomin’ way—
the wind was blowin’ sideways
pert near ever’day

My friend, ol’ Henry Jones, an’ I
arrived an’ stowed our gear
in a line-shack on the mountain top,
it seemed for most a year

With a lean-to for the horses,
Big Red an’ my horse, Pie,
we hunkered down against the cold
up where the coyotes cry

Two cots for beds was where we slept,
right close to hearth and fire,
as snow blew thru’ the wall-cracks
makin’ warmth our one desire

Huntin’ weren’t so awful
till October’d come an’ gone,
with blizzards that just never quit—
the shelves was bare ‘fore long

We tried to ration what we had
instead of goin’ out—
no man would want to face those storms,
of that there is no doubt

But fin’lly Henry weakened,
an’ he mentioned with a growl,
“We’d best hunt up a stray cow
‘cause outside the door, wolves howl.”

Wolf on the Run

We hadn’t left the cabin far
when by grace of God, or luck,
my horse, Pie, whinnied, sniffed the air,
an’ then we spied a buck.

I draw’d, real slow, my old carbine,
an’ took most careful aim,
darin’ not to miss him
for his carcass we must claim

Down he went with just one shot,
my breath I could exhale,
fresh venison a few more weeks
in storm, an’ wind, an’ gale

By spring the horse’s hay run out,
an’ they was lookin’ thin—
but shoots come peekin’ thru’ the snow
an’ they fattened up again

Winter Snows

I think that almost cured me
from roundin’ up stray beef,
the cold, the wind, an’ starvin’
was the sum of too much grief

I headed south to Texas
where the sun shines more than not,
now I’m workin’ in the flatlands
where winters are plum’ hot!

Winter of Fifty Five by Tamara Hillman


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