Twin lambs on the ground,
Safe and sound with their mama,
Their whole life ahead.
There was lots of llama drama
At the shearing shed tonight,
Mama Beulah and Maria
Put up a worthy fight.
“Can’t you see it’s cold out,
Can’t you see our frosty breath?
It’s not weather fit for shearing.
No fleece could bring our death!”
“We have barns to give you shelter,
We have cozy straw for bed,
There will be no frozen llamas,
You have no need for dread”
“But we can see those rams
Who have lost their wooly coats,
They no longer look majestic,
They look more like hairy goats.”
“Step right up here, ladies,
To the Ladder Ranch salon.
You’ll soon sport the latest style,
Your wavy locks will soon be gone.”
“No, we like our flowing locks.
We like it long and swirly,
We like it warm and thick.
Our best look is llama curly”
“Your new look will be most stylish.
Your new look will be most sleek.
You’ll have the latest, greatest ‘dos,
Your llama glamour all will seek.”
“Whoa, what is all this racket?
What is this clank and clatter?
We don’t want a crew cut hair cut!
Our opinion doesn’t matter?!”
“Never mind those four strong guys,
Just ignore that noisy shearer,
Lie right down here on the platform.
There’s no need for fear here.”
“Wait, I’m on my back now!
You’ve stretched me stem to stern!
Those blades are on my skin!
Are you sure that it won’t burn?”
“Don’t struggle so, my llama,
Soon this shearing will be done.
From your fleece you’ll soon be parted,
And your hide will soon see sun.”
“No—I won’t take this lying down,
It will make this llama sad.
Why, this humiliation
Just makes me spitting mad!”
“Now you can look just lovely,
With your new stylish trendy ‘do,
You can join your sheep friends,
With a cut that’s cute and new!”
“No, I don’t want this summer haircut,
Can’t you tell that it’s still cold!
I don’t like those noisy clippers
I don’t like this strongarm hold!”
“We can let her go now,
Her shearing is complete.
Oh, yuck! What is this vile goo
That’s spattered on my feet?!”
“That’s my mama llama spit,
You deserve that sticky blast.
Maybe next year you’ll remember
And this trim will be my last!”
Yup, it was lots of llama drama
At the Ladder Ranch tonight,
If you don’t mind a little spit
They’re quite the stylish sight!
The Reader Cemetery is where most of my forebears are laid to rest. It has mostly fallen to Meghan and me (Sharon) to lay flowers on 21 graves. These include Pat’s father, my parents, both sets of grandparents, four great-grandparents, my brother, my sister, aunts and uncles on both sides of the family, cousins, and several beloved former employees of the ranch. It even includes a friend of my long-deceased grandfather who was killed in a notorious gunfight in Baggs in 1912 (Chick Bowen). We always try to lay flowers ahead of the Memorial Day ceremony at the cemetery. This year, we were inundated in rain and fully occupied in the lambing shed, so did not get the flowers laid until Memorial Day itself–a day after the remembrance ceremony. We figured that the ancestors would understand about the lambing.
Tombstone Time—A Sonnet
Of all the jobs that fell to me
Just one drew tears, and grief and dread
I postponed, but all would see
No stone upon my mother’s bed.
Gravestone nightmares filled my sleep,
This rock would last far past my days,
“I pray the Lord, my soul to keep”
And choose a stone ‘fore end of May
When friends and kin would honor her,
Winter dead, and ashes laid,
With tales of love, with summer flower,
Not let beloved mem’ry fade.
Life’s essence captured in one line
Carved in rock in tombstone time.
We were crowded in the bunkhouse;
Not a soul did dare to sleep.
‘Twas midnight up at Three Forks,
And the snow was six feet deep.
It’s a terrible thing in that land,
To be caught in such a storm.
You’re forty miles from nowhere,
And no way to give alarm.
When the storm was over
And the sun began to shine.
We scooped the snow off the cattle,
and they were looking fine.
We lifted our arms to Heaven;
Said, “Thank God for just one thing.
Today’s the Fourth of July;
It can’t be long til spring!”
John Gill, 1939