Best wishes for your Christmas Is all you get from me, 'Cause I aint no Santa Claus— Don't own no Christmas tree.
But if wishes was health and money, I'd fill your buck-skin poke, Your doctor would go hungry An' you never would be broke.
From Charlie Russell's 1914 Christmas card
Christmas Week in Sagebrush
It is Christmas week in Sagebrush, and the old town's only store Never had, sence it was opened, such a run o' trade before. Ev'ry rancher is a-blowin' his "dinero" full and free, Buyin' gim-cracks for the young'uns to put on the Christmas tree.
The cowboys ride in muffled in their wolf-skin coats and chaps, And the rancher's wife is wearin' all her extry furs and wraps; 'Cuz nobody takes no chances on a norther breakin' loose, Fer a blizzard on the prairy's purty apt to raise the deuce.
The ponies that are standin' all a-shiver at the rack, Champ their bits, and paw and nicker for their riders to come back; Ev'ry poker joint is runnin', and there's faro and roulette, And the booze-joints are a-grabbin' all the punchers they can get.
The picter show is crowded full o' riders off the range Who are watchin' actor cowboys doin' stunts that's new and strange; Ev'ry film brings groans and hisses, 'cuz the guys upon the screen Go through lots o' monkey bizness that a cow ranch never seen.
From the dance halls comes the echoes of a squeaky violin, Where the painted dames are ropin' all the gay cowpunchers in; For it's Christmas week in Sagebrush, and there won't a puncher go Back to ride the wintry ranges when he has a cent to blow!
E. A. Brininstool, from Trail Dust of a Maverick, 1914
These spicy, anise-flavored cookies from New Mexico are
rich, crisp, and very easy to make.
Biscochitos are the holiday cookie staple in New Mexico.
The Biscochito is New Mexico’s Official State Cookie
as declared by the New Mexico Legislature in 1989.
Biscochitos were first introduced to Mexico by Spanish settlers
who brought the recipe from Spain.
Stored in a tightly sealed container, they can be frozen up to six months.
1 ½ cups lard, chilled* 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar, divided 2 eggs 2 teaspoons anise seeds 4 cups all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons baking powder ½ teaspoon salt About 3 tablespoons brandy, apple juice, or milk* 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350°F. Beat lard and 1 cup sugar in a bowl until fluffy. Add eggs and anise seeds, and beat until very light and fluffy. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Add to creamed mixture along with the brandy. Mix thoroughly to make a stiff dough. Place dough on a long piece, about three feet of waxed paper at one end. Bring the long end over the top and press to about one inch or slightly less in thickness and refrigerate until chilled.)
Roll out dough between waxed paper to just under ½ inch thickness. Cut with flour dusted cutters into the traditional fleur de lis shape or into 3-inch rounds. Combine the 3 remaining tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon in a shallow bowl; dip unbaked cookies into the sugar-cinnamon mixture on one side. Place cookies on ungreased baking sheets. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until tops of cookies are just firm. Cool cookies on wire racks.
*Notes: Butter or margarine can be substituted for the lard, however the cookies will not be as crisp and moist. Apple juice or milk can be substituted for the brandy, however they are not quite as good.
Makes 4 dozen cookies
Recipe courtesy of Jane Butel’s Southwestern Kitchen
A COWBOY'S CHRISTMAS PRAYER By S. Omar Barker (1894-1985)
S. Omar Barker (1894–1985), an oft-recited cowboy poet was born in a log cabin
in New Mexico where he lived his entire life as a rancher, teacher and writer.
The prayer below is considered his most famous work, having been printed in
various publications over a hundred times, and recorded by Jimmy Dean
and Tennessee Ernie Ford. I ain't much good at prayin', and You may not know me, Lord- I ain't much seen in churches where they preach Thy Holy Word, But you may have observed me out here on the lonely plains, A-lookin' after cattle, feelin' thankful when it rains, Admirin' Thy great handiwork, the miracle of grass, Aware of Thy kind spirit in the way it comes to pass That hired men on horseback and the livestock we tend Can look up at the stars at night and know we've got a friend. So here's ol' Christmas comin' on, remindin' us again Of Him whose coming brought good will into the hearts of men. A cowboy ain't no preacher, Lord, but if You'll hear my prayer, I'll ask as good as we have got for all men everywhere. Don't let no hearts be bitter, Lord. Don't let no child be cold. Make easy beds for them that's sick and them that's weak and old. Let kindness bless the trail we ride, no matter what we're after, And sorter keep us on Your side, in tears as well as laughter. I've seen ol' cows a-starvin, and it ain't no happy sight: Please don't leave no one hungry, Lord, on thy good Christmas night- No man, no child, no woman, and no critter on four feet- I'll aim to do my best to help You find 'em chuck to eat. I'm just a sinful cowpoke, Lord-ain't got no business prayin'- But still I hope You'll ketch a word or two of what I'm sayin': We speak of Merry Christmas, Lord-I reckon you'll agree There ain't no Merry Christmas for nobody that ain't free. So one thing more I'll ask You, Lord: Just help us what you can To save some seeds of freedom for the future sons of man.
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