by Yvonne Hollenbeck
You say I look disgusted
but you took me by surprise,
and I suppose there was resentment
coming from my eyes.
Since that hired man left us
I’ve been more than just his wife;
I’m the helper by his side
as he continues ranching life.
I get the gates and scoop the bunks
and help with feeding hay,
and that is just the start
of all the jobs I do each day.
I’m right there for the calving
and I help with all the chores,
then try to catch my work up
when I get some time indoors.
You see, I run and jump
each time he gives a little yelp,
and it galls me that you ask
how he is doing “with no help.”
© 2014, Yvonne Hollenbeck
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission
Yvonne Hollenbeck is cowboy poetry’s most visible ranch wife, and her life gives her endless material. She is a sought-after performer at Western events, for her poetry and for her traveling program that includes the works of the five generations of quiltmakers in her family. She is a champion quilter.
Yvonne and and her husband Glen, a champion calf-roper, raise cattle and quarter horses on their ranch in Clearfield, South Dakota.
In fairness to Glen, the poem came about after he told Yvonne about someone who, even after Glen had said Yvonne was helping out, went on to ask how he did everything “with no help.”
This poem is in Yvonne Hollenbeck’s recent book, Rhyming the Range, which collects her original poems about her life on the ranch. The book includes the most requested poems from her two out-of-print books and all of her newest poetry. She also has a CD by the same name that includes many of those poems.
Next month, Yvonne heads to the Red Steagall Cowboy Gathering & Western Swing Festival, October 27-29, 2017 at the Forth Worth Stockyards National Historic District. Events include a ranch rodeo, invitational team roping, chuck wagon competition, wagon train/trail ride, and much more. Yvonne joins other poets and musicians, including Don Edwards, Jay Snider, Jean Prescott, Chris Isaacs, Dan Roberts, “Straw” Berry, Mikki Daniel, Bobby Flores, Kristyn Harris, Jake Hooker, Leon Rausch, Hailey Sandoz, and of course, the great Red Steagall.
This photo, by Yvonne Hollenbeck, was taken last spring at the Hollenbeck ranch.