by Georgie Sicking, 1921-2016
When I was young and foolish,
The women said to me,
“Take off those spurs and comb your hair
If a lady you will be.
“Forget about those cowboy ways
come and sit a while,
We will try to clue you in
On women’s ways and wiles.
“Take off that Levi jumper
Put up those bat wing chaps.
Put on a little makeup and
We can get a date for you, ‘perhaps.’
“Forget about that roping.
That will make calluses on your hands.
And you know it takes soft fingers
If you want to catch a man!
“Do away with that Stetson hat
For it will crush your curls.
And even a homely cowboy wouldn’t
Date a straight-haired girl.”
Now being young and foolish,
I went my merry way.
I guess I never wore a dress
Until my wedding day.
Now I tell my children,
No matter what you do,
stand up straight and tall,
Be you, and only you.
For if the Lord had meant us, all to be alike,
And the same rules to keep,
He would have bonded us all together,
Just like a band of sheep.
© Georgie Sicking, used with permission
Much-loved cowboy and Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame inductee Georgie Sicking, who died a year ago, November 6, 2016, at age 95, continues to inspire poets and cowboys. This autobiographical poem is just one her many popular verses.
Find an interview with Georgie Sicking and her recitation of this poem here.
In the impressive book, Tough by Nature, by Lynda Lanker, Georgie Sicking tells that she was the only woman who ever drew pay on Arizona’s Oro Ranch, where she worked during World War Two. She prefers to be called a “cowboy,” not “cowgirl.”
She is quoted in Tough by Nature, “Some people had the idea that all you had to do to be a cowgirl was put on a pretty dress and a pair of boots and a big hat and get a faraway look in your eyes…and you’re a cowgirl. They’ve been kind of hard to educate.”
Of Ridin’ & Rhymin’, the award-winning documentary about Georgie Sicking by Greg Snider and Dawn Smallman of Far Away Films, Hal Cannon, Founding Director (retired) of the Western Folklife Center, comments, “Georgie Sicking is why ‘to cowboy’ is best used as a verb to explain a work, a life, and a big open land. This film captures her level gazed life in such a powerful way that it defines the American West.” A DVD of the outstanding film is available here.
Georgie Sicking’s photo (above) graces the cover of The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Five from CowboyPoetry.com. The circa 1940 photo was taken at a carnival on her first date with the man who became her husband (photo courtesy of Georgie Sicking and Dawn Smallman).
Find some of her poetry and more about Georgie Sicking at CowboyPoetry.com.