This poem is in Buckshot Dot's New Book
Arizona Herstory.

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Stilt Stock Stampede

This one is, obviously, a little more "lore" than the ones before, but it is based on an actual incident. It has been placed is this section only because of the fictionalized treatment I have given the tragic incident. It is dedicated to my good friends, the brothers Cook, who know about these things. (1)

 
 

I met a gal named Win-i-fred;
She was so sweet and pretty!
She said she'd been a milliner
Back East in New York City.

I asked her, "Wheat or oats?" She said,
It's hats! You must know that!"
It really would have got my goat,
And closed our little chat,

Except she slipped and dropped a tip
That went off like a light!
She said she needed ostrich plumes
To make her hats just right!

So I rented us a carriage,
For the ostrich ranch to ride;
But I sure did feel disparagd
(Cowboys ought to ride astride!)

Out on the range, I said, "It's strange,
The way them cows are built!"
Then I realized, with some surprise,
That stock was all on stilts!

I thought I'd steal a little smooch,
But that was quite a switch!
Did you ever get all puckered up
To find you'd kissed a ostrich?

We'd just arrived at the big bird ranch,
When I heard a dreadful sound!
Then all at onct we was amongst
The dust clouds blowin' round.

Dang well I knew, from how it blew,
We's right smack in the track
Of a sticky stiff stilt stock stampede
A frightful fowl attack!

There warn't no joy for this old boy!
I wondered how the dickens
I got fixed up to get mixed up
With them inflated chickens!

They was squawkin' and a-squallin'
And them stiff stick stilt stock legs
Was a-clawin' and a-pawin''
And the hens was layin' eggs!

I could see the wranglers clust'rin'
All a-pushin' for the lead
Them famous feather dustin'
Buckaroos
, a-gainin' speed! (2)

Well, Sweet Thing started squealin',
And the whole thing was a blur
Of feathered things with necks and wings,
And buggy wheels and her!

Then Win-i-fred stepped on my head,
And jumoed out of the rig.
I think I said,"I think I'm dead!"
But like a whirligig,

The buggy swung the other way,
And I could see quite plainly
That gal from New York City was
Outrunnun' them ungainly

Birds. Although I'd heard
They're the fastest thing alive!
She's out front! They bore the brunt
Of the dust that she contrived!

Have you ever seen a lady
With her hat flowers disarranged,
And egg-yolk drippin' down from every rose?
Her veil a-trailin' feathers
As she gallops 'crost the plains,
A ostrich plume protrudin' from her nose!

Well, the last time that I seen her,
She was headin' up Four Peaks
(All four at onct that's quite a stunt)
Now it's goin' on six weeks

Since that fowl wreck, but sure as heck,
If we ever get together,
There ain't no doubt, we won't go out
A huntin' ostrich feathers!

 
   
 

. . . Dee Strickland Johnson, 2000

 
 
(1) A buggy carrying a man and a woman actually overturned during an ostrich stampede in 1914. The woman was killed. The location of the accident was 59th Avenue (then called Lateral 18) and Lower Buckeye Road. (James E. Cook, letters to author, June, 1999 and 2002).
(2) Reference to Dean Cook's inimitable song, "The Feather Duster Cowboy" in Arizona Born (Glendale, Arizona 1998), p. 51.
(It's even better when Dean sings it!)
 
  This poem is in Buckshot Dot's New Book
Arizona Herstory.

Order Today for only $24.45 (including shipping).
Get an autographed first edition by ordering today!
Arizona Herstory by Buckshot Dot

Order Now!


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