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

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Arizona Herstory by Buckshot Dot
Swap Me A Biscuit
(Thanks to Barb Baker of Showlow for this great rat tale! She swears that it's true and that Fred Martin hails from Round Valley.) (1)


I used to do some guidin'
Down on the lower Blue.
And Fred Martin was the finest cook
I think I ever knew.

Why, when it come to trail herd stew,
(Son of a .... whatever you call it), (2)
Why I'd foller his chuck wagon
Just most any place he'd haul it!

His frijoles and his hash were great!
His dried apple pies, real fine!
(Claimed he crimped' em with his old false teeth –
Cause that makes the best design).

He fixed us “hmmm, hmmm in a sack", (3)
(Now that's puddin' made of suet).
I reckon he's the only cook
I ever knew could do it!

When huntin' parties started out,
It was Fred they'd want for chuck,
And times we knew we'd get him,
Well, we figgered, "We're in luck!"

'Cause what he made the very best –
Either wood stove or Dutch oven –
Was biscuits! Watch that crew come up
Just a-pushin'and a-shovin'

To get to ol' Fred's biscuits,
Of which we could eat right smart!
We'd rustle up some kindlin' wood
To give Fred a good head start.

One time we's camped at HU-Bar,
We'd packed in seven miles
To that little old log cabin;
Fred had done swept out the piles

Of trash and stuff the rats had left.
The place was lookin' good.
When we got in, he's shovin' in
A few more sticks of wood

To that big ol' iron Mazda
And the room was smellin' great
They's big thick steaks and chili beans
Boy, we could hardly wait!

But Fred, he said we'd have to stall
For just a few more minutes,
"This oven just ain't heatin' right!"
And he kept peepin' in it.

"These biscuits, they ain't hardly browned!"
We kept hearin' that about 'em,
But we was starvin' and 'Ilowed as how
We'd have to eat without'em.

Now, Fred just kept a-checkin'
And a lookin' pretty hurt,
He set out a pot of honey,
Said, "We'll have 'em for dessert!"

And when at last he put em' on
That rough ol' wood plank table,
He thought we'd wolf 'em up real fast –
But none of us was able!

Why them things was hard as dornicks! (4)
We laughed and Chuck said, "Shucks!
We could shoot' em in our sling shots
And kill ourselves some bucks!"

Well, Fred, he was embarrassed,
Set the pan down on the floor,
And Slim took down that fiddle
That'd he'd hung up by the door.

Someone had brought Jack Daniels
So we's drinkin’ and a-smokin';
Just listenin' to the music,
A-visitin and jokin',

When Tuffy put his finger up
And motioned us for quiet.
He pointed us to look that that way,
Oh, brothers what a riot!

There was utter total silence
Nobody said a word,
For there was a great big pack rat
A-totin' a dried horse turd!

He didn't seem to see us,
All he was lookin’ at
Was that pan of Fred's cold biscuits,
What a feast for one pack rat!

Then we busted right out laughin'
And I reckon that rat heard,
For he up and grabbed a biscuit
And he left his dried horse turd!

Poor Fred! He really got it!
We could not contain our mirth.
Red said, 'Fred, there goes one biscuit –
You can see what it was worth!"

But I tell you, that warn't nothin'!
Back that rat come to the shack.
Quick, he up and grabbed his horse turd
And he put Fred's biscuit back!


. . . Dee Strickland Johnson, © 2000

(1) Personal interview with Barbara Baker, June 2000.
(2) "Son-of-a-bitch stew" or simply "son~of~a~bitch"
(sometimes called"son-of-a-gun" in polite company).
It was made of sweet breads, marrow gut, and kidneys, which were added to the best of the calf meat.
(3) "Hmmm, hmmm in a sack": Bastard in a sack.
(4) Dornicks: (Gaelic) rocks, especially field stones turned up by a plow.
  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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