12 Days of Cowboy Christmas
By Rhoda Sivell
The bells in town are ringing,
’Tis Christmas time, we know;
But not a sound of the bells we hear
Out across the shifting snow.
Across the wind-swept prairie,
Where the wild chinook winds blow.
’Tis Christmas night, and we’re far away
From all we love and know,
But faces are bright, and hearts are light;
Outside is the drifting snow.
And we talk, and laugh, and sing with joy,
Out where the chinooks blow.
It’s Christmas night, and they drink a toast
To the loved one, far away;
One to the boys from the sunny South,
And one for the old range ways;
But the one we all love best of all
When they call out “Happy Days.”
’Tis Christmas night on the old wild range,
And the Northern Lights aglow,
Dance o’er the grim grey cut-banks,
And down on the drifting snow.
And the coyote sneaks by the frozen creeks,
And the wolf calls long and low,
But the toast on the range is “Happy Days,”
Far out where the riders go.
Happy Days by Rhoda Sivell (1874-1962) is excerpted from Voices from the Range, published in 1912.
Born in Ireland, Rhoda immigrated to Canada in 1893. She married Charles Sivell and, in 1899, they moved to the Medicine Hat area and began ranching. In 1911, she published a collection of poems, Voices from the Range.
The Esplanade Archives in Medicine Hat, Alta, has digitized a recording of Rhoda Sivell telling about her life on the open range. Visit www.esplanade.ca and navigate to their audiovisual collection in the Archives to hear the recording.