December 23, 2020 • Winter Update III
Something for you and something for me, reader

Thank you one and all for continuing to support Shadow & Light Magazine. Your purchases and subscriptions enable it to continue in publication for almost 8 years! I (and the wonderful staff) am looking forward to a much better 2021 in so many ways. So, grab the saddle, buckle up and let's go! It's going to be an incredible ride.

As we get closer to tossing out this year (can I hear an Amen!), I would like to remind you that I will part of a three-person closing show. If you couldn't make it when it opened, now is your chance.

Featuring Laura Balombini, Aaron Richardson, and myself (Tim Anderson), the show will be this Monday, December 28, 3-8pm. I know, these shows usually start around 5pm, but I will be here and why not open the doors wide for the last show of the year!

As a special incentive to get your wallet out, Laura and I will be presenting great sale prices on almost all the works that will be in the show. If you are in the Albuquerque area, stop by and see how much you can take home and how much you can save. If you have any questions at all, contact me (below).
Don't forget that Color It Red 2021 is open and ready to receive your entries. You can follow in Fran Forman's footsteps and an image of yours could grace the cover of the March/April 2021 issue of Shadow & Light Magazine. Entry is just $20 for up to 10 images. It's quick. It's easy. Click here and you will be good to go.

Covid precautions will be in place for the show...

Many years back I wrote a poem that came in second at a local (Washing State) cowboy poetry contest. I offer it now as some solace to the turbulent year it has been and the hope that a bright light shines, just around the bend. Enjoy.
Christmas on the Line
I was ridin' the line and mendin' some fences
with just ten miles to go before my hitch ended.
The snow began as winter started to settle in
and Dancer my horse was left as my only friend.

More than three months had lonesomely passed
since I had seen my wonderful family... last.
The old line shack had since become my one-room home
tho' two other hands had gone and now I was alone.

Thanksgiving had crept by while Christmas was coming fast
and I didn't want to miss it like I had in the past.
So, as the dawn brought the first light of another chilly day
I knew it would be a long time before I could again play.

As I saddled ol' Dancer at the sun's first light
a little voice told me that this would be a very long ride.
The sun was at last rising behind the pines to the east
and I had little on to keep out the wind and the freeze.

Well, I mended some fence and herded some scattered cattle
as I had done many times from Cheyenne to Laredo.
By the time I had returned and the shack came into view
I was frozen to the tiniest bone—twas nothing new.

A single can of beans and some coffee for my grub
there wasn’t much else but moonlight and a half-empty jug.
I threw out my roll and started to count some sheep
because I knew I needed my rest for tomorrow was Christmas Eve.

My dreams were interrupted by a fearful loud bang
as the cabin’s door had been torn from where it had hanged.
In the time it had taken for sleep to numb my pains
moonlight and stars had turned into winds and clouds and rain.

I had one day to go before Christmas and home
with limited daylight and several miles yet to roam.
The storm had strengthened and reared its ugly face
it seemed as if there would be no saving grace.

I knew the missus was decorating the house to a tee
and everyone would be there ‘cept little ol’ me.
Presents would be wrapped with gentle and loving care
while I had none to share or give to my faithful mare.

Daylight was blocked by a mixture of sleet and snow
no matter how hard I worked the going was surely slow.
Barbed wire was broken in too many places to mention
while gates were hangin’ by little more than friction.

The clouds never parted and the storm never ceased
it was hard to tell if it came from the west or the east.
Well, the day dragged on as section after section was mended
and I knew that Christmas would pass before my work ended.

On the way back to the shack after a day sad and grey
somehow it seemed longer without the sun to light my way.
My bunk would be cold and the evening more than glum
for I would be alone without the company of anyone.

As me and Dancer plodded the way to our abode
by the tracks in the mud I knew others had rode.
Down the trail only she and I had ridden for these many months
there had been not a soul to visit—not even once.

The closer to the shack we got the more the rain stopped
there were new ruts and hooves in the trail to think about.
My eyes became wet when we started over the final ridge
for the sight I saw made my saddened heart cringe.

Red lights and green lights were lighting up the place well
there were buggies and horses and it looked like a hotel.
The air was thick with the smell of hickory and food
clear skies replaced the storm and merry became my mood.

A smile crossed my face as I rode the last mile
I saw my beautiful wife and kids then I started to smile.
We hugged and kissed after I made my dismount
everyone was there with happy faces all around.

The missus said that she was tired of making excuses
and that to expect me home would be totally fruitless.
So, she rounded up family and gathered some friends
and said if they didn’t come—they would never hear the end.

While the eve of Christmas wore on into night
with those I loved singing and laughing—it was quite a sight.
A holiday of love and kindness… it was definitely about time
it was our first one together since I started working the line.
Many thanks for your support, and I sincerely hope each of you has a good Holiday
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