FRONTIER WOMAN

I ran away from home when I

was barely seventeen,

I itched to see the whole wide world,

But oh, my mind was green!

 

But I was chafed that only boys

could go and ride the range,

and for someone – just a girl –

to do it was thought strange.

 

And so I wore my brother’s jeans

and his worn-out flannel shirts,

And I changed my name from Bertha–

from now on, I’d be Bert,

 

I knew how to rope and ride

‘most good as any man,

So I headed west to work

on ranches cross the land,

 

Eventually, I bought a farm,

and homesteaded on my own,

My brothers came to help me out,

so I was never all alone,

 

And my sister, Carrie, came–

she liked to cook and sew,

She took on all the housework,

we got by and made things grow;

 

My sister Carrie cooked the meals,

and canned and dried the best

that all came from our own garden,

and we ate up all the rest;

 

In the wintertime, she sewed quilts

but through summer into fall,

she stocked the pantry and the cellar,

without help–she did it all;

 

but I never gave up wearing jeans

or took on sissy stuff,

and when I ever had a mind to,

I even pinched some snuff;

 

One by one our brothers met

and married girls from  town,

and then bought ranches of their own

and went to settle down

.

From then on, it was Carrie,

running all the things inside,

and I ran the farm itself,

we did it all with pride.

 

I thought someday she’d marry–

sometimes fellows came to see

if they could come courting her,

She’d say “Oh, no, not me!

 

And they’d hand her some fine line,

but she always told them she

was just not cut out  the marrying kind,

We grew old together, her and me ;

 

And it worked out, all around,

We’d sit out on the front porch

and watch the sun go down.

 

I thought my sister, Carrie, was

the strongest through and through,

She was a frontier woman,

and the finest one I knew.

 

Sandra Lee Smith

Originally composed June 16, 2010

Updated September 8, 2018

 

 

 

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