Thank you to C. Tom Grusendorf, who passed along the poem below entitled “Xmas Eve 1934″, written by Mrs. Sanford, housekeeper and cook at the Monarch Ranch, situated 13 miles south of Buffalo, Alberta within the boundaries of the British Block.
Owned by the Horne family of Calgary wholesalers, Horne and Pitfield, the Monarch ranch was managed by Harold Moon, who also managed another ranch at Monarch, Alberta.
The poem makes reference to the diverse cast of characters gathered at the ranch on Christmas Eve, 1934; including J. Les Grusendorf (1913-2004), referred to in the poem as “Leslie”.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all Forgotten Alberta readers!
Xmas Eve, 1934
‘Twas Christmas Eve, the snow lay thick,
The air was clear and still.
And Winter spread his icy touch
O’er coulee and o’re hill.
The hoar frost on the fences,
Like strings of diamonds hang.
And all was Peace, Goodwill to men,
Just as the Angels sang.
And it was fit it should be so,
For tomorrow’s Christmas Day.
And so with mirth and all good cheer,
We’ll sing our Christmas lay.
The Monarch Ranch lay gleaming white,
The sheep all in the fold,
Safe from the prowling coyotes,
And sheltered from the cold.
Just lying peacefully at rest,
Their cuds all quietly chewing,
Till sleep fell on them one by one,
Their spirits quietly wooing.
No “Shepherds watch our flocks by night” –
All seated on the ground.
“Nor Angel of the Lord comes down”
To glory shed around.
We have instead a brilliant moon
Which sheds a minor glory.
Making a perfect setting,
For this lovely Christmas story.
And if you would enact the scene
The Wise men saw that night
Just walk around out crowded corral
You’ll get this vision right.