Christmas Memories Contest, third place: Two-Gun Sue, the Buckaroo: A Real, True, Genuine, Christmas Crime Story

posted Dec. 18, 2017 10:31 a.m. (CDT)
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by / James N. Zitzelsberger, Oshkosh (Winnebago County)

When my friend, Sandy, was about 4 years old, her big Christmas present was a double-holstered set of shiny six-guns just like the cowboys had in the movies — or a reasonable facsimile thereof. She was a cowgirl at heart, even at that young age, and those pistols and an accompanying tin star added immensely to her sense of justice in the Wild West. She tells this story on herself now because it has become funny after all these years even if it wasn’t quite so humorous back then.

As Sandy tells it, it was Christmas afternoon and she and her big brother, Lonnie, were playing hide and seek in the living room. Lonnie, she says, hid behind the sofa where he was crouched down on his hands and knees, out of sight and unaware of any impending danger. He was seven years older and probably being more of a good sport than really enjoying the game, but there he was, patiently hiding behind the couch while his little sister climbed up onto the top of the upholstered back above him with her six-shooters strapped tight.

Even at that tender age, she claims to have already seen enough western movies and TV shows to know that the way you tamed hombres out on the prairie or hiding in haciendas was with the business end of a peacemaker up against the head. Imitating function and form from her lofty perch above her unsuspecting brother below, she grasped the barrel of one of her side arms and brought it down swiftly and solidly upon the back of his skull!

A few minutes later, it was probably her giggling over how she thought Lonnie was playing along with the game that brought her mother from the kitchen to see what was going on. And just then, amid the giggles, she heard Lonnie let out a groan and quickly found him sprawled out on the floor, back of the couch, regaining consciousness with a goose egg growing on his noggin.

The story gets a little sketchy after that, but with some initial first aid and a quick call to the doctor, her parents took control of the situation and Lonnie escaped any further trauma. Sandy says she still has the holsters but the guns seem to have disappeared that very afternoon; and six decades later, they are still missing despite opportunities to clean and search every nook and cranny of that old farmhouse and adjoining buildings.

Perhaps, led by a little contrition and the loss of her firearms, Sandy turned her attention to the healing arts where she ultimately became an outstanding cardiac nurse in the intensive care unit at one of Wisconsin’s major hospitals. Nonetheless, she’s still a cowgirl and an accomplished horsewoman who raises Haflingers in her retirement. She also lives on the same small farm where she was born and keeps a sharp eye out for a couple of rusty old cap guns that should be around there somewhere.

That, then, is the tale behind “Two-Gun Sue, the Buckaroo — A Real, True, Genuine, Christmas Crime Story.” Like Dragnet, back in the day, her name was changed to protect the guilty, and, of course, lend itself to poetic licensure. The accompanying poem tells the story but I thought it was important for the reader to know where it came from. It is intended to be a celebration of a close-knit family and their gun-wielding desperado on a concussed Christmas afternoon.

Two-Gun Sue, the Buckaroo: A Real, True, Genuine, Christmas Crime Story

Two-gun Sue, the Buckaroo,

Was totin’ her Christmas six-shooters;

And being as quick on the draw, as ever you saw,

She never mollycoddled no looters!

In the heart of the West, pinned to her chest,

Was a tin star that made her the law;

And no ne’re-do-well, nor vermin, pray tell,

Ever got away with nothin’ at all.

‘Twas Christmas Day and atop the sofa she lay

Looking down on the valley behind

Where a villainous dude, evil and rude,

There crouched, while planning some crime.

But two-gun Sue, the Buckaroo,

Had watched a lot of wild-west shows

Where the butt of a gun is seldom undone

For taming rustlers and hustlers and bros!

In a flash, she cleared leather and put it together

Square on the back of his head;

And the scoundrel was laid, flat as a mackerel fileted,

“By the long arm of the law,” as it’s said.

Then down with a lurch, she dropped from her perch

When the Justice of the Peace walked in

Looking for her son, the son of a gun,

Who lay pistol whipped therein!

Oh, the scene was grievous, though mischievous,

Until the bandito slowly opened his eyes;

And there stood Sue, wearing her Clara Barton cap too,

Ready to nurse his goose egg on the rise.

Such is the story of our heroine in her glory,

And the Christmas six-guns she’s never seen since —

Permanently lost or spectacularly tossed

By her dad over the back-forty fence.

Yes, that was the day, the townsfolk all say,

When the Buckaroo turned over a new leaf

By abandoning the law for a medical call

Which brought the neighborhood a lot of relief.

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