Remembering cowboy poet Clem Albertoni with his poem ‘A Dairyman’
Publisher’s note: Legendary cowboy poet Clem Albertoni died this month at 82. He left behind a treasure of poems, most in out-of-print books. With the help of Rich Casey of King City, we received a couple from Cathy Albertoni Venuti. Clem came from an immigrant Swiss-Italian family of dairyman in the Salinas Valley. I had the good fortune to meet Clem when I was publisher of the King City Rustler, so I hear his folksy voice when I read this fitting remembrance to him.
By Clem Albertoni
When a dairyman is born,
He is destined to rise early in the morn.
His parents are a tough and ambitious breed,
They came from across the ocean and made their mark indeed.
Dairying is in the blood,
Which may be thicker than cow mud.
A dairyman’s successful life,
Depends a lot on his understanding and patient wife.
There are times in a day he may laugh,
But not in the middle of the night, when he has to pull a calf.
A dairyman’s life is filled with ups and downs,
With many smiles and many frowns.
He tries to be a good husband to his wife,
And friendship he respects, like a sharp knife.
Of his children, he is proud,
Though he may never say it aloud.
There are meetings you must attend,
Which most of the time you ride with a friend.
Government regulations and quality control,
Makes it seem like sometimes you’re in a hole.
To dinner dances he would go.
And stay til the very end of the show.
Sit around and shoot the bull.
And get home in time to start in and pull.
There are cows to be fed and breeding to be done,
Haying and irrigating, all In the sun.
Corrals to clean, manure to haul,
Calves to be fed before they bawl.
Winters are tough and muddy,
You come from the barn tired and cruddy.
Between sick cattle and feed cost,
There are days when you seem lost.
Employees and farm bills,
Your hot temper turns to cold chills.
If there ever is a plan to unite us,
There may be a cure for mastitis.
With all that has been said, being ao blunt,
You wait for the time to fish and hunt.
There are times when you say “The hell with it”.
Then comes that spark of optimism, that stays lit.
And after each day has taken its toll,
There is no better life; for a man’s soul.
You see it’s not so bad being a dairyman,
In this world, filled with chaos and mayhem.
When the day comes, and they lay him to rest,
He hopes they will say ” He was one of the best”.