Saddle Up Saloon; All Good

Written by D. Avery @shiftnshake

       Read my writing and see my books at

March 30, 2020

“Well, howdy, m’am. Welcome ta the Saddle Up Saloon. I’m Ernie. Kin I git ya sumthin’ ta drink?”

“Hm. I’ll have a cream soda, please.”

“We got strong drink, if ya know what I mean.”

“Thanks, but I don’t drink. I’m LDS -a Mormon.”

“Yes, g’mornin’ to ya.”


“More men. Hmmf. Thet’s whut Wanda said, jist afore she left me. Here’s yer cream soda. ‘Fraid I’m the only man in here jist now. Thet there at the end a the bar’s Frankie, our female mail carrier.”

“Females often carry the male, Except with that wife carrying gig they had at Carrot Ranch.”

“Oh, yer familiar with the Ranch then?”

“Yes. I’m Utah Chelsea.”


“Um, sure… Is that an olive in that woman’s drink?”

“Naw, Frankie’s jist in here keepin’ her glass eye antisepticated.”

“I think she might be sweet on you, Ernie. Or is that just a far away look in her eye?”

“Ya think mebbe she has her eye on me? Be my wingman, U.C. Hey Frankie, slide on down an’ meet U.C. She’s here for more men. And soda pop.”

“I cain’t see so good right now, Ernie, cain’t you see? She better not be eyein’ the barman.”

“More men? Mormon. I’m a Mormon and a mom, but ‘round these parts I’m a writer.”

“Oh, my thet’s awful hard work.”

“Writing? Yeah, but—”

“No I meant mommin’. Reckon it’s tough keeping’ up with ever’thin’.”

“Well… a few years ago, I came up with an analogy: Momming’s like a pot full of water on the stove. My job is to keep the water in the pot between a simmer and a boil, all day. If it goes one way or the other, I end up also washing the entire kitchen. As to the writing part of it, I suppose I try to throw some fancy noodles into the water now and then.”

“Thet’s a real fine analogy, an’ so you know, ya serve up some right fine noodle dishes.”

“Um, thanks, but really, Ernie, I’m looking for Kid.”

“Kid? Yep, jist showed up with a cart a manure from Shorty’s barn. Look out back.”




“Oh, my, is that the Poet Tree?”

“It’s an off shoot. Way yer laughin’ at it, makes me think that you think it’s a bad poet tree. An’ them’s fightin’ words.”

“Shouldn’t fight at Carrot Ranch, Kid.”

“Well you done crossed a line. What d’ya know ‘bout bad poet tree anyways?”

“I know plenty about bad poetry.”

“Bring it.”

There once was a poet named Kid

Who thought really highly of everything he did

He joked and he teased

His ‘strong drink’ had fleas

But this is the worst limerick ever.

I actually host a bad poetry contest over at my place once a week. It’s partly to poke fun at all the bad poetry I read that’s intended to be serious, but mostly to give serious writers a little fun.”

“Dang! Hat’s off ta ya. What’d ya say yer name was?”

“I didn’t say, but please, just Chelsea. I run a blog that’s a little like your saloon— a little of everything. My blog is a hodgepodge of creation, formed from whatever pops into my head. I write not-bad poetry (I hope), short stories, serial stories, imitations of friends’ styles, quotes I like, and weekly thoughts about real life. Besides the main blog, I keep a strictly motherhood blog on the side, like a gangrene mole that ought to get more attention than it does. And the occasional contribution to a friend’s mental health site.”

“That’s a lotta hats, an’ here mine’s already off ta ya. Reckon ya been writin’ an’ blogging a long time then?”

“Unlike other noble writers, I have not always been a writer. I would say I’ve always been a reader and an imaginer. I have always been creative: my mother says I tore my diaper off and painted the walls with its contents. If that’s not expressionist art, I don’t know what is. I took up writing more seriously shortly before officially starting my blog. My motivation was the desire to write about motherhood, and to discover why I hated home life so much. I suspect other mothers feel the same, since we tend to not hear from them in snippets longer than a snarky tweet asking if Happy Hour can occur before noon.”

“Reckon they could use a 24/7 saloon like this here. But somehow you steal time ta write an’ ta be a presence in the blogosphere. What keeps ya goin’?”

“Well, with the children and home life, I do not have a perfect, mantra-like balance of creative me-time and …all the other stuff. But writing is a fantastic craft. I scoop at the vowels or vegetables bits that float to the surface, hoping for some of the deeper meaning in the shadowy depths of meat and potatoes. Best of all, I’ve been able to share whatever soup I can scavenge with many others. The people I’ve met through blogging have changed my life. I love them.”

“I’m thinkin’ ya get what ya give, Chelsea. Betcha they’s a lotta folks lovin’ ya back. Betcha had some moments ‘roun’ the blogosphere, if ya know what I mean.”

“Every time I touch another person, it is my best moment. I once wrote a semi-non-fictional piece about my toes -really, I was attempting to write about mental illness in the guise of writing about my odd feet- and another blogger I’d never met commented about how I’d changed her whole outlook. She’d been teased by other children for her pigeon-toed gait (as I had), and felt happy to learn of others. She also learned that they’d used the wrong term for her in-pointed feet, calling her duck-footed. Really, that just proves that bullies know far too little about birds.”

“Well, they’re known ta be bird-brained, but sure seems ta me yer steppin’ in the right direction. But one thing I jist cain’t wrap my head aroun’ is this bad poetry contest you run. Why, Chelsea, why?”

“Well, like I said, it’s mostly to give serious writers a little fun.”

“Well, if it’s all in fun, it’s all good. Reckon, dependin’ on who ya ask, any poetry is good, bad, or ugly.”

“Poetry is like other art, so it can be good, bad, or ugly. If an artist insists on spending a few minutes with children’s chalk, he’s not going to get as good a result as one spending days on an oil painting. Likewise, a novice poet can free-verse about his angst and get the sympathy of the other bar patrons, or he can spend days reworking a piece and gain the adulation of the world.”

“Think we could git the folks at the saloon ta try their hand at poetry? Good, bad, and ugly even? Jist fer fun?”

“Let’s do that Kid. Just leave your poems in the comments. We won’t judge, and Ernie probably won’t even remember.”

“Thank ya fer comin’ by Chelsea. I think ya done inspired this little sprout of a poet tree ta take off and do good. So, folks, the prompt fer yer poetical endeavers is “off shoot”, or anything else from what’s transpired here. Be sure ta say hey ta Chelsea Owens at Now, Chelsea, let’s git back in there ta the bar. Ernie? Frankie? Hello? Ah, shift.”


Pal & Kid are free ranging characters who live and work at Carrot Ranch. They never tuck tail, but their tales are corralled as Ranch Yarns at ShiftnShake. If asked, they will deny that they spill from the pen of D. Avery. Please let these yahoos know what you think, and stop in at the Saddle Up anytime for a virtual good time.

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  1. robertawrites235681907

    A very entertaining piece. Nice to see Chelsea featured here with her terrible poetry challenge. I didn’t know about her other blog.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Howdy! So glad to entertain and inform you this morning!

      • Chelsea Owens

        Having more than one blog is all the rage, Robbie! 😉

  2. Charli Mills

    Good to see Chelsea at the Saloon! Great description of writing: ‘I scoop at the vowels or vegetables bits that float to the surface, hoping for some of the deeper meaning in the shadowy depths of meat and potatoes.”

    Ah, Frankie is keepin’ and eye on sanitation, I see. Just wash your hands (everyone).

    I’m not a poet but I assemble one for ya:

    Off shoot
    Off the cuff
    Shootin’ from the hip
    Words aimed like first buds
    Reaching for the sun
    Off the beaten path
    Spring comes

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      “Words aimed like first buds”… yer firing in the right direction, Boss, even though we’re all off the beaten path these days. We’ll get there, like spring.

      (Now a pull aside, that private moment a teacher might have with a student; I must correct you in saying “I’m not a poet”; that is an I can’t statement and I would like you to reframe it, for you are a poet though you might not know it, for look at what you done just did; you’re a tough buckaroo who anything can do, just ask Chelsea or Kid.)

      • Charli Mills

        Ah, I’ll strike that I-can’t statement and say I can. I can always aim better. 😉

      • Chelsea Owens

        Agreed. I think the need for expression lends most poetry credit as poetic.

  3. H.R.R. Gorman

    Yay! Chelsea is great. Loved the cream soda bit in the intro.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Chelsea is great, so glad she saddled up and came through our swinging doors. We will be stocking cream soda here on out, that is if Ernie shows up. Any special requests for you?

      • H.R.R. Gorman

        Haha, I’m also a non-drinker, but I am partial to strawberry or raspberry lemonades.

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        It doesn’t matter here
        what goes in your glass
        as long as you’re a thinker
        and don’t act like an donkey

    • Chelsea Owens

      Thanks! I didn’t know lemonade was an option!

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        Sorry, didn’t mean ta saddle ya with cream soda. Still figuring things out, having some troubles, obviously, with the bartender.
        Thinking lemonade could be a signature drink, great think when life gives ya lemons.

      • Chelsea Owens

        Sounds perfect to me! I’ve had fancy drinks before, too, like a virgin daiquiri. ????

  4. TanGental

    Good to see the slightly dotty Ms Owens has hitchhiked to the Ranch. She writes pretty decent verse when she shares it too and is a perfectly fair and effective critic of others poems as i know. I’m still trying to win the accolade of terrible poet but she keeps me waiting. Probably being kind but i will plumb those depths..

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      I’m still wondering about accolades for terrible poetry and how that is good. But as Ernie says,
      If you can meter a penned line
      string pretty words and have some rum.

      • TanGental

        I’d say Ernie is well on course…

    • Chelsea Owens

      Dotty, indeed! I’m glad you find me fair; I thought I’d chased you off!

      • TanGental

        Me? You’ll have to work harder… and isn’t it cheesed me off? Or is that the Utahrian version?

      • Chelsea Owens

        😀 We don’t use cheese to be rid of someone around here. Maybe the French are to blame for your phrase’s etymology?

      • TanGental

        those cheese eaters! I say Pah! to their Camembert and Ppfft! to their brie!!

      • Chelsea Owens

        Really? And what of the Roquefort?

      • TanGental

        What indeed? What is roque for? To make the dancers shed their clothes and camembert I suppose… sorry I’ll stop while I’m behind…

  5. Anne Goodwin (Annecdotist)

    Great start to the series, folks.

    Chelsea, I wonder if you’ve read A Song for Issy Bradley by Carys Bray who grew up in a Mormon community in NW England? I’d strongly recommend it if not, although I’m sure you’d read it differently as a Mormon yourself.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Doc Ranger showed up ta have a look
      having traversed from moor ta ranch
      put folks on trail for another good book
      for Ranger reading’s never left up to chance

    • Chelsea Owens

      I have not even heard of that! I read The Book of Mormon Girl, Love Times Three, and A Study in Scarlet -do those count? 😉

    • Chelsea Owens

      Looked up reviews and it looks really good!

  6. Norah

    What a brilliant introduction to the series with Chelsea. I do enjoy reading Chelsea’s blog and this interview was delightful – I’m undecided whether the bulk was humour or wisdom. I think it was a good balance – a bit like that mothering pot of water hovering between a simmer and a boil. Entertaining work both of you. Thanks.
    the off shoot
    out shot
    the out post
    with a riposte
    at the poets’ tree.
    That’s all from me.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      That’s all? That’s lots, you’ve got a poet’s touch
      your astute kind comments always mean so much
      glad you shot out to this outpost, with reposte for this repast
      for as our dear Chelsea said, in blogs we make friends that last

      • Norah

        We do. So drink up and enjoy at the only saloon that’s open in town – or anywhere for that matter.

    • Chelsea Owens

      Ooh, a riposte! Nice!

      • Norah


  7. Jules

    Gotta jog in this warm mornin’ fog
    Might see a hoppy spring frog
    Round the base of the offshoot of the Poet tree.
    In Japanese frog’s called kaeru.
    Them critters are also lucky, ducky
    ‘cas they also mean returning home…
    so’s no matter how far we all roam
    we’ll return here to gather
    at the Saddle Up Saloon

    Regards to all from the Poet Lariat of Carrot Ranch

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Jules, I love that frog! Thank you!

      Ranch watering hole
      frog sheltering, finding home
      Safe place to be green

      • Jules

        Thanks for the Saloon’ku!

    • Chelsea Owens

      Poet Lariat! 😀

      • Jules

        I dun fergit when that honor was bestowed. A few years back when I put in a few 99 word poems for prompts 😀

      • Chelsea Owens

        Nice! I’ve only done that a few times.

  8. susansleggs

    The Saloon’s OPEN, yippeee

    So I’m in the church where I like to be
    And I hear mouth’s shootin’ off bout a poet tree
    So I shoot over to the saloon for a look see
    And it’s empty as can be
    I like a cold beer and today it seems to be free
    So I’ll leave coin in case
    And wipe down the whole place
    afor I shoot on back out the door
    And maybe that Chelsea’ll stop by and see me.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      the saloon is always open, though I’m not sure where Ernie and Frankie went, nor why
      don’t let their absence stop you, nobody round here goes dry
      Chelsea was out back talking poetry and poet trees with Kid
      she with so many kids herself, she might have gone off and hid
      I expect she’ll steal a moment and show up to see us soon
      I expect she’ll saddle up and ride back to the Saddle Up Saloon

    • Chelsea Owens

      When I may
      I head Susan’s way
      When I mayn’t
      I head there eventually. 😉

      • susansleggs

        Thanks for stopping by Chelsea.

      • Chelsea Owens

        🙂 You’re on my list. I just get behind!

  9. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    “Kid! Whut’s goin on?! Why ain’t Ernie behin the bar servin folks like he’s a’posed ta be?”
    “Don’t know, Pal, mebbe he’s up on the roof like some mad Rabbit
    but the bigger issue is this speakin in rhyme, an unbreakable bad habit.”
    “Hmmff! You been talkin with thet terrible poetry monger, Chelsea, ain’tcha? Kid, git cleanin up this place. Really? Frankie’s eye settin in a glass? An a frog! Why’s there a frog hoppin on the bar?”
    “Hard ta s’plain, might jist read all a way through;
    the frog’s come home an’ terrible poetry’s a fun thing ta do.”

    • Charli Mills

      Forgot my frog!

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        Jules brought it. I think a frog now resides permanently at the saloon. (this is a strange place, Boss, but I like it here)

      • Charli Mills

        I’m glad this is a frog-friendly place. Truly, no one owns a frog.

  10. eLPy

    Great way to meet Chelsea and fun concept! Now I’m nervous about not knowing if what I write is good bad or ugly! Lol, I’ll just write something and not say what I think it is. 😉

    To Day, how might you be today?
    Can’t say I know just who you are.
    I’m a bit lost getting to know
    how these new days supposed to go.
    Oh well, I’m living and letting
    my mind go with the flow today.
    What about you Day, where are you?

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      As stated, we won’t judge, not here, not today. What is good about this poem is that it gets at what many are feeling about the days these days; hard to keep track of, filled differently, finding the flow for all that. I like how you addressed the day. All good. Ok, margarita, (see, I remember) but salt or no salt, that is the question.

      • Chelsea Owens

        Mind-flows know best,
        The current
        The day.
        Mind doubt knows least –

      • eLPy

        Thank you. 🙂 SALT! I’m a salty always but not always salty. 😉

      • eLPy

        Please and thank you.

    • Chelsea Owens

      I meant to respond to your comment. See the response to D. for my answer to your poem. 🙂

  11. Marje @ Kyrosmagica

    Thanks for the Saddle Up Saloon plus Chelsea’s terrible poetry. What an interesting mixture! A novel way to introduce other writers in the literary community. A lovely idea. 🙂

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Welcome, pull a stool ta the bar
      set awhile, drink from a jar
      ya don’t have ta leave good or bad rhyme
      just know we are glad if you have a good time.

      • Marje @ Kyrosmagica

        Awesome me dear,
        Glad to be here,
        I’ll have a gin with a grin
        And add a splash of me tonic !

    • Chelsea Owens

      D. is a lovely person; the terribly poetry, not always. 😉


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