photo © Walter Workman, walterworkman.com; request permission for use.
IT’S 5 O’CLOCK SOMEWHERE
by Deanna Dickinson McCall
I hear them clatter off the hill
Hooves scattering rocks
Acting silly like horses will
Sliding down on hocks.
The day is over and they’ll arrive
Snorting and playing at the tank
Almost take a nose-dive
While acting mean and rank.
Like good Baptists or boozers
They gather at the water hole
There are no sinners or losers
From stud to mare to foal.
I see them splash and play
Fight for the best place
‘Fore settling down today
After the wild foot race.
Drawing long satisying pulls
With legs still spread and askew
Sucking a bloating bellyful
Like some folks I once knew.
I believe I saw the stud wink
At the pretty young mare
And I’m sure they do think
It is 5 o’clock somewhere.
© 2016, Deanna Dickinson McCall, used with permission
There are few better representatives of the people of today’s real working West than Deanna Dickinson McCall, a fifth-generation rancher, writer, and poet who currently ranches with her husband Dave McCall on their remote New Mexico ranch.
In recent years, Deanna Dickinson McCall’s artistic output has been a bountiful force of creativity. She has released recordings, books of stories and poems, and a book with artist JaNiel Anderson that pairs poems and paintings. She’s been recognized by organizations and her peers with awards,including the Georgie Sicking Award and the Will Rogers Medallion Award. Earlier this month, she was honored for her life and work with the Heritage Award from the Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering, where she is often a featured poet.
Her latest release is I’ll Ride Thru It, a CD with fourteen strong tracks of cattle, horses, humor, romance, history, and rough country. The poems are fresh, written and presented in in her unique style, authentic, and informed by a life rich with challenges and rewards.
The lead poem is “It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere,” which first appeared in Split Reins, with a painting by JaNeil Anderson. “Last Horse in Dad’s String” comes through with moving sentiment, strong and real. “Cake” starts with wild cattle and ends on a note of humor and good advice. “The Good Years,” which deals with drought, goes beyond nostalgia with a message of faith and gratitude, a way of thinking that has no doubt guided the writer through many hard times. A phrase from “His Queen,” a poem both gentle and powerful, says something about women like Deanna McCall and would delight the late female cowboy icon Georgie Sicking, “…always tender but tough when times are rough.” “I’ll Ride Thru It” is a proud philosophy of true grit:
When dust sticks to my sweat
Heat bouncing off the ground
Horse’s shoulders dripping wet
No breeze is to be found
I’ll ride thru it…
“True Stories” sparkles with humor, an affectionate view of cowboys and their tales. And there’s more.
The widely varied poems are presented with a steady continuity. The flow is further complemented by a particular bonus: the musical accompaniment throughout by Jim Jones and Randy Huston. It is an art to pair music with poetry, an art that is rarely accomplished well. But in this case, the bond among these three artists and friends comes through with a perfect harmony. Jones and Huston create a true soundtrack, filled with imaginative tunes and moods and creative riffs that enhance—but never distract from—the poetry.
I’ll Ride Thru It comes together with grace. At the heart of this CD is the story of survival: of the spirit, of people, of horses and cattle, and of a way of life. Deanna Dickinson McCall’s poetry shines in this satisfying and original project.
This fitting photograph is by respected photographer Walter Workman, taken at Arizona’s Babbitt Ranch. He shot some impressive photographs of Deanna and Dave McCall for a 2016 Western Horseman feature. Find more about Walter Workman on Facebook and at walterworkman.com, where there are not-to-be-missed photo galleries.