ADVICE, by Deanna Dickinson McCall

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ADVICE
by Deanna Dickinson McCall

The corrals were full enough to bust,
And we’d all had our share of dust.
But, we’d got all the pairs in
And the separating was about to begin.

Our new son-in-law was working the gate
Trying hard to discriminate
When an angry mama came charging up
Mad over the hold up.

Hearing the commotion I rode through the dust
And shared some advice he could trust,
“Son, don’t crowd her, whatever you do,
When her head is held high she’ll take the fence or you.”

Better off to just let stand, cool down a bit
She’s not afraid of horse or man, let her have her fit.
It’s Nature’s way to attack or run, fear and anger is part of life.
I know it’s not exactly fun, but, remember she is your wife.”

© Deanna Dickinson McCall, used with permission.
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission

Fifth-generation rancher and writer Deanna Dickinson McCall never lacks for inspiration for her poetry and writing; her family is a great source. She and husband Dave, who just celebrated 43 years of marriage, have given the West new generations of ranchers and of cowboy poets and reciters, as well.

See Deanna Dickinson McCall at the 30th annual National Cowboy Symposium & Celebration, September 7-9, 2018, in Lubbock, Texas.

The full list of entertainment includes Gerry Allen, Rusty Battenfield, Robert Beene, Jack Blease, Dr. Heidi Brady, Broken Chair Band, Norman Brown, Jimmy Burson, Bob Campbell, Michael Carlton, Craig Carter & Zack Casey, Billy Cate, Jim Cathey, Allan Chapman & Rodeo Kate, Fort Concho, Henry Crawford, Nathan Dahlstrom, Janice Deardorff, Mike Dunn, John Erickson, Doug Figgs, Karen Casey Fitzjerrell, Pip Gillette, Carol Glover, David Hansford, Sid Hausman, Prairie Heirs, Chris Isaacs, Washtub Jerry, Jim Jones, Leroy Jones, Legends of Texas, Stan Mahler, Kenny Maines, Deanna Dickinson McCall, “Straw” Berry, Pat Meade, Bob Miller, Mike Moutoux, Glenn Moreland, Joel Nelson, Ballet Folklorico Nuestra Henricia, Bill O’Neal (Texas State Historian), Quanah Parker Society, Mike Querner, Stan Paregien, Jane Pattie, Gary “JC” Penney, Donnie Poindexter, Jeff Posey, Prairie Moon, Wayne Thompson, David Waddle, Dr. Scott White, Jim Wilson, Bob Wyre and The Fence Post.

Her recent CD release is I’ll Ride Thru It.” See a track list and review here at CowboyPoetry.com. She has two recent collections of stories, Rough Patches and Rough Patches II, and a book of poems accompanied by JaNeil Anderson’s paintings, Split Range.

Deanna also has a highly praised book of stories and poems, Mustang Spring, and an another award-winning CD of her poetry, Riding. Her work appears in many anthologies and magazines and she’s a popular performer at gatherings, often appearing at the Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering, where she appeared earlier this month; and the Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering and the Western Folklife Center’s National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, where she is featured at both in 2019; and other events.

Find more about Deanna Dickinson McCall at CowboyPoetry.com and at her web site, deannadickinsonmccall.com.

This 2017 photo of the McCalls branding in a trap is courtesy of Deanna Dickinson McCall.

(Please respect copyright. You can share this poem and photo with this post, but for other uses, request permission.)

THE COWS CAME FIRST by Jane Morton

 

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photo courtesy of David and Deanna Dickinson McCall

THE COWS CAME FIRST
by Jane Morton

My mother said she realized
with my Dad the cows came first.
If cows and she both needed drinks,
she knew who’d die of thirst.

In any contest with the cows,
Mom came out second-best.
She never gave up trying, though,
To that I can attest.

If Mom had planned a dinner,
or if they’d been invited out,
Dad promised he’d be on time,
but she had cause to doubt.

So many different happenings
had spoiled what she had planned,
She came to think that fate itself
might well have played a hand.

It wasn’t fate, it was my Dad.
He’d start a task too late.
And thinking he had time enough,
he didn’t want to wait.

He’d run into some problem there
he hadn’t counted on,
And sure enough, before he knew,
the daylight would be gone.

By time he got back to the house,
my mom would be irate.
She knew not which excuse he’d use,
but could anticipate—

“I drove out to the pasture where
my Chevy truck broke down.
Before a neighbor came along,
I’d walked halfway to town.

“That ornery Angus bull I bought
went through the fence today.
Of course I had to get him home.
He fought me all the way.

“I stopped to check a windmill,
and I found a stock tank dry.
The cattle have to drink you know.”
I’d hear my mother sigh.

“A calving heifer needed help,
so sure, I had to stay.
I promised I’d be home, I know,
but couldn’t get away.”

He had to pull a windmill
or he had to pull a calf
Mom heard it all so many times
she almost had to laugh.

Dad said he thought that Mom had ought
to take things in her stride.
That proved impossible for her,
no matter how she tried.

And when the two got on in years,
Mom was the first to go.
She’d asked for flowers on her stone,
but did she get them? No!

Dad bought one stone for both of them,
and he had it engraved.
A cow and the windmill took the place
of flowers she had craved.

When Mother said the cows came first;
she knew my dad too well.
Above her final resting place,
that cow will always dwell.

© 2003, Jane Morton, used with permission.

Colorado poet and writer Jane Morton often writes about her family’s ranch history, which began with her great great grandfather, Joshua Eaton Ambrose, a circuit-riding Baptist minister who left Illinois and headed to Colorado in 1872. She wrote this poem about her father, William Ernest Ambrose (1904-1994). She has commented that she really began to “know” her father when she stared writing about him.

She writes, “He loved his land, and he loved his work. His satisfaction with his life was reflected in his face. Perhaps that was why, when many his age had retired to rocking chairs, he was still going strong. Occasionally someone suggested that he retire and take it easy. Usually, he didn’t bother to reply. He’d said it once, and once was enough. ‘Someday,’ he said, ‘they’ll probably find me wrapped around one of these fence posts, but I’ll never quit.'”

Find more about William Ernest Ambrose in a feature at CowboyPoetry.com.  This poem is included in a feature about Jane Morton’s mother, Eva Lena Wolowsky Ambrose (1904-1988). Find more about Jane Morton at CowboyPoetry.com.

This photo by New Mexico rancher David McCall was taken last week at their Timberon-area ranch, an area experiencing a serious drought. Poet, writer and the other half of the McCall operation, Deanna Dickinson McCall, a couple of generations ahead of the Ambroses and a woman who has always worked her ranch alongside her husband, commented on the photo, “Waiting for rain, praying it comes soon! David McCall and the boys. I learned at an early age you can’t starve a profit into a cow.” What hasn’t changed: the cows come first. She told us, “We are just hoping the monsoons will arrive on time, or early. The spring that feeds the pipeline is almost dry, too low to feed the line, so we will begin hauling water. This has been the driest, windiest spring/summer we have seen, and the fire threat is so frightening.”

The McCalls have many generations of ranchers before them and generations of cowboy poets and reciters in front of them, in their children, including the late Rusty McCall, Katie McCall Owen, and Terri Anne Knight and grandchildren. Find more about the family and more about Deanna Dickinson McCall and her poems and stories at  deannadickinsonmccall.com.

(Please respect copyright. You can share this poem and photo with this post, but please request permission for any other uses.)

IT’S 5 O’CLOCK SOMEWHERE by Deanna Dickinson McCall

ww111916photo © 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.

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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.

Find the CD and more about Deanna McCall at deannadickinsonmccall.com and on Facebook  and at CowboyPoetry.com.  See the track list with our review here.

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.

 

I’LL RIDE THRU IT CD by Deanna Dickinson McCALL

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includes:

5 O’Clock Somewhere
America’s Stockman
Cake
Cowgirl’s Pride
He and I
His Queen
I Twisted the Wire
I’ll Ride Thru It
Last Horse in Dad’s String
McGregor
Mrs. Thomas
Rough Country
The Good Years
True Stories

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 JaNeil 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.

Find the CD and more about Deanna McCall at deannadickinsonmccall.com and on Facebook and at CowboyPoetry.com.

 

ADVICE by Deanna Dickinson McCall

Beauty-and-Strength

© 2017, JaNeil Anderson, “Beauty and Strength”

ADVICE
by Deanna Dickinson McCall

The corrals were full enough to bust,
And we’d all had our share of dust.
But, we’d got all the pairs in
And the separating was about to begin.

Our new son-in-law was working the gate
Trying hard to discriminate
When an angry mama came charging up
Mad over the hold up.

Hearing the commotion I rode through the dust
And shared some advice he could trust,
“Son, don’t crowd her, whatever you do,
When her head is held high she’ll take the fence or you.”

Better off to just let stand, cool down a bit
She’s not afraid of horse or man, let her have her fit.
It’s Nature’s way to attack or run, fear and anger is part of life.
I know it’s not exactly fun, but, remember she is your wife.”

© Deanna Dickinson McCall
This poem should not be reprinted or reposted without the author’s permission.

Fifth-generation rancher and writer Deanna Dickinson McCall never lacks for inspiration for her poetry and writing; her family is a great source. She and husband Dave have given the West new generations of ranchers and cowboy poets and reciters, as well.

Her just-released collection of stories, Rough Patches II, follows the first award-winning volume of Rough Patches. Red Steagall comments on the new release, “…This collection is brilliant.” Western writer Johnny Boggs declares, “Deanna McCall writes without frills or foofaraw–just hard, believable stories of tough, flawed people and strong women in the modern West.” In his foreword, poet and writer Rod Miller writes, “When it comes to women writing about the West, you would be hard-pressed to find one more authentic than Deanna Dickinson McCall.” Find order information here.

Deanna also has a highly praised book of stories and poems, Mustang Spring, and an award-winning CD of her poetry, Riding. Her work appears in many anthologies and magazines and she’s a popular performer at gatherings, often appearing at the Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering, the Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering, the Western Folklife Center’s National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, and other events.

Find more about Deanna Dickinson McCall at CowboyPoetry.com; at her web site, deannadickinsonmccall.com; and on Facebook.

roughpatches2

New Mexico artist and rancher JaNeil Anderson’s painting, “Beauty and Strength,” graces the cover of Rough Patches II. She and Deanna have collaborated previously, pairing poems and paintings in Split Reins, an impressive book that received the Will Rogers Medallion Award.

JaNeil Anderson studied under Cowboy Artists of America painters James Reynolds and R.S. Riddick. She and her husband live on their family’s third-generation ranch along the banks of the Gila River in southwest New Mexico. She is represented by Thunder Horse Gallery in Ruidoso.

Find more about JaNeil Anderson at janeilanderson.com and on Facebook.

THE GOOD YEARS by Deanna Dickinson McCall

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THE GOOD YEARS
by Deanna Dickinson McCall

The soft sound of hooves on leaves
Shuffling over rock on the slope,
The gentle pull uphill as you look
Praying for grass, praying for hope.

It’s autumn and no rain has fallen
No summer monsoons ever came.
Last year’s grass is gone to dust
Too many years of the same.

You recall waving gramma grass
Cured brown with seed on the stem
It would put a cow through winter
Up here on the ridge and rim.

But, it rained at least some,
Even those marginal years had grass
The springs and creeks flowed
Laden clouds didn’t blow past.

You re-live the really good years
The land was unbelievably green
You rode in mud fixing water gaps
Tanks blown, canyons scoured clean.

Grass and wildflowers was stuff of fairies
Seeds and blooms nodding to dancing dew
Cows and horses sleek and shiny fat
Lord, it was like the land was new.

Those memories keep you hanging on,
Heaven sent rains would finally come.
You have been in tight spots before
Tough old times, you’ve seen some.

Drier than the dirty thirties
Record dry they say.
God will open the heavens
Wash this drought clean away.

‘Til then, you pull your hat down
Squint through the dust some more
Summon faith back in your heart
That God will heal this land’s sore.

Close your tired eyes against the dust
See the fat cattle and green grass
Feel the moisture on the soft wind
Dream of the good years of the past.

© 2013, Deanna Dickinson McCall
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission.

Fifth-generation rancher, writer, and poet Deanna Dickinson McCall wrote about the drought in an eloquent piece in the Ranch and Reata magazine in 2015, The article, “The Gift,” begins, “The leaves crumble beneath my horse’s hooves, scattering into flakes onto the gray rock as we climb the trail. We’ve labored upward, hoof striking rock to dust repeatedly, through oak brush that never turned green, algarita too dry to produce the berries I cherish for jelly, and rust-colored cedar and piñion stands. The stunted grass is buried in dust.”

Deanna appears with Randy Huston and Jim Wilson in a July 22, 2017 show for the National Day of the Cowboy in Timberon, New Mexico. Then she heads for two other good events next month:

The Real Cowboy Music and Poetry Show Benefit for Ranching Truth takes place August 5, 2017, 7 PM, in Ruidoso, New Mexico. In addition to Deanna Dickinson McCall, the show features Gary Prescott, Jean Prescott, and Randy Huston. Find more at the Ranching Truth site.

Deanna is also included in the lineup at the Fourth Annual Cimarron Cowboy Music & Poetry Gathering, August 25-27, 2017 at New Mexico’s Philmont Scout Ranch, just south of Cimarron. Other performers include Floyd Beard, Valerie Beard, Broken Chair Band, @Dale Burson, Janice Deardorff, Doug Figgs, Purly Gates, Danner Hampton, Randy Huston, Washtub Jerry, Jill Jones, Jim Jones, Peggy Malone, Terry Nash, Claudia Nygaard, Dale Page, Ramblin’ Rangers, Sandy Reay, Dennis Russell, Mark Smith, Rocky Sullivan, Rod Taylor, and Jim Wilson. Find more at cimarroncowboygathering.com.

Deanna has two highly praised books of stories, Rough Patches, which recently won a Will Rogers Medallion Award, and Mustang Spring, which also includes poems. She also has an award-winning CD of her poetry, Riding. She’s a popular performer at gatherings, often appearing at the Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering, the Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering, the Western Folklife Center’s National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, and other events.

Her next book, a sequel to Rough Patches, is scheduled for release in October.

This photo, taken last month, is of Deanna and Dave McCall and ranching friends and neighbors.

Find more about Deanna Dickinson McCall at CowboyPoetry.com; at her web site, deannadickinsonmccall.com; and on Facebook.

 

I’LL RIDE THRU IT by Deanna Dickinson McCall

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photograph © Walter Workman, permission required for use

 

I’LL RIDE THRU IT
by Deanna Dickinson McCall

I seek out the strong broad chest
Sweet breath and gentle eye
Strong neck where my head can rest
On the horse’s strength I rely.

I’ll ride thru it.

When the cold makes my bones ache
But there’s work to be done
For those cows’ and calves’ sake
I’ll finish what’s begun.

I’ll ride thru it.

When struggling to understand
Life’s peaks and falls
My soul seeks the range land
I answer her siren call

I’ll ride thru it.

When dreams fill me with pain
Of loved ones now gone
Tears fall like a soft rain
In the early light of dawn

I’ll ride thru it.

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.

When my life’s fading away
I’m about to be set free
I hope on that last day
In that saddle I’ll still be

and I’ll ride thru it.

© 2017, Deanna Dickinson McCall
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission

Award-winning poet, writer, and fourth-generation rancher Deanna Dickinson McCall comments about this poem, “Riding has always gotten me through tough times; the important part is to keep riding, and not to stop. Horses have always been healing to me, and we have traveled life’s roughest trails together.”

Recently, Deanna and noted painter and rancher JaNeil Anderson collaborated, pairing poems and paintings, in an attractive and engaging book, Split Reins.

Deanna has two highly praised books of stories, Rough Patches, which recently won a Will Rogers Medallion Award, and Mustang Spring, which also includes poems. She also has an award-winning CD of her poetry, Riding. She’s a popular performer at gatherings, often appearing at the Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering, the Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering, the Western Folklife Center’s National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, and other events.

Find more about Deanna Dickinson McCall at CowboyPoetry.com; at her web site; and on Facebook.

This photograph is by respected photograph Walter Workman. Find more about Walter Workman on Facebook and at walterworkman.com, where there are impressive photo galleries.