photograph of Trey and Janice Hannagan Allen by Carol Barlau; request permission for use
A FATHER’S CONVERSATION WITH HIS DAUGHTER
Inspired by Jack Carter “Trey” Allen, III
by Marci Broyhill
Father and daughter leaned against the rail fence
reviewing the day as the sunset commenced.
They talked about livestock, repairs of the day,
the upcoming taxes and bills yet to pay,
how much hay to keep and how much to sell,
a new door for the barn, a new pump for the well,
cedar trees in the pasture and down by the creek.
Those invasive rogue trees to be burned out next week.
As they paused for a moment and gazed to the west
at the glorious sunset, their voices took rest.
They stood there absorbing the radiant sky
so, peaceful, serene. No words could apply.
This setting was right for the man to impart
philosophical thoughts and requests of his heart.
Breaking the silence by clearing his throat,
calmly shifting his hat, the father gave note.
I’ve lived my best years on this ground where we stand.
I’m the third generation to work this grassland.
As a young man, I frequently fell off the track.
But each time I did, this land called me back.
I’ve been giving some thought to my life here on Earth,
hoping my work has contributed worth.
Man, woman or child, we just never know
when the angel of death says, “Hey there, let’s go.”
To make that time easier for those left behind,
let me share what’s been buzzing around in my mind.
When my body can no longer shelter my soul,
when old age or disease have done taken their toll,
when it’s time for my spirit to cross the grand bridge,
to that eternal grassland up over the ridge,
I have some requests, I hope you’ll abide
when my spirit is called to the hereafter side.
I’m a practical man, my style is low-key.
A quiet observance is perfect for me.
I need not a casket to bury my bones
or a cemetery plot with a fancy head stone.
No extravagant flowers in basket or vase,
for this crusty old geezer, they’d be out of place.
Let me merge with this land, my dust to this earth,
to join in the cycle of Nature’s rebirth.
Toss some of my ashes into a warm breeze
to dust the green crown of the cottonwood trees.
Scatter some dust through a shelterbelt row.
There I’ll stand against wind driving dirt, ice and snow.
Shake some dust in the pasture along the fence line,
and behind the horse barn that your pa built with mine,
across the hay meadow that borders the creek,
into the plum brush where blossoms smell sweet,
on my favorite trails where I ride with Roan Red,
on your mother’s perennials, her prize flower bed.
When it rains, I’ll drip, float and trickle around
immersing myself into life-giving ground
to be one with wild flowers and native grass.
I’ll stroke velvet muzzles of those grazing past.
I’ll cradle new life, domestic and wild,
the gentle, the aggressive, each one Nature’s child.
When the scattering of ashes is accomplished and done
I’ll be living in two worlds, not merely one.
Now you sleeve that there sniffle and blink back those tears.
‘Cuz I plan to keep ranching some twenty plus years.
This land will be yours when I cross the divide.
But until then my dear, I’m here by your side.
You’re an honest, smart woman, with a trustworthy man.
If any two ranchers can make it, you can.
Right now, we’re a trio. I like that I do.
When counting my blessings, the best ones are you.
Oh, there’s one more detail I’m a gonna’ to impose.
Get a stainless-steel plate for a message of prose.
Engrave an inscription so all understand
my respect for ranch life, my love for this land.
Then nail that steel plate on a creosote post.
Let it state, Trey Allen remains here, on the land he loves most.
@ 2017, Marci Broyhill
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission
Marci Broyhill comments:
“A Father’s Conversation with His Daughter” was inspired by Jack Carter “Trey” Allen III. I first met Mr. Allen in 2005 at Michael Martin Murphey’s West Fest event at Snow Mass, Colorado. I was in the infancy of my cowboy poetry adventure and attended West Fest to immerse myself in the essence of western culture: the people, art, music and poetry. It was there that I heard and met Trey Allen for the first time.
It was after one of the West Fest concerts as I stood on the grassy slope, the magnificent natural amphitheater setting for the West Fest concerts, that I saw Trey Allen walking in my direction. I was apprehensive, yet summoned up the courage to introduce myself and express my appreciation for his material and presentation. At that time, he was dressed in crisp light taupe attire from head to toe. Trey politely tipped his hat and respectfully said, “Thank you, ma’am.” We shared a few pleasantries and he was gone. Our encounter was brief, yet it is branded in my memory.
My next encounter with Mr. Allen was ten years later, August 2015, in Abilene, Kansas at the Cowboy Poetry Rodeo where I was a participant. Mr. Allen was one of the judges. The third time was in October of 2015 at Old West Days in Valentine, Nebraska where Trey was a featured performer. Trey was ill both times; fighting multiple myeloma. Still, Trey portrayed a positive attitude of living, strutting his pink boots, bright neon colored shirts, flashy scarves and ties giving inspiration to all present.
Trey was scheduled to entertain at the Chickasaw County Cowboy Poetry and Western Music Gathering in Lawler, Iowa the following January 2016. Due to his on-going, energy-sapping cancer, he had to decline that appearance. I was asked to “fill in” for Trey Allen. Wow, what boots to fill. I was humbled and honored.
The following was garnered from CowboyPoetry.com.
Jack Carter “Trey” Allen III was born January 20, 1971 in Richardson, Texas. He respected the cowboy code of life and was employed in the ranching, cowboy-style of living most of his life which generated a wealth of background experiences for his colorful, original cowboy poetry which he recited with ease.
He was diagnosed in 2013 of multiple myeloma. A photo of Trey, taken by Carol Barlau became the reference photograph used by Don Dane for his painting titled “Cowboy True, Thru and Thru.” That art work became the poster for Cowboy Poetry Week, April 19-25, 2015.
Understanding the severity of his illness, Trey asked his three daughters that at upon his death, they take a road trip with his ashes. He directed them to scatter his remains on all the ranches on which he worked. Jack Carter “Trey” Allen III died July 7, 2016 in Manhattan, Kansas with family at his bedside.
My three brief encounters with the brave, unselfish man, Jack Carter “Trey” Allen III, inspired me to write “A Father’s Conversation with His Daughter.” Thank you, sir.
[Find a tribute to Trey Allen here and more at CowboyPoetry.com.]
ABOUT MARCI BROYHILL
Marci Broyhill, Prairie Poet & Storyteller grew up on the Cedar-Dixon County Line between Nebraska’s Cowboy Trail, Highway 20 and Nebraska’s Outlaw Trail, Highway 12. Marci is on the Humanities Nebraska Roster with her program, Nebraska’s Outlaw Trail, Highway 12. She balances her presentations with current information, history, reflection and humor. Marci currently lives in Dakota City, Nebraska. Find more at marcibroyhill.com.
Marci Broyhill and two new fans of Cowboy Poetry. South Sioux City, Nebraska Library honoring Cowboy Poetry Week (2015).
Marci Broyhil, Doc Middleton (aka Kyle Rosfeld) and Teresa Kay Orr. Naper, Nebraska honoring Cowboy Poetry Week (2015).
Teresa Kay Orr and Marci Broyhill in Dakota City, Nebraska honoring Cowboy Poetry Week. Marci adds, “Teresa Kay is my sister. Whenever possible, we do events together. She brings the element of music. Together, we provide a bit of fun sibling banter.”