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Cowboy 101:  "Ode to Warnie"


Yellow day in autumn, punching cows and riding drag

He reined his mount a moment, a sturdy chestnut nag,

To survey our wondrous kingdom, of cattle and of land,

--a postage stamp, really—though in our eyes, grand.

That moment, by God’s grace, in our minds forever etched.

Like no other, he lived in the little moments,

And in a moment felt the angels’ breath.


Horseman, Fireman, Churchman, he

And all he did done innocently.


As tough an old cowboy as ever strapped on spurs,

A real brush-poppin’ cowboy, briar-scratched and burred.

Sharp enough to choose a horse not prone to buck,

Sharp enough to know all we enjoy on this glorious earth

Comes not just of grit and of luck.

“Amazing Grace” he’d sing, or “This Little Light of Mine”,

A reminder that the joy we know, comes from the Divine.


Horseman, Fireman, Churchman he

Listens now to the angels sing.



And funny!

At a backyard supper once he rode, a rowdy, snortin’, stick-horse missile

Crazily around the yard, barely making the whistle.

During Eucharist, most poignant of times,

He’d raise a bottle and make drunken eyes,

Go bubbly-headed, claim he’d been in jail,

I’d strain to restrain it, then just laugh like—well.


Horseman, Fireman, churchman he

Saw the world for all it was,

And enjoyed it, comically.


A man of rare gifts—Tough and strong, sweet and true,

He understood fellowship better than me, and you.

Pillar of the community, St. Thomas’s cornerstone,

Son, Brother, Uncle, Friend, leaves with so little to atone.


Yet his greatest gift, the gift exceeding all others,

Beyond measure,

Beyond dreams,

The gift surpassing all understanding, Praise Heaven Above,

Warnie’s greatest gift – his mother’s love.


G. Yearwood

February 24, 2015

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