Earl McKee RIP


Trudy Johnson Photography



Robert Frost never built a fence
between a neighbor as fine as mine,
who shared more than his cow sense
on both sides of the line.

He helped a shaggy-headed kid
whose ignorance could fill a book
and kept his impatience mostly hid
‘less I took a second look—

and then he knew, I knew the pain
and like a son, he worked with me
and tell a joke to keep me sane,
so frustrated I couldn’t see.

In time, I’d be working the gate,
he damn-sure had me looking sharp,
working ’round my each mistake—
the cattle easy to part.

Whenever I call, he’ll be there,
saving most of his work for last.
He helped me ship ’em on Easter,
a drought year gone past.

A slick calf could cause discussion,
he’d always argue it was mine.
I debate for his possession,
losing most of the time.

And when he’d weigh out justice,
you’d find his thumb upon the scale,
but on your side of the balance,
your logic to no avail.

So before you go building fences
and stretching brand-new barbed wire,
there’s one gone beyond common senses
and made Bobby Frost a liar.

If you ever find a pattern cut
that’d be suitable for me,
reckon you’d be hard-pressed put
using other than Earl Mckee.

            – John Dofflemyer (Dry Creek Rhymes, 1989)


6 responses to “Earl McKee RIP

  1. Sorry for your loss. He sounds like a fine man.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. So very sorry to hear this. Earl was an icon, a treasure, and an all around stellar man.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mary and Manuel

    Beautiful John. We are all still in shock.


  4. One of your best John and a fitting tribute to an icon.



    Liked by 1 person

  5. I realize words do not comfort or fill the void, but know I am sorry the world lost such a man – your friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. “……… as we make friends with death
    at dinner: leftovers and bottles

    of red wine to replay our side
    of magnificent dear departures
    rich with pride, all the ashes

    left to live in symbolic places……
    living monuments wrought
    by hand to absorb our grief…….”

    November 2015


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