Thursday, July 22, 2004

Not As Long Asd I Breathe..

John Criswell, my longsuffering firstflight Friend messaged me that my Favotite Prairie Dweller had "passed away".  He was Ken MacLean, of Gainsborough, Saskatchewan, formerly of  Poverty Plains near Broomhill, Manitoba.

He was old, like me.  I'd know him for fifty years. He came to Jekyll Island and visited me. I saw him for a month every summer for 30 years, watching bird dog field trials.

He'll never be "dead" as long as I breathe.

    He was my first, and always my best Canadian friend.I met him on a blustery day when the bluestem was parallel with the greasy prairie road.

    Within an hour, he was teaching me Scot  songs and we were trying to outquote one another from wee Robby Burns.He had no enemy.

    He  overbecame himself with Love and Generosity and Loyalty and grace of character.

    No better horseman ever lived and few knew pointing dogs as he did. 

     He saw Ches Harris, and probably as well as Jake Bishop; Farrior  Pere   and son;  All the Gates men,  Red Weddle,  the Lunsford and Smith  generations.

    He knew.

    I can hear his sweet tenor voice drifting in the pelting hailstorm as we hid the nags under a haystack from the heavens' grapeshot--teaching me the words to  "Tangle o'er th' Isles:

    "If  ye iver falter or ye weaken in yer step, then ye niver smelt th' Tangle o'er th' Isles..."

    I wish I knew who wrote this Farewell.  I heard / saw the great Harold Gould recite it in a motion picture about Old Dying  Folks who loved one another and ran away to the Head of the Yellowstone to die:

 Do not stand at my grave and weep.                  
I am not there!
 I do not sleep.                  
 I am a thousand winds that blow.                  
I am the diamond glint on snow.                  
I am the sunrise on ripened grain.                  
 I am the gentle Autumn rain.                  
When you are waking to the morning's hush,                  
I am the swift, uplifting rush                  
Of quiet birds in circled flight.                  
 I am the star-filled silver night.                  
Do not stand at my grave and cry....                  
I am not there.                  
I did not "die"!


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