Monday, August 27, 2012

Now there's a good feller! (written August 26, 2012)

Blaine Schaible - March 14, 1948 - August 26, 2011

It was a year ago today that I received the phone call from Carla Schaible that Blaine had just been killed in an accident involving a horse...

Blaine and Carla were great family friends of ours.  When Blaine first moved to Watford City during the oil boom of the 70's, he lived in my Grandma and Grandpa Hovet's basement apartment before moving his family to the area.  That is how we first met Blaine and shortly after, Carla and the kids - Rhonda, David and Shana.

I still remember in those days following Blaine's death, Carla provided comfort to all those who loved Blaine. She was amazing and strong, gracious and brave through those darkest hours and she still is today. It helped to have that comfort, but for the past year, every event at the ranch has been a constant reminder that Blaine is no longer with us in flesh. For those who don't share the unique interest in or have a passion for ranching and making livelihoods tending to livestock and land, it is hard to understand. But for those few who know this 'code of the west', you know you can be in a room full of interesting people, but feel completely alone. On the other hand, if in that room, you find through conversation those other 'fellers' that 'know' and 'share' this code, you feel connected to them, engaged by them, supported by them and most of all, understood. Blaine shared that code. He was known to be a mechanic by trade, but a true cowboy by heart.

The last three or so years of his life, Blaine spent a lot of time at the ranch. He was a great hand and an even better friend.  We miss him.

So on this evening of the one year anniversary of his passing from this world, and now having been through each 'ranching' season of the year with out Blaine, here is a tribute to a 'Good Feller' as shared by Jarvis Sorenson as Blaine's funeral:

Four Little Words
Four little words have stuck in my mind
From the time I was just a small child
“There’s a good feller” is what he would say
When he talked of the men he admired

I remember those men he talked about
Sure ‘nuff cowboys, tough, but kind
They said what they meant and meant what they said
These men are gettin’ harder to find

“There’s a good feller,” meant he was true to his word
That’s all you expect of a man
You knew for sure he was proud to meet you
By the genuine shake of his hand

“There’s a good feller,” meant you could depend
On this man no matter the task
Never got too tough, too cold, or too late
For his help, all you need do is ask

“There’s a good feller,” meant he had a light hand
Be it with horses or cattle or crew
He spent most of his life learning this cowboy trade
And he’d be honored to teach it to you

“There’ a good feller” meant don’t ask him to do
What ain’t on a true and honest track
He knows it’s easier to keep a good reputation
Than it is to try to build one back

“There’s a good feller,” meant he’s a fair-minded man
He helped write cowboyin’s unwritten laws
He won’t ask you to do what he wouldn’t do
Yet knows, at times, the short end you’ll draw

“There’s a good feller,” meant, when he’s down on his luck
He can still hold his head way up high
‘Cause he did his best and gave it his all
He knows with faith and God’s help he’ll get by

“There’s a good feller,” just four little words
And their meaning won’t run all that deep
But when Dad would use ‘em to describe certain men
You knew they were at the top of the heap

“There’s a good feller,” just four little words
But they’ve always been favorites of mine
If after my trails end, my name’s brought up
“There’s a good feller” would suit me just fine

© Jay Snider, All rights reserved

Post Script - As all good procrastinator do, I sat down to blog this tribute a few short hours before wanting to post it.  When I went to Jay Snider's website for FOUR LITTLE WORDS and found the copyright, I immediately emailed him for permission to print it.  He responded to my request with gracious permission to print his pieces and added that after reading the blog, this next piece too might be one for this moment.  I read it and believe that Blaine would love it too.

Of Horses and Men

Some are blessed with tranquil passing
while others met a tragic end.
Truth is, it's never easy
when you've lost a trusted friend.

As horses go, it's sometimes told
in simple words that cowboys use.
He darn sure was a good one.
He’s the kind you hate to lose.

He’s the kind you'd ride the river with,
roam the canyons and the breaks.
In rough country and wild cattle,
he’d be the one you’d take.

His efforts weren’t ruled by stature.
With him you’d finish what you’d start.
His limits were governed only
by the dimension of his heart.

His expectations were simple,
merely fairness from a friend.
But when he’d feel the need to run,
don't try to fence him in.

Pure poetry in motion
as across the plains he’d fly.
A tried and true compadre
in a seasoned cowboy’s eye.

His courage was unmatched by mortal men
from conquistadors to kings.
Cowboys sing his praises
at roundups in the spring.

Ain’t it strange how thoughts of horses lost
mirror those of men passed on.
And though they’ve gone to glory
their spirit’s never gone.

Sometimes simple words seem best
when final words we choose.
He darn sure was a good one.
He’s the kind you hate to lose.

Copyright: Jay Snider 2004 All rights reserved