Friday, April 17, 2009

There Once was a Hand Named Dale

I spoke briefly at the funeral of Dale Castagno (1935-2009) today. After the service, Dale was carried to the cemetery in this horse-drawn hearse, built in 1805, and driven by two of his sons.

In honor of Dale, I wrote this poem last Sunday—Easter morning—the day before he died.

I will dearly miss you, old friend. We will do our best to take care of LaRae.

There Once Was a Hand Named Dale

There once was a hand named Dale
Who rode a long, lonely trail
A trail of sadness and grief
But blessings, too, beyond belief.

He was tough as an ox, you know,
He’d ride in the rain and the snow.
But he’d always get the job done,
Long after the setting of the sun.

He could flank a calf with one hand,
And give ‘em shots with his teeth.
And if a bull ever came charging,
Boy, were they in for a lot of grief!

He could saddle two horses at a time,
And he never committed a crime—
Well, at least he never got turned in,
You see, he never was much on sin.

One day he roped a calf and a cougar
All in one, giant loop.
That night he ate a heap of veal
And a bowl of mountain lion soup.

One day he rode alone in the hills,
Far above the din and the crowd,
When he heard a still, small voice,
It wasn’t very loud.

It spoke of a story long ago
Of a Man, a garden and a cross,
A Man of many sorrows, who
Knew of sadness and loss.
Who walked alone up a hill
Where he gave His life for all.

Dale told himself that day,
“I’ll walk up that hill, too,
And give my all for You.”

Life has come hard at Dale since then,
But his toughness has served him well.
He has seen a lot of heaven,
And a little too much of hell.

But he’s made it through it all,
With a prayer on his lips, and a
Song in his heart—oh, the goodness
Of that man is way off the chart.

There once was a hand named Dale
Who rode a long, lonely trail
A trail of sadness and grief
But blessings, too, beyond belief.

1 comment:

JeJim said...

What a beautiful tribute! Thanks for sharing it as well as the wonderful picture. It is nice to know that we live around such loving and caring people!