‘I Know You’ll Miss This Man’ | TheFencePost.com

‘I Know You’ll Miss This Man’

It was another rough week for The Fence Post family with the loss of Mad Jack Hanks.

Since I started here about five years ago, we’ve said farewell to Gwen Peterson, Baxter Black and now Mad Jack.

My favorite Mad Jack story happened a few years ago when he got bucked off his horse and ended up getting a helicopter ride to the hospital. He immediately called from the emergency room to let me know he wouldn’t have his column in for that week.

But he was back the next week, stronger and ornerier than ever.

To be honest, there were times when I had to censor Mad Jack because his generational ideas would come out and I was afraid some of our younger, and more liberal readers, would get bent out of shape. And there were times when I just let him go off — because I don’t like to edit a columnist’s opinions — and he and I would deal with the fall out.

Mad Jack wasn’t afraid to voice his opinion and they resonated with the majority of our readers who so appreciated his columns and his honesty.

Mad Jack was also an artist and has contributed his cartoons to The Fence Post for many years. We will continue to run his cartoons as long as we can.

Mad Jack lived the life of a cowboy and was proud of that lifestyle. I found this poem from Baxter Black called “I Know You’ll Miss This Man.” I think it is appropriate and took the liberty of changing the name at the end from Billy to Jack.

The Lord spoke to the heavy hearts that stood with hats in hand

“Your sadness pains me deeply and I know you’ll miss this man

But, it’s true what you’ve been hearing, Heaven is a real place.

That’s no small consolation. You should use that fact to face

The emptiness his parting left that seeps into your bones

And draw on it to ease your pain. For he is not alone.

You see, all his friends are up here and all his loved ones, too,

‘Cause it wouldn’t be a heaven without each one of you.

And heaven for a cowboy is just what you might expect,

It’s horses that need tunin’ up and heifers that need checked.

It’s long rides with a purpose and a code that lights the way

And a satisfying reason to get up every day.

It’s the ranch he’s always dreamed of and never knew he’d find

And if you think about it, you can see it in your mind.

Him, leanin’ in the saddle with his ol’ hat on his head,

Contentment set upon his face like blankets on a bed.

The leather creaks a little as he shifts there in the seat.

The bit chains give a jingle when his pony switches feet.

And you somehow get the feelin’ that he’s sittin’ on a throne

A’gazin’ out on paradise just like it was his own.

I can promise you he’s happy, though I know you can’t pretend

You’re glad he made the journey. It’s too hard to comprehend.

The earthly way you look at things can never satisfy

Your lack of understanding for the answer to the ‘Why?’

So, I offer this small comfort to put your grief to rest,

I only take the top hands ‘cause my crew’s the very best.

And I know it might seem selfish to friends and next of kin

But I needed one more cowboy and Jack fit right in.”

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