Harry Ballard Harris, 91 Jason 03 Jan 2006

6 comments Latest by Scott

The legend has passed on.

He is survived by one sister; Una Lambert; one son, Dale (Linda) Harris, Cedar City; and one daughter, Janet Hays, Harrodsburg, Ky.; and two stepdaughters, Vickie Ferraro, Provo; and Sheila Bittle, Salt Lake City; and 13 grandchildren, 35 great-grandchildren, and four great-great-grandchildren.

Rest in peace, Mr. Harris. It was a true honor to have met you.

6 comments so far (Jump to latest)

SH 03 Jan 06

Rest in peace, old cowboy.

Dan Boland 03 Jan 06

May he rest in peace. That’s a great photograph, Jason.

Will 03 Jan 06

Sounds like an amazing guy.

I wish I’d had the pleasure of passing through those parts and meeting him myself.

Erin Milburn 04 Jan 06

Hey Jason. Thanks so much for keeping up with my grandfather, Ballard Harris. Your acknowledgement of his unique spirit and singular personality has blessed me and the rest of my family so much. Grandpa’s funeral was a lovely event - truly a celebration of his notable life. I am enclosing the poem that I wrote for him and read at the funeral and again I thank you for your lovely pictures and story and everyone who has expressed their condolence. God bless you all.

COWBOY

A cowboy’s life can dwindle
down to almost next to nothing
when days have carved
more notches on his belt than he can count…

He rode the open range
back in a time when time was endless
pushing cows across the desert
daily breathing life to legend,
icon dressed in spurs and denim
hatband low across his forehead
fending off a shameless sun.

His face holds fast that memory
locked in weathered lines and creases
etched in shin scorched like a saddle
worn from long days on the trail
when his supple spine still held him
tall and limber, straight and narrow
on a ton of moving muscle,
legs of iron guiding a power
that was far beyond his own

Then, he ruled the endless vista
carved of sandstone cliffs and cactus
stretching off toward distant mountains
rising aubergine and blue
He lived out his heart’s pure longing
For a span of silver motion
losing love among the hours
losing hope of simple time

Now on dusky desert mornings
when the sunrise is a blanket
draped across the far horizon
glowing orange, pink and gold,
he can’t feel the gentle pull
upon his slick, elusive memory,
cannot grasp a certain handle
on what was his, forever gone

But he can tell another story
of that man who used to cowboy
and who loved a girl named Wava
once upon a long ago
He wears the past like clothes outdated,
That don’t fit him any longer,
But today won’t fit him either
His world lies somewhere between

So he makes his own existence
out of birds and river water,
in a canyon red and barren
growing rainbow-colored roses..

Like a peacock feather prophet
he paints signs that point the way
to a rugged cross of salvation
void of wooden pew and hymnal
where a man can make his own deal
with a God who knows his name

And he sifts his final moments
in a ratty vinyl armchair,
waiting for that voice to call him
down that last long, lonesome trail.

As he rides into the sunset,
free from loneliness and sorrow,
we who loved him slowly circle
like the birds he left behind

by Erin Milburn (loving granddaughter)

shane 04 Jan 06

Erin, thank you for such a sweet taste of the gospel in such an unexpected place.

Scott 05 Jan 06

Wow, what a legacy! Fifty-four people are enjoying life on this planet because of this man. Well done!

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