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Hayes County, Nebraska
About Dixie Eckhoff





Luv That Chevy

Farmer threw away a pickup back in nineteen ninety one.
It had lots of squeaks and rattles and the engine wouldn't run.
So he towed it to his graveyard of equipment round the bend
and he parked it by a combine that would never run again.
Then a relative approached him, said, "I'd like to buy that truck.
It's exactly what I'm needing.  Wow! I can't believe my luck."
That farmer told the woman, "You can have that truck for free.
It's just a piece of junk, you know, it ain't no good to me,
Cause once upon a time that truck was sent from up above.
It was red and it was shiny ....twas an '80 Chevy Luv.
It was good for running errands.  It was handy hauling grain.
It went to school on weekdays and it travels good in rain."
She dropped a rebuilt engine in that beat up Chevrolet
and told her family, "touch this truck - there will be hell to pay.
I need an ugly pickup that is mine alone to use ...
that no one will drive off in - I can drive it when I choose."
The dashboard on that pickup truck was split and faded gray.
The brakes were old and nearly shot - don't need them anyway.
Though dents were few and far between, the paint was faded bad.
Her family cringed and shook their heads.  They thought that she'd gone mad.
A hole's worn in the floorboard.  The glove box wouldn't close.
The handle's busted off the door - no windshield wiper hose.
She held her head up proudly and proclaimed, "I think it's nice."
Amd she didn't even mind that nest of little baby mice.
That Chevy Luv was hers alone for all her daily needs.
She drove it on the highway and she drove it through the weeds.
She drove it through the pasture and she drove it through the mire.
She drove it through a thunderstorm and to a prairie fire.
She drove it through the canyons to check the cows and mares.
She drove it to the city where she drew some highbrow stares.
The box is full of buckets.  Vice grips roll down the glass.
It drinks a lot of Quaker State and runs on methane gas.
It boasts a hundred thousand.  She will never give it up.
And no one ever tries to take her little pickup truck.

© 2007, Dixie Eckhoff
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Dixie told us:  I was inspired to write this poem by my sister, Lana Lapp. The poem is true and is about her.


Jake's Secret

Jake had a little secret he shared only with his wife.
Both he and Dorothy kept it dear—their private way of life.
When evening milking chores were done and cows at last were fed
the two of them would slip downstairs before they went to bed.
They'd push aside the taters, move the green beans to the rear
of their shelf of home-canned vegetables to reach their home-brewed beer.
They'd overturn some buckets, seat themselves and pour their mugs
full of cool, refreshing homestyle, stored within their earthen jugs.
Jake would check the new brew nightly, stretch balloons across the top,
then carefully line the bottles up and nary spill a drop.
One morn while Jake was chorin', lifting hay bales from the shed,
his tired old heart just gave away. By noon poor Jake was dead.
The mourners came from far and near cause Jake had friends galore.
They all brought food and blessings. Dorothy met them at the door.
She asked them in to sit a spell and reminisce awhile.
They shared the pain of losing Jake and tried to make her smile.
In Dorothy's grief and sorrow, she'd forgot to check the ale.
Balloons were tight as snare drums and the jugs began to wail.
As the preacher asked for silence and commenced upon his speech,
a bang was heard beneath the floor, fast followed by a screech.
Explosions sounded loud and fast like buckshot from a gun.
A few good folks just hit the deck while some began to run.
The preacher grabbed his Bible as he bolted toward the door,
quickly followed by the others—maybe ten or twenty more.
Several ladies cried for mercy. Elmo Johnson lost his hat.
Gladys Turnbull lost her balance—fell directly on the cat.
They scattered to their autos, nearly yanking off the doors,
spun their cars in random circles with the pedals to the floors.
They were spewing dirt and gravel as they hit the county road,
driving hell bent for the village with their stories to be told.
Well, word spread like a whirlwind through that sleepy little town,
and try—she truly did, but Dorothy couldn't live it down.
Folks declared that it was Satan rising up to claim his own.
Poor old Dorothy had to chuckle—Lord! If only they had known!
Now, Dorothy often brews a batch, for mostly old time's sake.
She pours a mug of cool and clear and drinks a toast to Jake!

© 2007, Dixie Eckhoff
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Dixie told us: "Jake's Secret" was based on a couple I knew when I was young who did make beer in their basement and it did explode on one occasion. I embellished the rest to make a story. When I was a child, we visited their home occasionally. They had been friends with my parents for years. It was always a trying experience. Their kids were the ages of my sister and I and they were a tough bunch. Each visit, they challenged us to ride bucking horses and even pigs. I wasn't pleased about that, but we managed just fine and although I think my mother empathized with us, I believe my dad figured it was good for us and we were "building character."



The Roper
He was sitting there beside me on a Greyhound heading west.
his hat pulled low to shade his eyes, his hands upon his chest.
His denim jeans were faded and his boots were showing wear.
Although I found him interesting, I tried hard not to stare.
I figured he was passing through - don't know where he was from.
I knew he was a roper  'cause he didn't have a thumb.
Now, I began surmising that it must have really hurt
to dally off your thumb and find it lying in the dirt.
I wondered how he'd hitchhike.  Now that may sound rather dumb.
It seems to me to thumb a ride you've got to have a thumb.
And out of curiosity I'd like to ask you all
just how a man without a thumb would grasp a bowling ball?
It may be somewhat difficult, now don't you just suppose
to someone that he didn't like he couldn't thumb his nose?
He raised his hat and smiled at me as though he'd read my mind.
A good response eluded me.  The words I couldn't find.
"I bit it off and chewed it up," he told me with a grin.
I laughed out loud and told him that I wasn't taken in.
I asked about the pain involved.  He slowly answered, "Yup.
Where I come from it's understood you gotta cowboy up."
Our conversation ended when the bus began to slow.
We must have talked and laughed about a hundred miles or so.
He tipped his hat and winked at me and gathered up his grip.
I shook his thumbless hand and said, "I sure enjoyed the trip."
I watched that cowboy walk away.  I couldn't help but smile.
I hadn't met a man like him in more than quite awhile.
I think about that roper every time I'm feeling blue.
I "cowboy up" the best I can just like I know he'd do.  

© 2008, Dixie Eckhoff
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Dixie told us: The poem was inspired by my great nephew Levi Tyan of local Hayes county in Nebraska. Levi has always been an excellent roper, but in July of 2006 he lost part of his finger and damaged another while roping at Lake Maloney arena south of North Platte. Levi was only 16 at the time and was devastated by the injury. He was sure that he would never be able to play sports again of any kind.

I sent him a letter of encouragement as I was sure that his body would compensate for the loss. It surely did. Levi was roping again four weeks later with a cast on his hand. Six weeks after the injury he was playing football.

Since that time, Levi was named the NP Telegraph's Football Super Six, All State Honorable Mention, Conference BB champs, GPAC Honorable Mention, also in BB and FB for the Lincoln Journal Star and Omaha World Herald, and Assoc. Press All State team, in addition to other sports awards. In roping, he won the average in the Ne. State Finals Rodeo, won Rapid City USTRC with his sister Shelby, won the #13 roping with Jim Opela, 2nd in roping at Broken Bow, and won 3 saddles in 3 days. There are more but I can't keep up.

After Levi's accident, I started noticing the hands of any man wearing cowboy boots. If a thumb was missing, I was pretty sure that he was a roper. In Levi, I saw the spirit of persevering. He loves the sport of team roping and carries on with a calm, self assuredness of a seasoned adult. Levi is a sensitive, thoughtful young man who is wise beyond his years. I'm very proud of him.




 About Dixie Eckhoff:

Dixie (Griffiths Stinson) Eckhoff was raised on a ranch along the Willow Creek in northeastern Hayes County in Nebraska.  She attended rural school district #63 during her elementary years and high school in Hayes Center, Nebraska.  No stranger to milking cows, feeding hogs, irrigating and raking hay, Dixie believes there's nothing like living in the country and is planning to one day retire to the grassy plains of the Willow Creek.

She graduated from McCook Community College in 1968 and raised three children on a farm thirty miles from her home place. She was an office manager for a large ranch and feedlot operation for a number of years  Dixie moved to North Platte in June of 1991 and works for the Union Pacific Railroad.

Dixie began writing poetry at age eight and wrote sporadically through the years. A long recovery period from a heart attack afforded her the time to get in touch once again with her love of writing. Dixie won the first place
award in the 2005 Literature Contest, poetry division, sponsored by the Nebraska Mother's Association for her poem "The Best Bouquet."  In 2006, she won with "Kindergarten" and in 2007 with "The Middle Child." "The Best
Bouquet" won first place in the National Mother's Association poetry contest. It is among her poems published in her first book Just A Little Bull, a collection of stories and poems, mostly of a country flavor, yet also includes humorous poetry of a diverse nature.  Dixie's poetry and stories have been published in Reminisce magazine, The Fence Post, the North Platte Bulletin, the McCook Gazette and the North Platte Telegraph. She is currently working on her second humorous book.


Just a Little Bull

Available for 15.95 plus tax from:

Dixie D. Eckhoff




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