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This is page 2.

See more of Yvonne Hollenbeck's poems, her bio, publications and recordings on Page 1.

Find a Father's Day tribute to Harry Hanson on Page 3.




The Flag Out on the Ranch


Father's Boots
The Waitress
A Plain Ol' Ranch Wife
The PETA Reporter
A Good Name
Old Folks Rodeo

An Old Fashioned Christmas
The Annual Christmas Program

Halloween Headlines

Saga of the Dust (by grandmother Blanche Hanson)
The West (anonymous)

Roundup Day (to Kyle Evans)
Where the Sweetest Grasses Grow (to Kyle Evans)

Our Hero (for Wally Bazyn)



The Flag Out on the Ranch

It was an old and faded flag but it was always there,
for visitors to see it freely waving in the air.

He'd say "I always fly it every time I get a chance,
although I know it's odd to see it out here on this ranch."

And when you'd ask about it, his face would beam with joy
he'd tell how he went off to war when he was but a boy.

He said it changed him to a man and changed him much too fast
from scenes imprinted on his mind .but that is in the past.

He lost a lot of comrades but somehow his life was spared;
and pleased him so when folks would fly their flag to show they cared.

Then said, "I hope you'll fly one, and never take it down
even though you're in the country and a long long way from town.

'cause there's still a lot of boys fighting hard to keep us free
although it may be for a cause in which you disagree."

Now, ever since that day when he explained this all to me
I know just why he flies it when it's just for him to see.

It's to show appreciation for those who gave their best,
and that flag is always flying on his ranch there in the West.

© 2006, Yvonne Hollenbeck
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



There's a hundred thousand ranchers that are left here in this land,
and the same amount of waddies that they call their hired hands.

There's eleven thousand fellers that rodeo full-time
or at least pay entry fees 'though they never make a dime.

Add another hundred thousand that team rope every day,
and a bunch of country singers whoa re cowboys, so they say.

It's a little hard to figure, go ahead and do the math,
how less than half a million folks are trotting down that path.


There's a million cowboy poets, or at least they "claim" to be,
reaching for the stars and for all the world to see.

There's more poets than there's cowboys ...got 'em beat by two-to-one,
and I'm not one to argue and I'm sure not poking fun,

but I'm wondering if lots of them aren't just a little phony,
and what them fellers write about is just plain ol' baloney.

© 2005, Yvonne Hollenbeck
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



Father's Boots

I like to wear my father's boots
   and act just like him too;
'cause he is just the nicest guy
   a feller ever knew.
He lets me go outside with him
   and help him do the chores;
he's showed me how to swing a loop
   and ride my little horse.
I hope when I am all grown up
   his boots will fit me then;
'cause if I am a father too
  I'd like to be like him!
© 2002, Yvonne Hollenbeck
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's permission.

Glen Hollenbeck in 1945 -- in his dad's boots
Reprinted with permission from 
Where Prairie Flowers Bloom by Yvonne Hollenbeck, 2002


This poem is included in our collection of 
poems about Cowboy Dads and Granddads


The Waitress

We were broke when he said "Honey, we sure could use some money,
            do you think that you could get a job in town?"
Well I was sick of cookin' but I thought I'd best go lookin'
            and it wasn't long until I nailed one down.

The best one in my job hunt was in the local rest'rant
            but it was not the job of slinging hash;
No, it was waitin' tables where I thought that I'd be able
            to make good tips and earn some extra cash.

I was good at table waitin' but there's one thing I was hate'n
            it was when those blasted coffee drinkers came;
every morning just at ten, at least a dozen would come in
            and they would nearly drive us all insane.

After they would gather, they'd start talkin' 'bout the weather,
            as for gossip, they could really make up some;
they would hit on what was new (though they might not have a clue)
            and would solve most everything in Washington.

Then you'd hear about the gout, how a cataract came out;
            while one relived a recent colon scope.
Their prostrates were discussed while they called for second cups,
            (it's no wonder that the poor darned things were broke!)

I cancelled news subscriptions and don't need no television,
            and the doctor bills I've saved is really nice.
Everything I need to know I get from listen'n to them blow,
from the markets to good medical advice.

*Well, now we're sittin' fine, got our finances in line
since I started workin' at that eatin' shack;
and it ain't from my slavin', but from money I been savin'          
just a-listenin' to those coffee drinkers yak!

© March 21, 2003, Yvonne Hollenbeck
 This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

*verse by Pat Richardson

A Plain Ol' Ranch Wife

I've been asked many times in my travels
what it's like on a ranch in the West;
and I guess that my life is quite different,
'cause there aren't many ranch wives that's left.

Of course I work hard and sometimes there's tasks
that other gals don't have to do;
and of course I get lonely out there on the range
where neighbors are far and so few.

But views from my windows span many a mile,
and often mirages appear;
I see the sunrise, the pretty sunsets,
and coyotes and eagle and deer.

There's never a day that I don't get to see
the wonders of nature abound;
it might be in rain or a new baby calf,
or a fresh snow a-cover'n the ground.

There's times when I have to go work like a man
doin' jobs where there's never no pay;
but rewards can be great when you help save a calf
or you've helped with a harvest of hay.

I know lots of women don't have it so hard
but I never would trade 'em my life.
I love my dear cowboy, my home on the range,
and just being a plain ol' ranch wife.

© 2003, Yvonne Hollenbeck
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


The PETA Reporter

He lay there in a coma with stuff drippin’ in his veins

when she broke into his room like she was half-insane.

She only had one question, at least that’s what she said,

for the cowboy there in traction with the bandage on his head.


His jaw was wired shut, a trach was in his throat,

his arms were solid stitches, and most his ribs were broke.

The nurse asked her to leave and she didn’t want no fights

 ‘cause the priest had just arrived to administer last rights.


But the lady got real snooty and said she must proceed

to get answers she was wanting, and never paid no heed,

‘cause she had come to question that feller on that bed

and she was unconcerned that he was close to bein’ dead.


The nurse called in security…they took the lady out,

but as she left the building, the folks all heard her shout.

She said “I’m here with PETA and I’m gonna file a claim

‘cause we feel that cowboy in there didn’t treat that bull humane!”


© 2003, Yvonne Hollenbeck  
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written


A Good Name  


There’s a place over east in a valley where the buildings are weathered and old;

it was once somebody’s homestead full of dreams of a future, I’m told.

I wonder each time I go by there just how long they have been all alone;

how long that it’s been since that house there was once some family’s home.  


The barn is still standing quite stately, though the roof has begun caving in;

and I’m sure that it won’t be too long now ‘fore it’s downed by a strong prairie wind.

It’s so sad to see just the remnants of what once was somebody’s pride.

Did they leave because of some hard times or was it because someone died?


You can see where they planted some lilacs, there’s a piece of an old iron fence;

a rusty old pump still sits on a well, though I doubt it’s been used ever since.


I guess it is like many other old places that’s left to decay,

reminding us time waits for no one and that too soon there will come a day


when our lives will be like that homestead; and treasures that we might possess

will weather and long be forgotten no matter how great your success.


The only thing folks will remember is things that you do and you say

the kindness you showed to a neighbor or a stranger you passed on the way.


It don’t matter how many possessions you’ve gathered in life to lay claim,

the one thing that won’t be forgotten is the fact that you had a good name.


© 2003, Yvonne Hollenbeck
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



Old Folks Rodeo


There's a great association where geezers go and play;
it's like a big reunion for the hands of yesterday.
They started out "Old Timers" but changed to "Senior Pro"
...whatever one might call it, it's an "Old Folks Rodeo."

Old Cowboys still like whiskey and a can or two of beer,
but usually bring a grandkid 'long to help 'em drive and hear.
They often drive big motor homes, the latest of its kind
with fancy matchin' horse trailers to pull along behind.

Their gearbags look like drugstores, full of analgesic balm,
magnets and Viagra, and some pills to keep 'em calm.
The "chicks" that used to hang around in 1962
are now "old hens" still hanging 'round, and usually in a stew.

I thought I'd like to take one in and see how they are run
and learned that Old Folks Rodeos are sure a lot of fun.
It started with the crowning of the latest Senior Queen;
I don't know the criteria, but it was quite a scene.

The one they crowned had won the banner fair and square, of course,
but when she went to run her lap she couldn't mount her horse.
Thank goodness for a gate man...who helped her brace her feet,
while her predecessor pushed her rump and got her in the seat.

The entries in the barebacks are usually slim to none,
but broncs and bulls are better, though they seldom cover one.
They usually have some pickup men as green as they can be,
but, what-the-heck, they usually never work too hard, you see.

Then comes the tie-down roping (that's what they call it now);
a friend of ours was entered and he caught his calf somehow.
He lumbered down and flanked it...then gathered up the feet
then yanked that string out of his mouth, but DRAT!   There went his teeth!

They found 'em when the raked the ground at barrel racin' time;
those teeth were awful dirty, otherwise they were just fine.
And speaking of the barrels, there is no where you could find
any better horses, and they clocked some darn good times.

Some horses run the pattern better than their riders do,
like when 'Ol Dobbin left that gal back there at "barrel two!"
Another failed to make the turn on "barrel number one,"
but gravity has shifted since the days when they were young.

Thank God they left team roping for the last event that night;
I'll bet there were a hundred teams and it was quite a sight.
It's evident that this event is sweepin' 'cross the land,
but good old cowboys never roped with "golf gloves" on their hand.

I think old age has left some guys with not much patience left
.they sure can get upset when a partner don't connect.
One header really nailed one...might say he went for broke,
to only learn his healer had forgot his blasted rope!

I'm sure you've heard it said that every dog should have his day;
and only right that old cowboys should have a chance to play.
So, if you crave excitement and you wonder where to go,
may I suggest you go to see an "Old Folks Rodeo."

© 2004, Yvonne Hollenbeck
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written


In June, 2002 Yvonne Hollenbeck wrote from South Dakota: "Sounds like the whole country is dry.  We had a couple good spring rains and a half inch the other day so aren't near as bad as others, although we certainly could use rain.  My parents live in the Nebraska. Panhandle and everything is dried up there.  We went to Gillette, Wyoming last week and all the way across Western South Dakota and into Wyoming, it was very dry and no water in the stock dams - which they have to rely on for water.  Thank goodness we have good water wells and don't have to depend on dams, but lots of folks do.There are lots of cows going to market and not much interest in them. They are mainly going to feedlots and packing plants.  Could be an interesting year. Like my grandma always said:  "From the time you are born, 'till you ride in the hearse; nothing's so bad that it couldn't be worse!"

Yvonne mentioned that her grandmother Blanche Hanson and her great aunts "wrote poetry about their life in the West. They had a tough one.  I so many times wish she could have had the opportunity that I have to share my poetry and have it published, etc.  A lot of hers was written on the back of a sack, or inside of an envelope that had been opened up.  She had no money for tablets and used whatever she could and wasted nothing."  Yvonne's great-grandfather was Ben Arnold, a "well publicized old-time Dakota Cowhand that came to the State with the Texas trail herds and led quite an adventuresome life as a South Dakota Pioneer."  You can read about a book written about him below.

We are very pleased to be able to have one of her grandmother Blanche Hanson's poems, Saga of the Dust, written in 1935. Yvonne said about her grandmother and the poem, "They lived on a farm in Northern South Dakota.  On the bottom she wrote: 'I wrote this poem during one of our worst dirt storms when visibility was nill.  It was an unbelievably dark dust storm, exactly like a snow blizzard, only just dirt.'"  Yvonne, echoing her grandmother's saying, says "When you experience a harsh winter, or a South Dakota blizzard, you sometimes think there could be nothing worse.  Then you read the above poem and realize there is always something worse."


Saga of the Dust

The dust storm is raging, it roars o're the Plain,
oh, give us an old fashioned blizzard again!
These twisted up thistles that with the dust blow,
oh, give us a blizzard of old fashioned snow.

How black the horizon and dreary the view,
I wish it would snow, that I wish it would do.
The dust is so thick on the benches and sill,
we eat it and drink it, we sure get our fill.

Our bushel allotment we've eaten and more,
oh, I wish it would rain....I wish it would pour.
We know it's the year Nineteen thirty and five,
but we soon will forget it if buried alive.

The dust and the gravel sails over my head,
it spreads a drab coverlet over my bed.
Cheer up!  It may rain so we nearly will drown
and send the grass shooting to hold the dust down.

If we just grin and bear it and put on a smile,
the corner may turn, it may rain after while.
The sky is all dark and the sun sheds no glow,
oh, please come again, you blizzard of snow!

Written March 27, 1935, by Blanche Hanson
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without written permission.

Yvonne told us that she found the following poem in her grandmother's scrapbook. She said "I do not know who wrote it, perhaps she or perhaps someone else. It doesn't say."  Whoever wrote it, it's a great statement of Western hospitality:

The West

You laugh when we call it God's country,
where "men are men" makes you smile;
you're close to your neighbors in cities
while our nearest may be thirty miles.
But you'll tramp 'round a city for ages
till the hide's wore plum off your feet,
and you'll never hear said to a stranger:
"Get down, come in, and let's eat."

An Old Fashioned Christmas 

I was doing some Christmas shopping
   in a great big shopping mall;
there were stores on every side of it,
    even set up down the hall.
I was looking for a special gift
    but things all looked the same,
the clothes and toys and videos,
    and those new 'lectronic games.

Another thing, in every store
     that always looked the same
were signs that read:  "Have an Old-Fashioned Christmas
    and thank you, come again!

Now folks, I'm no spring chicken,
    I've seen more than fifty Christmas' pass;
it's not the gifts that mean the most
    it's all the fond memories that last.

I remember an old fashioned Christmas
    when we'd chop down a fresh cedar tree;
we'd string lots of rosehips and popcorn;
    the trimmin's were homemade and free.

The stockings we hung on Christmas eve
    were the kind that came off of our feet
we'd always leave cookies we'd made with our moms
     so Santa'd have something to eat.

Of course, Santa came every Christmas
    but he'd only leave one special toy,
or maybe some clothes or a new pair of boots;
    just one thing for each girl and boy.

You never were fighting no mobs or crowds
    in a great big shopping mall;
we'd just go to town on Saturday night,
    the local Dime Store had most all

of anything one could ever want,
    and every one-horse town
was full of friends and neighbors;
    folks would drive in for miles around.

The women would trade their cream and eggs
    for groceries, and of course, Christmas candy;
that was the only credit back then
    before Credit Cards got easy and handy.

We'd have the best Christmas programs
    at the church and the old country school;
the men would all stand in the back of the room,
    there was a shortage of chairs as a rule.

And remember how Grandma and Grandpa
    would bring only one gift for us all?
It was usually homemade and practical
    .....back then, grandparents didn't buy out the mall!

And that good old Christmas music
    didn't come from no stereo set;
just dad on his fiddle, we'd all join in;
    it still is the best music yet.

Speaking of dad, he'd get out the Bible
    and read us that old Christmas story;
it wasn't about Santa or elves or a sleigh
    but it sure filled our hearts with joy.

See, I remember an "old fashioned Christmas"
    like those signs read all over that mall.
I will bet you'll agree, after listenin' to me
    that the "old fashioned" kinds best of all!

© 2000, Yvonne Hollenbeck
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written

The Annual Christmas Program 

Some folks like a Broadway Musical, while some the Boston Pops;
    still others go to Nashville and to them it is the tops.
But one thing I'll assure you that's much better as a rule;
      it's the annual Christmas program at a one-room country school!

They haul out all the little desks and put 'em in a shed;
    a stage is made with curtains sewn from sheets off teacher's bed.
The kids make all the trimmin's for the school, and for the tree;
    and display their finest art work for everyone to see.

And every kid has learned their parts, they've worked for many days
    a-memorizin' words and lines to poems and songs and plays.
Of course, they're not professionals like those in Broadway hits,
      but you'll find no better actin' than in all their little skits.

Then usually, when the program's done, old Santa makes a show;
    he's sometimes just a "look-a-like" and someone you should know.
The kids will all exchange their gifts.....of course, the homemade kind;
    those gifts don't cost no money, but no one seems to mind.

And then, to top the evening off, we all get quite a treat:
    "homemade Christmas cookies" that the moms have brought to eat.
So this year if you're wonderin' how to celebrate the Yule,
    just try the annual Christmas program at a one-room country school!

© 2001, Yvonne Hollenbeck 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



Halloween Headlines

She had worked all day repairing pasture fence the calves tore down
when she noticed it was getting late and she must go to town;

the stores would soon be closing and there were several things they'd need
to get them through the next few days, like groceries, salt and feed.

The fall work's always heavy, with rounding-up and weaning;
so unexpected torn-down fence gives "work" an extra meaning.

And when you are so busy, you sometimes fail to see
what day it is, or check the time, or where you need to be.

She'd been outside since daylight, with no time to comb her hair;
and the Carharts that she wore for work received a brand-new tear.

They were stained with grease and oil from the tractor that she drove,
and some burn holes on the sleeves from the branding-iron stove.

She always wore her Carharts when she had to help the men,
so there's bloodstains and manure from the cattle working pen.

She headed into town to get supplies, then hurried back,
unloaded all the feed and salt and every grocery sack.

The next day wasn't near so bad, until the paper came;
the first thing that she noticed was her picture and her name.

Right there on the front page of the local town's Gazette
was the headlines and the picture that she never will forget.
It was of her and her straggly hair and dirty old Carharts
putting sacks into her truck from loaded grocery carts.

The title 'neath the photo of this awful shocking scene
was:  "The Annual Costume Winner!" ...yesterday was Halloween.

© 2005, Yvonne Hollenbeck 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Tributes to Kyle Evans

Roundup Day

There were lots of tears and sadness in Cowboy-land that day
when we heard the tragic news that  Kyle passed away.
There's a voice now stilled forever that we all had grown to love,
now he's singing at the campfire with the cowboys up above.
I can see 'em now all gathered at the wagon by the fire
where the grass is green and lush, with no sign of post or wire.
I'll bet those guys are happy to hear him sing his songs;
it must be some reunion..seems the best ones have gone on
like his buddy, Harold Heinert; and his hero, Casey Tibbs
(Dakota's greatest cowboy we've all idolized since kids);
Doug Hansen and Jack Hunter, and C. L. Johnson too;
why, the cowboys who are gathered were the rodeo's "Who's Who"!
Erv Korkow came to greet him and James Sutton was along;
he got to meet Vern Whitaker, who he'd eulogized in song.
Dale Barber and Wayne Cornish, two guys who'd paid their dues,
and young ones like Jade Mortenson were gathered up there too.
When the Lord calls home a cowboy, he must pick the very best
'cause Terri Sutton Melvin sure would put 'em all to test;
and Gabby Moon was there along with other folks I knew,
Gene Madison and Harley Roth...Bat Ridley was there too.
You can bet when he is singing with 'em gathered at the fire
he is joined there in harmony with his friend, T. Texas Tyler;
and "Little Tin Horn Hank" will be sitting by his side
as will many other cowboys who have made their final ride.
When I heard that he had left us and I bowed my head and cried
it was like the world stopped turning and as if the music died.
Then I realized the Lord had only loaned him in way
and he had to call him home to sing at Heaven's Roundup Day.
Just to think of all these cowboys, I cannot help by yearn
for the day when more are called up there and it will be my turn;
and I hope that I am worthy and my sins are washed away
and I'll join 'em at the campfire on that final roundup day.

© 2001, Yvonne Hollenbeck and Jim Thompson, July 8, 2001, In Memory of Kyle Evans

(and as a post script, the following two verses were added April 11, 2002):

And just when we were thinking that the best ones had gone on,
the Lord called T.C. Holloway to join that special throng;
then sent Mikayla Norton, as precious as could be,
and you can bet she's proudly sittin' there on Kyle's knee.
And even though we miss them so, we must not question why
the Big Boss called them up to that great roundup in the sky.
It looks like all the best hands have gone on to pave the way
in hopes that we will join them on that final Roundup Day.

© 2002, Yvonne Hollenbeck 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written


Yvonne Hollenbeck comments: "Roundup Day" was used by Jim Thompson (rodeo announcer and popular radio show host) in the eulogy at Kyle's funeral.  It has been used a lot since, and I added the last two verses to included bronc rider, T.C. Holloway, and Mylayla Norton, (the little 2 1/2 year old daughter of World Champion Bull Fighter, Jerry Norton.  This poem includes a lot of rodeo greats that have gone on.


Where the Sweetest Grasses Grow
(A tribute to Kyle Evans)

There's a special place in heaven
where the sweetest grasses grow;
where the cowboys all are gathered
and he's with them there, I know.
It must be quite a roundup
as they gather in the strays,
but down here there's lots of sadness
since our friend has gone away.
A voice that sang sweet melodies
is now forever still,
and all of us sure miss him,
but it was the Masters will.
He was always on the roundups
and was with the wagon train,
but he's riding now in heaven
and down here it's not the same.
He was never known a quitter
and was never short of try
and he answered every calling
with the will of do or die.
But it was his songs of horses
and the wide Dakota plains
that will always be remembered
and we'll miss those sweet refrains.
He sang of lonesome cowboys,
of a love that had gone wrong;
and he honored Vern and Casey,
...wrote 'em each a special song.
He sang "Driftwood On A River"
and did gospel songs, of course;
but everybody's favorite was
"In Heaven On A Horse."
He's now In Heaven On A Horse,
where the clear spring waters flow;
pro'bly resting in the saddle
as soft breezes gently blow.
But we'll keep the campfire burning
'till it's time for us to go
to be part of heaven's roundup
where the sweetest grasses grow.


© 2001, Yvonne Hollenbeck July 5, 2001, In Memory of Kyle Evans
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written

Yvonne Hollenbeck comments: "Where The Sweetest Grasses Grow" includes words and titles from several of Kyle's original cowboy songs.  This poem was used by Chris LeDoux in a tribute to Kyle the night before his funeral; and by Red Steagall on his weekly radio show "Cowboy Corner" that he dedicated to Kyle's memory."

There's a fine Kyle Evans web site here and there is an additional poem to his memory here at the BAR-D.

Our Hero

The world is full of heroes, and they sure deserve the fame,
and we never should forget them and should revere their names,

like the cowboys and frontiersmen who helped to tame the West,
and the father of our country who put them all to test.

There are chiefs like Gall and Red Cloud . . . other leaders of the Sioux;
and we never should forget them for all they tried to do.

Well, our hometown has its heroes too of whom we should be proud.
A lot of them are just plain folks, not imperious or loud.

Take those firemen who saved our town a couple years ago,
and all those folks who risk their lives to help in cold and snow,

like EMT's and road crews and law enforcement too.
Those types of folks deserve respect for all the good they do.

There's heroes from the rodeo, like J.D., Lynn and Sean,
and sadly, those whose names are found there on the Court House lawn.

They went to serve our country and they paid the highest price
so we could live in freedom . . . and what a sacrifice.

But, to me another hero is a fellow we all know,
and I really have my doubts that he has ever had a foe.

He too donned a service uniform and served his country well,
came back home and settled down in Norfolk for a spell.

But we received a blessing when he made Valentine his home.
The folks there just adore him and are proud he is their own.

He's been the “Voice of the Sandhills” and all the Rosebud too,
and we all are benefactors of the kindly deeds he'd do.

Always one to volunteer to help someone in need.
“Love your neighbor as yourself,” has always been his creed.

To everyone who knows him, he's a neighbor and a friend.
If the world had more folks like him it'd not be in the shape it's in!

So, let's all give him a great big hand, and with your voices raisin'
and give a great salute to our hero, Wally Bazyn!

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


Wally on December 1, 2007

Well-loved Nebraska musician Wally Bazyn was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor in January, 2008. In January, Yvonne told us that "Wally not only performs (GREAT!) but runs the best jam session ever, each night following the evening performance at Old West Days in Valentine. Everyone who has ever attended knows Wally and loves him... He's the dearest, sweetest man ever." Yvonne performed the poem at a special event on December 17th.

You can write to Wally and his family at: 547 North Howe, Valentine, Nebraska, 69201.



This is page 2.

See more of Yvonne Hollenbeck's poems, her bio, publications and recordings on Page 1.






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