Featured at the Bar-D Ranch

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Harry Hanson


 Harry Hanson on his 94th birthday in 2008


Yvonne has written about her father, Harry Hanson, of Gordon, Nebraska, a many-times National Champion Old Time Fiddler

Harry Hanson's music is featured on Yvonne Hollenbeck's CD, My Home on the Range, which was named the Academy of Western Artists' Best Poetry CD in 2003. She wrote at the time:


He's won over 200 first place trophies at contests in the past and won the National Championship at Weiser, Idaho, in 1967.  He was born in a sod house in a Norwegian settlement in northern South Dakota (real near the North Dakota border) where he was raised.  He started playing for house dances when he was 7 years old and would stand on a chair because he was so small, and from what I was told many times by older relatives and neighbors, was as good or better than any of the men fiddlers.  He's the kindest, sweetest person the sun ever shown on and we have had a lifetime of fun together.  He taught me to chord with him when I was little (he says I was 4) and we've spent many hours making music together.


We asked her to share more for Father's Day, 2011. Below are poems and family photos.


Harry Hanson taking Yvonne to school



The Things He Never Had

What makes me think Iím blessed to have the worldís finest dad?
Itís not by fame and fortune, itís the things he never had.

His boyhood home, one made of sod, was dingy, drab and cold
but the love inside was finer than a mansion made of gold.

The school known as ďHard Knocks,Ē was his form of education;
a degree in "Great Depression" followed 8th grade graduation.

Perhaps these things he didnít have were what shaped him to be
the finest father God above could ever give to me.

Heís never had a temper, hardly ever been upset;
if he ever had an enemy, no one has met him yet.

He is one to tell a joke, but Iíve rarely heard him swear;
and never did play favorites, treating everybody fair.

Thereís one thing that he does have though, thatís not to be outdone,
itís talent on a fiddle, proved by trophies that heís won.

He never won a lottery and has earned his every cent,
yet has given more to others than he has ever spent.

I could go on forever telling things heís never had
like a frowning face, an attitude, or habits that are bad.

I have never heard him grumble, and never known or seen
him criticize his neighbor, or say things that are mean.

Yes, Iíve been blessed beyond compare, because he is my dad
and know itís mostly due to all the things he never had.

© 2011, Yvonne Hollenbeck
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's permission.


The Fiddler

In the fall of 1997, I was asked to entertain at a cowboy poetry gathering at Devils Tower. I took my dad with me to help entertain the folks. I wrote this poem to introduce him:

There's been lots of stories 'bout days long ago,
of cowboys and roundups and such;
and one thing we've learned from those stories of old
is folks then were rugged and tough.

We know that the life on those big cattle drives
was hard on those men on the trail;
but they ended each day in their own special way
with good entertainment, they'd tell.

They claim they would gather 'round the campfire
as some cowboy strummed a guitar;
they'd sing songs of women and horses and wars
and fights they had won in a bar.

But the best entertainment them cowboys would get
was when one to the wagon would fetch
a fiddle and bow, and every boot toe
would start tapping, and 'twas a sure bet

that you'd hear lots of hoe-downs and waltzes and songs
that would take their minds back to their home;
some guys would get up and jig 'round the fire
while others would sit all alone

just remembering the time when a pretty young gal
was a-dancin' with him way back home,
while a fiddler played all those tunes of the day
as they danced to the Strawberry Roan.

So I brought this here fiddler for you folks to hear
some songs that came up on the trail.
It's a story that no one can write in a poem
and no writer of stories can tell.


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




This is how we spent our time back when we didn't have television, back in the early 1950s:


Yvonne writes: My sister, Marilyn, is on the accordion, and our father, Harry, is on the fiddle. The little girl by Harry is me (Yvonne); the one hunched down in braids, my sister Carol; and the one in curls is my cousin, Kathy. 

Below, my father with one of his many trophies in 1967:




Above is a photo of Yvonne and her father from 2003. At the time, she wrote it was taken "...10 years ago on Mother's Day (hence, the blooming lilacs in the background). He hasn't aged a bit since then, but I certainly have. He will be 90 on August 23, 2004 and stands up straight (he's a little over 6'), doesn't have an once of fat on his body, and his fingers are as nimble as a youngster's. He still plays that fiddle so well and as the cowboy poet and musical entertainer, Howard Parker says: 'Harry Hanson has the keenest knowledge of old-time tunes of anyone I know. If you want to know how a tune goes, he knows it and knows it right.'"




The Hansons, 1954: Yvonne, Mary Lou, Harry, Ruth, Marilyn and Carol





Above is a photo of the late Ruth Hanson and Harry Hanson, pictured on their honeymoon. The Hansons were married for 72 years. 


Find additional Father's Day poems and featured fathers here.



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





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