By Millicent Kellogg, St Patrick’s Day, 2014
Shannon died yesterday…
Nothing stings more than saying that.
He was the Irishman everybody knew as
The Morgan Hill/Irish part of the world.
He was six feet seven, tattoos all over,
And a laugh you could hear in Salinas
On a windless day – and that was
Only the start of his being present.
He could fell a tree two inches to the
Right if you wanted, or ﬁve feet to the
Left if you changed your mind midway.
And he always grinned in appreciation……
Turning modestly to accept your applause.
The heaviest stumps were rolled on the truck
By arms as big as the tree’s own boughs.
Moe, his dinky dog, barked large from the cab.
We expected to have him near the rest of our lives.
We needed him so much, to help with the heavy,
To clear out the debris of the world,
To laugh at the funny, most often his own funny.
He could start the chain saw with one pull
Sink a fence post that never moved again
Stride across the pasture like it was his oasis,
Leaving an image behind like a colored shadow.
He and his motorcycle roared together,
A powerful proclamation that life was good.
And they died together. That seemed right, perhaps
No lingering, no helpless gestures, no pain or regret.
Top of the World, Shannon O’Keefe.
No one like you – the angels are going to freak.
You are Irish Now and Forever. We miss you terribly.
Laugh out loud daily, dear heart. We will hear you.