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Wednesday, 1 March 2017

COWBOY is a VERB, Alpine, Texas, Part 2 . . . and POPOVERS

“Howdy! Let’s Get Started!” was the first session, and Amy Auker who cowboys in Arizona warmed us up with a tender poem about a cow and a calf.  Love turned out to be the main theme of the two-day Cowboy Poetry Gathering.  Love of family, love of the cowboy way of life, love of country, love of the land, love of horses . . .  love of one’s pickup truck.

Mike Blakely introduced the other key note when he told us a story about his father.  When asked for the secret of success in his 60 year marriage, Mike’s father replied, “I don’t try to run her life . . . and I don’t try to run mine.”

Twelve different sessions were scheduled for each hour! We didn't know any of the performers so we were trying to choose between titles like "Snake Bit & Saddle Sore" and "If This Hat Could Talk" or "Swift Justice".
The first CD I bought was by Caitlyn Taussig who cowboys in Kremmling, Colorado.  She’s a beautiful young woman who went to university but couldn’t wait to get back to ranching.  Some of her songs are murder ballads!

A session called “My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys” featured Doug Figgs, a farrier and songwriter who incorporates Spanish into his lyrics.   His grandson, at 10 years of age, has already won a couple of buckles at rodeos and enough money to buy a horse. 

Kevin Davis, singer-songwriter as well as firefighter and rodeo cowboy, wore a turquoise bead necklace and the white shirt below.  His song about a man and his son put a lump in my throat and I saw two men wiping their eyes. 

Sally Bates, a witty poet-singer, prefers to read her poems rather than recite them from memory, citing an old friend: “It took me 60 years to get these words from my head to paper so I’m in no rush to put them back again.”  Her dad was a 'cow-boss' and later a 'jigger-boss'.  One of her poems was about sitting at a kitchen table "When Daddy and Uncle Dick would talk". 

Doris Daley from Alberta, Canada, imagined for us what it would be like to be a mother whose 15-year-old son dies on a cattle drive to Nebraska.

Jim Wilson (black vest), backed up by his friend Jim Jones, made us laugh with “As I walked out in the streets of Lajitas”, a song about the Snowbirds in Texas who mispronounce words and insist on riding ‘horsies’.
Red Steagall, with his powerful voice and stage presence, commands a lot of respect among his fellow artists.  He even performed at the White House for President Reagan. For its motto, the Sul Ross University has adopted the phrase "ride for the brand" from Steagall's poem, "The Brand".

Dan Roberts mentioned that he drove about 160 miles in a round trip to Terlingua that weekend to eat the queso at the Chile Pepper Cafe. I bought a CD by Dan Roberts who has written songs for Garth Brooks.  I loved the ghost song he co-wrote called “The Beaches of Cheyenne”. 

I wasn’t ready for the weekend to be over so quickly so I also bought a CD by Gail Steiger whose stories and sense of humor reminded me of my brother, Donald.  When he autographed it he said with a twinkle in his eye, "As the guys says, if you don't like it you can mail it back to me and I'll send you one that I don't like."

The final performance was on Saturday evening.  There was Mikki Daniel, so talented and pretty, but grey-haired Yvonne Hollenbeck won a standing ovation for a poem about a quilt and the American flag. 
The “Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering” was so much more than we expected.  Thank you to all the performers and the volunteers and organizers in Alpine, Texas.

I'd like to offer something in return so here is one of my favorite recipes.



2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp vegetable oil

·        Start oven preheating to very hot: 475 degrees.
·        Grease well 6 to 8 tin muffin cups or pyrex custard cups.
·         Beat together eggs, milk, flour, and salt with electric beater for 1 and ½ minutes. 
·        Add oil.  Beat 30 seconds.  DO NOT OVERBEAT!
·        Fill muffin cups ½ full. 
·        Bake 15 minutes.  Then reduce heat to 350 and continue baking 25 to 30 minutes, until browned and firm. 

·        Serve hot with butter and jam.  YUM!