Sunday, November 20, 2011

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

Keepin’ it thankful

 By Julie Carter

Pumpkins have lost their toothy grins in recent weeks and are now joined by turkeys, pilgrims holding platters of food and cornucopias spilling over with vegetable bounty.

If there is any doubt which season is headed your way, the commercialism of it will quickly bring it to your recollection. 

No sooner did the garden supplies take the back row at the Big Box stores, the red and green sparkles of Christmas were front and center. It was August.

Christmas music in October elicited from me a growl and a sarcastic “hold off Fat Boy, the turkey has his day first” blurted to a Santa cutout at the mall.

Cowboys are all about strays. They round them up, rope, brand and doctor them, and in some mirrored reflection of the universe, you could say they become one and the same.

The dictionary defines a stray as a domestic animal wandering at large, homeless and without an owner. That pretty much sums up the cowboy with the only question mark landing on the “domestic.” 

The Thanksgiving holiday in my world is often a gathering of strays. The once solidly grounded-in-family-tradition celebration has migrated to a collection of eclectic folk all hoping to spend the day with friends and hope it involves food, conversation, and of course, football.

Let’s face it folks. The world has spun fast enough to scatter families to the wind and put hundreds and sometimes thousands of miles between their table and yours.

Easy travel, corporate employment and the lure of metropolitan paychecks have whisked away the kinfolk from their rural roots to suburbia. There they thrive with two and a half kids, a poofed and pedigreed dog, a boat at the back of the driveway and a feng shui backyard.

Buck Owens had a hit song in the late ’60s with the lyrics “There’s always a party at Sam’s Place, that’s where the gang all hangs around.” Thanksgiving in this modern world often resembles Sam’s Place.

Quite possibly some version of Hootchy-Kootchy Hattie from Cincinnati or Shimmy-Shakin’ Tina who hails from Pasadena will be there.  Also in attendance at the turkey carving will be the crazy uncle, the class clown, the smart kids, a rodeo drifter or two and a couple of team roping partners who haven’t yet found anyone else to rope with them or to invite them to dinner.

At a cowboy Thanksgiving dinner, it is expected that you’ll bring along your horse and spend some time roping to finish out the day. In the late afternoon sun, everyone will waddle down to the arena, moaning deliriously over the mental and physical memory of a magnificent meal.

When I begin to recall the things for which I’m thankful, first on the list is life and the chance to experience joy and laughter. I have been blessed with an abundance of both. The gathering of strays reminds me that it is often the most unique people that influence our lives and make life interesting.

Whether you spend Thanksgiving with Mom, Pop and the cousins or quietly with the remote control, a bag of Fritos and bean dip, my wish for you is that it is a joyful day full of grateful reflections.

Happy Thanksgiving from all the strays at “Sam’s Place” and from my home to yours.

Julie can be reached for comment at jcarternm@gmail.com


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