Sunday, November 18, 2007

Gathering strays to Sam's Place
Cowgirl Sass And Savvy

By Julie Carter

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 de-fines a stray as a domestic animal wandering at large, homeless and without an owner. That pretty much sums up the cowboy with a question mark in the area of ³domestic.² Thanksgiving holiday in my world has become 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 doing something or nothing, whichever works.

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 and a feng shui backyard.

Buck Owens had a hit song in the late ¹60s with lyrics that said “There’s always a party at Sam’s Place, that’s where the gang all hangs around.” I’m headed to almost such a place this Thanksgiving.

While I don’t expect to find Hootchy-kootchy Hattie from Cincinnati or Shimmy-Shakin’ Tina who hails from Pasadena, I¹m pretty sure Sally the good ole girl from Stephenville will be there to keep things beautiful and blonde.

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.

In the cowboy world of roping and rodeo, all gatherings begin with some sort of timed event, usually a roping. At a cowboy Thanksgiving dinner, it is expected that you’ll bring along your horse and rope to finish out the day.

Dan, our favorite team roper hero, says that his family gatherings have always started this way. This works out well since his family is full of rodeo ropers of all ages, sizes and speeds.

However, this year the timed event was put on hold. Seems Granddad, who is in charge of the stock contracting, has, so far, only come up with one milk cow, a one-horned Hereford steer, a goat and two small donkeys.

Dan was mighty disappointed, as he has a brand new heel rope that he reports to be stiff enough to poke a cat out from under the trailer house. But with hope renewed, he’ll head on down to “Sam’s Place” and try this new nylon weapon out on a few unsuspecting Corrientes.

Thanksgiving will give many of us that opportunity in the true spirit of gratefulness for good friends and a bountiful table.

In the late afternoon sun, we will all waddle to the arena, moaning deliriously over the mental and physical memory of a magnificent meal.

If you can¹t be with the ones you love, love the ones you are with.

When I begin to recall the things for which I¹m thankful, first on the list is life and the chance to experience joy and laughter.

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

Happy Thanksgiving from all the strays down at Sam’s Place.

Visit Julie’s Web site at Let her book, Cowgirl Sass & Savvy, be the perfect Christmas gift for someone on your list!

No comments: