Country Gal by Vanita Blundell, Comanche County, Kansas Vanita Blundell.
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'Country Gal' column from The Western Star

by Vanita Blundell.

Country Gal - 2007

by Vanita (White) Blundell

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Please check the blog for the latest updates to Vanita's column if you don't see the column for the current week on this web page.

"Country Gal", The Western Star, December 26, 2007.

Another Christmas has come and gone and as we grow older Christmas is not the same as it was when we were young. My kids have said that Christmas just does not feel the same. Well, welcome to adulthood, that is the way it is. It is not a bad thing really; it is just a sign of growing up. I think that I fail to get the same enthusiasm as when they were little. This Christmas started out a little different and could have ended in disaster. As I got up and went to the kitchen to turn the coffee pot on and put the turkey in the oven - I needed the lid to my roaster. I went to open the door of the garage which is the kitchen door, as well, and there was a skunk- I yelled and he ran without spraying- thank goodness! I got Jim, and told him to do something I was not sure exactly what I wanted him to do, but something. He opened the garage door so the little visitor could leave on his own.

We had a nice Christmas, after I settled down a little. It was just the kids and us. It was our turn to have Jeff and Chelsea this year and it was really quiet, even though Jeff was here. Chelsea has been a wonderful addition to our family. I think that she is starting to get use to us. Jennifer’s husband, Giz, is certainly becoming one of us, as well. We are fortunate to have our kids close to home so that we can all get together; it makes for a nice Christmas. After we opened our presents and ate our lunch- we put a puzzle together as we always do - then we watched some new movies that were gifts. I have found that I do not follow movies that leave the realm of reality. I was so confused by the end of one movie that I had no idea what had happened. The kids laugh at me and point out that it must be a sign of getting older- I tell them that I am just too smart for the movie makers. So that is about all that we could do for this year. I hope that you all had a good Christmas.

This year we have had a few additions and sadly some subtractions to our family it makes me wonder what the New Year has in store for us. But ready or not here it comes.

"Country Gal", The Western Star, December 18, 2007.

I am proud to report that I have electricity this week. I am ashamed to say that it is extremely difficult for me to write without my computer, in fact, it is almost impossible. But I feel that I must say a huge thank you to our electric co-op. We had power out all over the county and they worked until we were up and running again. I asked one the crew how much sleep he had and he told me that he had four hours in 48 hours. I cannot imagine having a job that I would be my busiest in the worst conditions that Mother Nature has to offer and to top it off with little or no sleep. I think our power company CMS is the best around.

With Christmas right around the corner I want you to watch your family table manners. While I was in northern Kansas cooking for hunters, I noticed something that really bothers me. In camp there were only four hunters and two guides so I set the table just like my mom had taught me when I was a little girl. They did not sit at the table and pass the food, not even the salt and pepper. Each one got up from his chair and got the food that they wanted on their plate. The first night I thought maybe they were not sure what was going on, but by the third night they were not doing any better. It got me to thinking why this has happened and the only explanation I could come up with is buffets and restaurants. People do not eat at home as much as we used to and I think that we have lost something. As a child growing up some of my favorite memories was at the table. Mom always had good meals; we always had meat, vegetables, fruit and dessert at every meal or almost every meal. We raised sheep so it was not uncommon to have lamb or mutton or our own farmed raised chicken, beef or pork. The folks never made a big deal over what we were eating- We ate heart, other parts, and once in a while, we had liver and onions too. After I was older that was not one of my favorite meals. Mom made sure that there was something that we would eat. I can not remember any time that there was any trauma over what we ate or would not eat. We took what we liked- It seems to have worked out okay as there are very few things that I do not like. Dad always bragged on Moms cooking so if I did not take something dad would brag on it and make me feel like I must have really missed out on a delicacy, so I would make sure and try it the next time. Not only did we have our own meat we had eggs- and milk, too, which meant we had lots of fresh cream- and one of dads favorite menu items was gravy.

At the table was when we talked about our day- either what we did or what we were about to do. Mealtime was never the place where correction took place, unless it was on our table manners. In the morning at the breakfast table Mom would read the daily devotions and the daily scripture. The one rule that Dad had was that we were never to sing or hum at the table- but once in a while we would play some sort of a game at the end of the meal- I would want us to do something fun and long, especially if it was my turn to do the dishes. I wanted to put that chore off as long as possible.

One time I was at a friend’s house and meal time was when the dad would point out to each family member what they had done wrong that day. I can tell you that the meal that his wife had worked hard on did not set well, at all. It was an uncomfortable feeling and it made me feel bad for everyone concerned.

When you sit down at the family table the next time, watch and see if you can actually pass the food to each other and remember to enjoy the food but more importantly each other.


"Country Gal", The Western Star, December 4, 2007.

I went to cook for hunters again last week - this time I was in the small town of Herndon, Kansas. Herndon is found northwest part of our state. This is a tiny town that has a Co-op, Post office and a recently opened café. The people there were very friendly and I enjoyed the hunters, too. I was in a nice house with all of the modern conveniences. I even had access to a television but no cable or a satellite dish. So I watched or listened to the one channel that was available and remembered why I quit watching soaps and talk shows. Both of these shows drive me nuts. Actually, there are not a whole lot of differences between soaps and all of the drama found on Dr. Phil and Oprah. Most all of the problems are a product of something crazy people have done to themselves. People cannot figure why their kids have a weight problem when they eat take out- order a large pizza for each member of the family, keep candy in every candy dish in the house, refuse to tell their kids no when they want to eat something sweet in the middle of the night and the most exercise they get is running to the toilet and they wonder what the problem is. I have trouble understanding that people cannot figure out where the dilemma could possibly be. I know that I am carrying several extra pounds, but I can guarantee that I am not going on a talk show to ask why those pounds have “mysteriously” appeared. I can tell you exactly where they came from but I really do not think that you want to know or even care. Or how about the guy who beats his wife. The unhappy couple comes on the stage and she says to the world that she does not like getting the sap beat out of her by her ‘loving’ husband. The husband, who is always sorry that she made him angry enough to hit her head against the wall, can not understand why she wants to leave. The host thinks that maybe the wife might not to want to live with the husband anymore. Well, Duh! I mean really, who wants to live with someone who will smack them around whenever life does not suit them.

Of course there are the mother-in-law issues. I imagine every married couple could tell something about their in-laws. Some have wonderful relationships where others have the mother who can not let their grown children have a life of their own and make their own mistakes. Here again, I am not sure that I need to hear about all of the gut wrenching heartaches.

With these kinds of shows on, this is why I watch the old shows where all of life problems can be fixed in thirty minutes. Life is hard enough without trying to fix the rest of the world not that any of us can. We certainly have our own problems just like everyone else, but nothing worth involving the media. However, would like to know why we spread rumors that have no truth to them. I have been guilty of telling something that was not even close to the truth. I have been told that before you even think that something might be true, you should wait to hear the same story three times and not by the same person. Then maybe just maybe there might be a little tiny bit of truth to it. And if it is not nice maybe it should go no farther. I guess that would be if we lived in a perfect world and we all know that our world is not flawless.

"Country Gal", The Western Star, November 27, 2007.

Have you figured out what you are giving everyone on your Christmas list? I have received an early gift this year and I must say it is one of the most wonderful gifts that I have ever received. It was not extremely costly but it took a lot of time and thought, and I am not sure that I deserve that much effort.

I never had the opportunity to know my Dads mom, Elizabeth White, since she died ten years before I was born. From what I have heard from those who knew her, she was a very special woman. Dad held her in high regard and loved her dearly. My grandparents were not wealthy in terms of money, but they were rich in children and family. They had high moral standards and worked hard. If we can ever find anything that belonged to them it is very precious to any of the grandchildren. Granddad White burned down his home (well, not on purpose) is the reason that we do not have many items left to remember them by. (Granddad house is another story entirely) Many of the other grandkids knew Grandma White quite well- My cousin Sheryl and I would talk for hours about how much we would have liked to have known Grandma White and wondered if she would have liked us. We were pretty sure she would have as everyone else said she was a kind and loving person, after all she had six children and she was used to noise and tall tales and she loved them.

My cousin, Margaret Greene, is one of these people who can do anything. She can cook, sew, she is an artist, and a published author, she is intelligent and to top it off she is pretty. Anyway, she had a necklace that was Grandmas. As I said before Grandma did not have a lot of expensive jewelry and what she had was probably not valuable to anyone else, but to her. Given that Grandma has been gone for over 58 years there is not many things left that was hers. Margaret took the beads of Grandma’s necklace and made each one of the granddaughters a necklace. (Oh, did I forget to mention that she makes beautiful jewelry, too?) Each necklace was distinctive just like each of us are different. Some are shiny and others are plain- Some larger than another- some small and petite, but each necklace was just beautiful. She did not stop there she made each of us a card with a portrait of Grandma White that she had drawn and a touching note to tell us about Grandma. I can not tell you how much the necklace, card and note has meant to me. For once, I was almost speechless.

Since it is the Christmas season and you are stumped by what to give that special someone. Maybe you have something in your jewelry box or tool box that you could fix up for them. I have heard of people making picture frames out of barn wood of the family barn, just make sure that the barn is not in use anymore, and do not be ripping off any boards that just might be the support board of the whole barn, you could get hurt. There are so many things that can be done once you put your mind to it. It is fun to try to come up with something clever. Nothing is more meaningful than a gift from the heart.

Life is really tough at its best and when someone does something kind it makes life worth living.

"Country Gal", The Western Star, November 20, 2007.

I hope most of you are ahead of me for the Thanksgiving Day Dinner. I have not done a thing for Thanksgiving yet. There are some people, who know that they are going to have a large number of people to cook for and they start way early and get their pies made, the turkey cooked, boned, sliced and the broth in a container ready for the dressing and gravy in freezer just waiting to be finished up. My turkey is still at the store along with everything else. I just now made my list and figured out what I would like to fix this year. I do not know about you - but I think that either I have been busier than ever or I am even more disorganized than normal- It just seems that I am running all the time and I get one thing done and there are ten more things yet to do. I know that I am not any busier than many of you, I am not as organized.

I have an easier Thanksgiving this year .We always have the White cousins reunion on Thanksgiving- but there are those who are unable to attend this year so I do not have as many to cook for. And to make things even easier Myrna has offered to make several items and with the two of us it will be a lot of fun. One year I prepared a duck along with a turkey and a ham. My kids really like having the duck. Another time I bought a turducken. What is a turducken you might ask- it is just what it sounds like- it is a turkey with a duck inside and a chicken inside the duck. No wonder it died! I could go on but I won’t. As strange as it sounds the turducken was really tasty. I think that it was more of a conversation topic than anything. I always like to fix something a little different just to make people wonder. This year I brought home some elk meat, I am thinking that I might try to do something with it. That way if anyone would like to try elk this will be their chance.

Different parts of the country have different traditions for the holidays- well, I guess not just different areas but families have different traditions. I like to find out if there is some food of a new family member that they like to have and have it there for them. Sometimes this is not a good idea as when you think you have done it just right, the comment is made that it is ok-- but not like what Mom used to make. But that is the chance you take.

It is good to have family and friends- I am going to brag here just a little bit. I have the best family anyone could wish for and wonderful friends. For this I am so thankful. I know many of you feel the same way towards your own family and friends. Please remember to let them know how much they mean to you this holiday season.

"Country Gal", The Western Star, November 13, 2007.

Can you believe it is almost Thanksgiving? I am just getting over Independence Day. It seems that the stores buzz over Labor Day, Halloween, Veterans Day, and Thanksgiving and right in to Christmas. I do, however, love the animated toys. One of my favorites is the grandma reindeer sitting in a rocking chair - she sings ‘Grandma Got Ran Over by a Reindeer’ while actually rocking. My newest one is a caroling dog with a hat that resembles a spring with a bell on top and he sings a Christmas version of ‘Shout’. His ears flap while he sings- he is just precious. That was something that Dad just loved was toys that did some sort of action. Whether it is nursing puppies with a momma dog or a dancing hamster it was a delight to him. So I guess I have inherited that from him.

We are in the process of trying to find Christmas gifts for everyone on our list. Our list is not large but it does not take a long list to make you nervous. But the most fun is the shopping. I love to shop I can enjoy looking at almost anything. From farm tools to jewelry I am happy just to see what there is to be had. So that means that there is no place safe for Jim. He gets nervous anywhere I go- for fear of what I might bring home. I have brought home a live glass eyed colt, goats, calves, chickens, wallpaper, camo overalls, black powder guns, strange clothes, carpet, elk meat, just to name a few. There are so many things to see, but as Jim has tried to explain to me is that I do not need to bring all of them home.

When shopping with Jim it does not matter what I find he says, “I can make that,” or “you really do not like that, do you”, or “you can make that” or “That is made too flimsy I can not believe anyone in their right mind would buy something made that poorly”. All of those comments are well and good with the except of that he never has the time to make a solid wood bed frame, headboard and footboard with all kinds of fancy carvings or the solid wood table with the cowhide padded chairs. He swears that it would be no problem to make. Or picture frames that he says he can make it would not take that much time. The thing is, he can make all of those things except that there is no time for him to make them. That is one thing that I have not ever found was a box of extra time. Now that would be a hot seller- if only, we could just figure that one out.

"Country Gal", The Western Star, November 6, 2007.

"Country Gal", The Western Star, October 31, 2007.

Home remedies are something that has always been around. Each family has their own thing. My Grandma Cary liked to use menthol and camphor. But my dad’s family remedy was to use laxatives for everything that was wrong with you. It did not matter what ailed you, from headaches - upset stomach, sore muscles, fever, coughs, colds, flu, poor vision, the cure was always the same, a laxative- if it did not work, you did not use enough of it.

Lately, I have had some neck problems - it was a kink that would not go away. Not really a stiff neck but it was getting there. I have been whining around the house, especially in the mornings. It felt like I had something out of whack. I hate to go to the doctor so I have been putting ice on it, and making Jim rub out the kinks. I even considered Dad's method, but had not gotten that desperate. Now I have a remedy for my problem. I would not promote this particular method as I think that maybe the side effects may be worst than the disease. In fact - I am telling you this should not be tried at home- but this is what happened.

We gathered our calves this past week to send them to market. After we got the calves loaded on the truck we were going to work the heifers that we kept back. And since I had a couple of baby calves we would work them also. When we work calves my job is to catch the head and Jim pushes them down the alley and into the chute. Well, the heifers were too big and I am not as strong as I once was, if I could catch the head she kept lifting me off the ground while I was trying to pull the head catch down. So Jim and I traded jobs - he would catch the head and I would get the heifers in the chute. This was working great until one heifer decided that she was going to back up- that was not so bad as I had put a pipe behind her so she could not go too far back - but I was on top of the corrals and so how - I do not know how this happened - but she some how knocked my feet out from under me and I was falling backwards and my knees caught the pipe so I fell backwards with me on one side of the pipe and my knees and feet on the other side and a heifer that kept going backwards and forwards again and again.

When I hit the ground I first thought that maybe this was 'it' - but after seeing the heifers behind coming at me, I was sure that I was definitely still among the living and I was about to get in real trouble. The heifer did not, however, go over the pipe, for which I am very grateful. Every time she came back I kept kicking her forwards. Finally she went in the chute and I got up and dusted myself off and took inventory of all of me. I seemed to be alright. That night I had really bad muscle spasms in my neck and I took some pain relievers and went to bed. The next morning my neck was better and I now I feel much better.

So if you have a neck problem just fall off the top of corrals and land on the back your head and shoulders and you could possibly knock whatever is out, back in. This is not a perfect solution and again may not work every time but does anyone know how do you get rid of double vision?

"Country Gal", The Western Star, October 23, 2007.

We have done it yet again. The calves have been taken to the sale. This year I had problems getting in gear. With just getting back from cooking in New Mexico and being a year older than I was last year. I could not get as enthused as I usually am at this time of year. I would say more but our purple bracelets came in this week. We are to wear these bracelets and while wearing them we are not to complain about anything. If I do whine or complain I am to move the bracelet from wrist to wrist. The whole idea is to wear the bracelet on one wrist for twenty-one days in a row. This means that you are not whining or complaining for 3 weeks. I received mine on Sunday and I have very nearly worn mine out already and have blisters on my wrists from changing them. Not that I am complaining about it but I have decided that I am a whiner and not sure that there is a remedy for it. For the last few weeks I have a kink in my neck and it is so hard not to talk about it. If I do not tell anyone about it how am I going to get any sympathy? Enough about me.

While we were hauling cattle home I saw a turtle crossing the road. For some reason something in the back of my mind was telling me that we should catch it. Then I recalled the reason. When I went to school in Wilmore we had a principal, Mr. John Bouquet. He put on the most wonderful Halloween Carnival. It was the event of the year for the kids who went to school there. We worked for what seemed liked weeks to get ready for it. There was confetti to make - booths to build, prizes to order. We had a fish pond - dime toss - ball throw, grab bag, turtle races, and all other kinds to games to play. The grab bag was one of my favorites, as I got older I found out where all of the items came from. It came from students’ family that donated ‘white elephants’ to be wrapped up in newspaper and put on the grab bag booth. The other thing that I thought was so funny was the confetti - I can not remember how much a bag of confetti cost but it was worth every cent. This was at the time of beehive hair styles and if you would throw those tiny pieces of paper on one of those hair-dos the recipient may not get it all out until they went to the beauty parlor the next week. This was an activity that Dad and I shared and thoroughly enjoyed.

Vanita White, 4th grade, 
Wilmore Grade School, 1968-69 school year.

CLICK HERE to view the yearbook. One of my duties of being a Wilmore Grade School student was collecting turtles for the turtle races. We were to pick up the turtles we found along the road, not the water or snapping type of turtle, just the plain ‘old road’ turtle. I took this obligation very seriously. If we could not get enough turtles there would be no races and the Carnival might be ruined.

There was a costume parade - I think that it was called the ‘spook parade’. I was not ‘into’ the costumes, but were prizes, in each age division, for the scariest, (which horrified me), the most original, that left me out as I am only as original as what I have seen done before or something that you could purchase. We had spiders, monsters, princesses, pumpkins, black cats, everything else you could think of, even Mr. Bouquet dressed in costume. At the end of the evening there were door prize drawings. There were some large items to be won and everyone was in on the drawings. It was an exciting evening that everyone in the area looked forward to. Now as we all know nothing stays the same and the Halloween Carnival is a thing of the past- But aren’t we lucky to have it as a memory?

Also see:

The Wilmore, Kansas, School Attendance Center Yearbook, 1969

"Country Gal", The Western Star, October 16, 2007.

People are made up differently- I am not a postal person. I really do not know why -I have been the recipient of many thoughtful and kind letters and cards in the mail. But the thing that really annoys me is chain letters. I hate to be threatened and that is exactly how a chain letter affects me. I know there are the neat recipe chain letters and if you do not break it you will receive all kinds of different- delicious recipes. There were the ones where you were to send a dollar bill to the person at the top of the list and it was guaranteed that you would receive hundreds of dollars for your one dollar investment IF no one broke the chain.

Then there are the ones that would tell you that just by making twenty copies of the letter and mail it to twenty different people you were to have instantly good luck. If you were to break this chain you were doomed to all kinds of sadness and horrible luck. Why if you were to break the chain someone in your family might die. I have received two of these kinds of chain letters and the thing about them is that you do not know who sent it to you. The two that I received was when I was about 2 weeks from giving birth. I did not find any humor in the letters at all. Maybe some pregnant woman would find that entertaining, I was not one of them. In fact, I was upset and wondered where the letter came from. Since I have an awful time getting any letter to the mailbox sending chain letters are not one of the things that I do even if I could get it to the mail box.

Now that the internet has come along and I really enjoy getting e-mails. I have received many funny and thought provoking items, but the chain letters are worst than ever. Now not only are you threatened that if you do not send the letter on to twenty different people you are either a bad American- unfaithful Christian- your selfish- or just an around jerk. Insulting me is not the way to my heart but it seems to work on some people. I guess that I have had enough bad luck without getting a chain letter that they do not threaten me as much as they might to someone who has lived a more sheltered life.

The first one I got in the mail worried me a little- but after thinking about it and knowing that I had and all kinds of scary things happened before I ever received such a letter. I am, after all, the daughter of an accident prone farmer/rancher. My family could write a book on bad luck- here are just a couple- Never chase an egg-sucking dog in the barn - you might experience a great fall. Never grab a wire that is connected to the chicken house while riding on a horse bareback-you will having a shocking turn of events- I can tell you for sure both of these things are a painful experience whether you sent a chain letter or not.

"Country Gal", The Western Star, October 9, 2007.

Last week we had to say good-bye to my Aunt Alma Haas. She was the last of Dads sisters to leave this ol’ world. Aunt Alma had a hard life- but she was a fighter she had gone thru many hardships, which was not uncommon for those who grew up during the depression. When we had family reunions she was always on top of the game-, she was a great cook and always looked like a million bucks. She worked hard and she never broke a sweat- I could do the same thing and I would look like I had been drug thru a knothole. I never knew her secret. Alma had two children - one boy - Jim Huddleston and one daughter Liz Dean. The neat thing about having children is that you are never really gone. You leave a little bit of you behind when you go.

This past weekend Mom and I got to be a part of the city wide garage sale- this was due to Deanna and John Chenoweth. Deanna wanted to bring some things to sell from Texas, so she did all of the legwork to get in on the city wide sales. They brought some awesome stuff. Mother decided that since Deanna was selling some stuff that she would sell some of her things as well. We had a good time Saturday visiting with all of the shoppers. Everyone looking for a good deal- and we were willing to give them a bargain you could not refuse. Some were looking for that one certain item; others just seeing what was there. People are so much fun to watch. You can see sisters and friends shopping, it is a way for mothers and daughters to have a good time. Some of the men look like they would rather take a beating than be there, but they are smiling in the hopes that the torture will end soon. No telling what the women had to promise to get them to go and to carry all of their numerous treasures to the car, time after time. Of course, the car had to be parked several blocks away. You can tell the husbands that are not crazy about his wife’s purchases as they are muttering to themselves about where they are going to put this new acquisition. Some men are mumbling about having to build another shelf- Others are just softly sobbing and quietly praying that this will be their last trip to the car or if not maybe, they could be hit by an on-coming car and get them out of their misery.

When I go bargain hunting I love find pretty dishes, plates, bowls, etc… - Jim likes tools- Jennifer likes drinking glasses- Jeff is not a shopper, but he does prefer garage sales to auctions.

What is surprising is what sells- the things that you are certain will sell right off are the things that end up in the free pile and the things that you think are a waste of time to even set out are the first things to go. Life is funny that way.

"Country Gal", The Western Star, October 3, 2007.

Fall is in the air, I do believe. The air is getting crisp - fall means many things to different people. To some it is the football season, some people just feel better as the cooler weather starts to some it is the fear that the snow is just that much closer that they are going to have to work in. For me it is a mixture of feelings - but the best thing about fall I that loved growing up was ‘fall round-up’. I liked the ‘fall round-up’ more than the ‘spring round-up’ because in the spring we had to work the calves and pair them back up with their mothers. Fall round-up you gathered all of the cattle from every nook and cranny - every little gully and out of the brush - every cow, calf and bull must be brought in.

I can remember my first and only pair of chaps - it was getting close fall and we were at the Coldwater Sale Barn and a man was there selling tack and other assortments that a cowboy might need. I had never even thought that I would ever get a pair of chaps - but Dad thought it was time - maybe he thought that I might not get much taller and this pair would last me for many years to come. I was so excited to get them I could not to wear them. Dad knew that we would be going to Stewart Carthrae's and that the chaps would be beneficial for me.

Stewart and Marion lived near Aetna and Dad had helped them gather cattle for many years. The Friday night before we were to go, as usual, I could hardly sleep, but knew that I had better since we had to get up in the wee hours to make it to Carthraes by sunrise. I think it must have taken up at least 30 to 45 minutes to get there, if the roads were not muddy. Sometimes we would stop and pick-up Short Goebel - Short was fun to ride with, he was almost as ornery as Dad.

We would get to our appointed spot and unload our horses. The only worry I had was getting lost. Dad would give me a landmark to follow and told me to listen for the truck horn that would be honking to help lure the cows in - My landmark was Carthrae's TV antenna. It was very tall and you could see it from almost everywhere on the ranch. Dad would tell me to ‘push’ the cows toward the antenna and the sound of the horn and I would find everyone else, eventually. Dad would go one way - Short would go another and I would go somewhere in-between. Gathering cattle for Stewart was more of a challenge as he had brush that went up and down the river. Then to make things even more exciting was the fact that there was quick sand in the river, as well.

In the fall, the brush was filled with heavy dew in the early morning hours and when you would disturb it you would get soaked to the skin. So I thought since I had my new chaps I would hardly even notice the heavy dew - but that was not entirely true - my chaps were leather, of course, but they had the rough out and not smooth like Dad's. Because the rough was out I think that the leather just absorbed the water, instead of shedding it. It was still better than not having them as they protected my legs from the thorns and sharp limbs. Since I had the shorter horse Dad would send me in under the brush and trees to get the stubborn cows out. Some of the cows would let you ride right over the top of them and not budge, hoping that you would not see them. Once a cow gets in the brush and likes it there it is very difficult to get them out. Stewart tried many different ways to get the cows out of the brush, but that is another story entirely.

I was sad to hear that Marion passed away last week. I know her daughters and family are going to miss her terribly. But as we all know, we do not live forever and she has gone to a better place. For me heaven is no more than a beautiful valley with a ridge. The mornings are clear and still, the air is crisp - you can sit on top of a rim rock on your favorite, faithful pony. You look down and see the morning fog rise up out of the river bottoms and the cattle are grazing unconcerned, you watch as the deer come out of the river brush, you can hear nothing but nature waking up to face the day and the occasional calf cry for his mother and your horse is relaxed watching to sunrise with you - what more could you possibly want?

"Country Gal", The Western Star, September 25, 2007.

Elk Season is going strong in New Mexico- I made it to the camp with eight hunters, one spectator, and seven guides. Since this is archery season it is more difficult to get the elk. The guide tries to call the elk within 50 yards or less of the hunter. Some of the hunters can shoot up to 65 yards, but most of them would like the elk 30 yards or closer. If the hunter has not ever been around elk before it is a little overwhelming as the bull elk are in rut and they are bulging and screaming so when they come within 20 yards of the hunter sometimes he freezes and is unable to shoot the elk. But he has a great story to tell in camp. However, out of the eight hunters seven went proudly home with their elk and the other hunter had tales to tell of the ones that got away.

In camp we had two pharmacists, a dentist, a mechanic, a financial adviser, a tomato farmer, a deputy, a truck driver and a real estate broker. With all of the diverse ways to make a dollar we had plenty of interesting conversation. I can remember something that Rocky Stewart said ‘you learn more with your mouth shut than you do with your mouth open’. That is so true, one time in camp one of the hunters was talking about looking for sheds. I should have just kept quiet, but oh, no not me, I just had to put in my two cents and told them that Mom likes to look at different kinds of barns, as well. I had no more than said that than I knew that I had inserted my foot so far in my mouth I should have choked on it. They were talking about the antlers that the deer and elk shed every year.

I was so embarrassed but I have learned my lesson. I am trying to keep some of my opinions to myself but there are times when I just cannot keep it in. Such as when one of the guides was telling us that his wife was about to deliver their third baby and the other guides told him that the third baby did not count and he was not required to be there. Where do guys get that kind of information? I just had to give them my opinion and did my best to shame all of them. The expectant father went home the next morning. Jennifer and Jeff say that I have a passive aggressive personality so I am good at giving guilt.

While I was away Jennifer sold a puppy for me, so I have 6 down and 2 to go. Life over all is good.

"Country Gal", The Western Star, September 18, 2007.

The State Fair has come and gone by the time this article is published. I have fond memories of the State Fair. I still get excited just thinking about it. As a kid I liked the rides- except for the Old Mill- I was a fearful child and the dark tunnel with things jumping out at me was not what I thought was fun. My sister, however, thought it was wonderful. So much so that she spent her hard earned money to buy both of us a ticket. I think at the time it was either a quarter or fifty cents to ride- she insisted that it would be fun. I very cautiously got in the boat; I got to sit in the middle between Vickie and a complete stranger, which was terrifying in itself. After getting seated I prepared myself for what was lying ahead. I did what, all brave people do I shut my eyes and did not open them until the ride was completed. . When Vickie had realized that I had shut my eyes she was disgusted with me. Oh well, like that had not happened before. I worked hard sometimes to disgust her. However, I must admit that I did not see anything to scary.

I loved the carousal and the Scrambler. I could usually talk Mom into riding a couple of rides with me if they were not too wild.

The worst thing that I ever did to my family was that I wanted to ride the roller coaster and I wanted Vickie and Dad to ride with me. They half-heartedly agreed to ride with me. After all, Vickie had just tried to scare me to death in the Old Mill. So I figured she owed me. When we got in line Vickie and Dad tried to talk me out riding the death trap. I figured it would not be as scary as riding with Dad when he was after a cow in the pick-up. But then again why would I need to pay for a ride that I could get at home for nothing? Dad said that if I wanted to go up and down hills at a fast pace just ride with him the next time the sheep got out, he promised that it could be exciting. But nothing would have it; I had to ride the roller coast. The seats were made for two passengers not three but the carnie allowed the three of us in the seat- but before Dad could get seated and secured they started the ride- we started the slow uphill climb with Vickie franticly trying to get Dad the rest of the way in the roller coaster car, by the time we had rounded the curve Dad still had one leg hanging out and Vickie, being the dramatic one, was yelling for me to help hang on to dad as we were headed for the downhill slope, we were yelling and Vickie was pulling then we had a couple more turns and a couple more bumps. I am not sure if we ever got Dad all the way in the car. By the time the ride was over I thought it was great - but by the looks I got from Vickie and Dad, I did not have the nerve to ask to ride again. Vickie was wild eyed and Dad went to find some Pepto-Bismol. I did not think that I ever got Dad to ride a roller coaster again. Then several years ago I took my kids to the Fair. I thought I would take Jeff and Jennifer on the coaster of death that Vickie, Dad and I had ridden years before. Sure enough the very same ride was there. I learned my lesson I did not try to get the three of us in one car. I was telling the kids how much fun they were going to have. When the ride started Jeff was not impressed at all and all during the ride Jeff screamed ‘you lied, you lied, this is not fun’. I must admit I did not feel too good when it was over- but I did not want to kids know.

Now when I go to the fair I enjoy the exhibits and the animal barn and yes, the food. Where else can you get flowering onions, potato curls, salt water taffy, carmeled apples, chicken and noodles, and bierocs? No more roller coasters for me as I do not like to ‘toss my cookies’ in public. I like to see all the free stuff and the pig races. The next time I make it to the Fair; I think I will see if I can get a golf cart to ride around. This is just exactly how I keep my nice round figure- I certainly can not maintain it by walking and exercise.

"Country Gal", The Western Star, September 11, 2007.

I was sad to hear the news that Rocky Stewart's mother, Betty Stewart, had passed away. She had a long battle with cancer. Although I did not know Mrs. Stewart, personally, I knew that she must have been a wonderful woman since the daughter-in-laws said that they always felt to be part of the family- not just someone who her sons had married. Acceptance is so important to have a happy family. I went to funeral with friends and it was good to see Shelly and Brandi Stewart. Rock and Libby must be proud to have such beautiful and gracious daughters.

This past weekend was Football Homecoming. We had the King and Queen candidates and their attendants. It seems that everything pertaining to school events, I have tendency to compare them to my school years. As I said last week everything changes- Do you remember when one of the organizations sold the huge Mums? If memory serves me, you could buy them in red, white, or bronze. Bronze was my favorite. When I was living in Texas, at their homecomings they had the big Mums then if a boy liked a girl, (whether romantic, secret admirer, or as just friends) he would buy her a ribbon to add to her flower. The ribbon was in one of the school colors and was at least two inches wide and over twenty-four inches long. Some girls might have eight or more ribbons to add to her corsage. When I was in the lower grades I could not wait until I could either buy a mum or better yet receive one from that someone special.

The other day I was looking an annual from the 60’s and the girls had the long white gloves and the enormous evening gowns and the ‘beehive’ hair. They must have had to make the platforms for the Kings Court larger than they do now, just to hold those dresses and their hair. I am sure there were times when parents were relieved when their daughter was not chosen to be a candidate as the purchase of a dress would have been a hardship for them.

Homecoming, years ago, was later in the school year and the weather was usually cooler and sometimes downright icy out, those poor girls were so cold - I have been told that some of the girls had long johns on under their gowns to help keep them from freezing to death.

My senior year when we had our football homecoming, I was dating Jim and he was so beat-up and exhausted from the game. I was excited to go to the dance since I had a date and everything, but at the party he actually nodded off while we were dancing. The only thing that kept him awake was the throbbing pain from the beating he took during the game. I guess does not say much for my company, but he was really ready to go home and be left alone. And besides, the dance started so late and I had to be home by 11:00, and since he was so tired, we left before the dance was over and he got me home early- Which made my dad very happy. I have always thought we would have enjoyed the homecoming dance more if it would have been the following evening rather than directly after the game and it might have helped if we would have won.

Also see:

Graduates from Coldwater High School, 1892 - 1969

1955 Senior Class Photos, Coldwater, Kansas

"Country Gal", The Western Star, September 4, 2007.

Vanita White, 4th grade, 
Wilmore Grade School, 1968-69 school year.

CLICK HERE to view the yearbook. Another Labor Day has come and gone. This is the time of year that school should be starting instead of two or three weeks ago. I have mentioned before that school was not my favorite thing to do- but it did have its merits- such as recess - gym class- music - and lunch. I had a strong dislike for phonics - SRA readers- and nap time. As most of you know I went to school in Wilmore until the school closed in 1971.

I loved the playground at the school- there were two big trees that we found to be suitable for playing house in. We would pick weeds and make little brooms and we would clean out the bottom of the tree around the roots and make a playhouse there. We had found some left over coal and we used the coal for ‘gold‘. We would have our ‘husbands’ go out and get us some ‘money’ and the bad guys would rob them and we would spend the rest of the recess time chasing the robbers to get our ‘gold’ back. Now when I go back and look at the trees that we played in they do not look nearly as huge as I had remembered them and the roots that we sat on are not as big and wide as I had pictured in my mind. Of course, I am considerably larger now so I guess everything has a way of evening out.

We had music every year at Wilmore. I was annoyed when the Music teacher would teach us about time and notes and sometimes even about composers. I just liked to sing - but as I got older I realized how much I had learned. Mrs. Miller, Mr. Haynes, Mrs. Hosey, Mary Margaret Pierce, there is one more music teacher that I cannot recall, were our music teachers. But they had actually taught me something and it did not hurt one little bit. I can still remember the teacher with her pointer, pointing out notes on a board and she was showing us all about the different kind of notes and counting them.

I always liked P.E. class- we had two ropes that was attached to the ceiling of the gym and we took turns trying to climb to the very top. It scared me to death when I finally made it to what seemed like the top of the world. Almost everyone made it to the top at least once. I think, I was in fourth grade when we got the dreaded ‘peg board‘. The peg board was the worst thing. It had to have been inspired by the devil himself. It was a 2" x 12" board with large holes drilled in to it that was bolted to the wall. At the time, I thought that the board must have been 20 feet long. The idea was to climb to the top of the board by using a peg in each hand to climb the board. I do not think that I ever got past the first or second row of holes. It seemed to me that the first row of holes were, at least, five feet off the gym floor so I had to stand on my tippy toes to even get started. It was truly a terrifying experience. I always thought it was a ‘guy’ thing as the guys did not seem to have the problems with it as the girls did.

Then we had lunch time- Lunch at the Wilmore Grade School was great- Our last year there was the best- the other years were good, too, but the last year so extra special. Since there were only 17 students- we had home cooked meals- We had fried chicken- always homemade bread. I am sure that all of the schools had good food as well- but I always thought we had the best.

Now I am older - my school days are over, the Wilmore School is gone, I doubt that I can climb any rope and I do not mind taking a nap once in a while, but I still love music and I still like lunches. It seems that life is ever changing and the only thing that is consistent, in this ole’ life of ours is inconsistency.

Also see:

Schools in Wilmore, Comanche County, Kansas

TIGER 1953: The Wilmore School Yearbook, 1952-1953

TIGER: The Wilmore School Yearbook 1958 - 1959

The Wilmore, Kansas, School Attendance Center Yearbook, 1969

"Country Gal", The Western Star, August 28, 2007.

While wondering about what I was going to write about this week it got me to thinking about Labor Day and the all of the traffic on the roads. It is a common comment that farmers and women are bad drivers. When a farmer/rancher travels they are interested in the crops and livestock along the highways so they might weave a little or if they are really curious they will pull over and look at whatever it was that caught their eye. It does not make them bad drivers it just makes them aware of their surroundings.

Women are not necessarily bad drivers we just think about other things- we are thinking about what we will do when we get to our destination. That does not make us unsafe- just organized. Living in a small community we know our neighbors vehicles and we each other enough to know that even though we do not always use our blinkers- we know that the other person is turning to go home or into their pasture. We never honk unless there is something on fire or something is wrong with your vehicle (like maybe you forgot to untie rover from the bumper) or we honk passing by to say a friendly hello- If you honk at us trying to correct us while on the road we are libel to run into something or we will hit the brakes and if you are following too close you will rear-end us.

One of my huge pet-peeves are honkers- those people who think that they need to correct something I have done- what it does is - it makes me do something else even worse. Now this does this mean that I do not make some really big mistakes? Of course I do, but someone blowing their horn at me just makes me angry and causes me to have some really ugly thoughts- it does not make me a better driver just an angry driver- then there is road rage, I truly believe honkers are the source of all road rage.

I am certainly not a world traveler but have you noticed what people do while they are driving? While on the road I have met people who are putting on make-up, reading not only maps but books, some even work on the their upper body dance moves or they are using this time to do their upper body exercises. Now that everyone has cell phones I honestly believe that over 80% of drivers that you meet on the roads are talking on a cell phone. Have you ever tried to dial a phone while driving? Some even text while driving. That is why the lawmakers are wanting to make it illegal to use a cell phone while driving.

I recently heard a story that I will share with you - it is about a man, who we will call George, was going to work in the city that must travel on the interstate to get to work. Here it goes- One morning while on the interstate, George looked over to his left and there was a woman in a brand new Cadillac, doing 65 mph with her face up next to her rear view mirror putting on her eyeliner. He looked away for a couple seconds! And when he looked back she was halfway over in his lane, still working on that makeup. As a macho man, he does not scare easily. But she scared him so much; He dropped his electric shaver, which knocked the donut out of his other hand. In all the confusion of trying to straighten out the car, using his knees against the steering wheel, it knocked his cell phone away from his ear which fell into the coffee between his legs, splashed, and burned him, ruined the darned phone, soaked his trousers, and disconnected an important call.

Whether this is true or not I thought it was entertaining but after hearing this story I want you to be careful, please, when you are traveling-- you never know who you are going to meet out there on those roads.

"Country Gal", The Western Star, August 21, 2007.

There are two kinds of people in this world - those who sell and those who buy. I think that I must be a buyer as I am not a very good seller. My salesmanship leaves something to be desired. I am so glad that I do not have to find a buyer for my calves in the fall- I would probably end up giving them away. It seems that whenever livestock is in my corral it is not worth too much- but you take that very same animal and put it in someone else’s corral it automatically gains in value. I do not understand why. I am just not real comfortable in the selling field. I have learned this lesson in selling the pups. I want to find good homes for the little boogers. That is the most important thing to me. Jim has a little different outlook which is good, I think. There are some who absolutely thrive on promoting a product. I have found this out while looking on the internet at others who are selling their animals.

I could not believe my eyes when I found a site on designer dogs. You might be thinking, what is a designer dog? Well, I am glad you asked, a designer dog is a mutt. I thought to myself that whoever came up with that idea is a true salesman. When you have a dog and your neighbor has a dog and they have pups together- instead of wondering how you will get rid of the offspring- you decided how you are going to market them.

Labra-oodles were the first designer dog that I had heard of- They are a cross of Labrador Retriever and a Poodle - the advantage is that the offspring is suppose be hypo-allergenic the only thing is that they are not hypo-allergenic until the second generation, or at least, that is what I have been told. They are crossing almost everything with a Poodles- Cocker Spaniels- Yorkshire Terriers- Pomeranians- Pekinese - everything. They cross the bird dogs up with the coon hounds and the shepherds the up with the heelers and the Rottweilers with Labs. I know the argument is that when these are crossed up you get the best of both breeds, however it does not always work out that way.

One of the strangest crosses that I heard of was a Red Heeler and a Greyhound, which just sounds awful to me. I bet it can outrun a calf and it will heel the coyotes. But the clincher that just kills me is that these mongrels are selling them for more than the purebreds. Now don’t get me wrong some of the smartest dogs that I have had were mutts and I could not have loved them anymore. But that is my luck- I bought a diesel truck since I thought that it would be cheaper to run- then the diesel prices went up over the gasoline prices - Now I have purebred puppies and I could have sold them for more and faster if they were designer dogs aka mutts. Sometimes it just does not pay to get up in the morning.

"Country Gal", The Western Star, August 14, 2007.

Mom and I made it back home It is great to go to visit- I love Ruidoso it is cool in the summer and there are very few bugs, the shopping is fun and I have heard that there are a few horse races going on as well- Oh- yeah and my sister and brother-in-law and her family are there, too. No, really it is so much fun to be with the Wideners.

Mom and I made a huge circle. We left home Thursday and went to Pueblo to deliver a pup. We stopped at a farmers market and bought a box of peaches. We do not think that you can find a better peach than in Colorado. The new owner of the pup seemed to be happy- so then we traveled to Las Vegas, New Mexico. We spent the night and made it to Ruidoso early the next day.

Friday, Casey, Vickie’s second daughter, bought 2 tickets to the Fur Ball. She asked me to attend the function with her. It is a fund raiser for the humane society. It was a lot of fun and the food was wonderful. There was a silent auction and a regular auction. It was little different than the auctions that I normally attend. There were no bargains for example a gold necklace went for $1,300.00 and a painting went for $6,500.00. They were trying to raise money for a spay and neuter clinic.

On Saturday 6 of us girls got all dressed up and went to the Vickie Lawrence Show. It was called a two woman show- Vickie and Momma- She was entertaining and funny and a little bit naughty. Mom and I were talking about how beautiful the scenery was. The corn fields were tall and the Milo fields were heading out- the wheat ground had been tilled and getting ready to be replanted. There were the onion fields that had been just picked and you could smell them as you passed by them. There were workers out in the fields picking vegetables. They looked really hot- I mean, sweaty and miserable not ooooh-la-la.

Ruidoso has had more rain than normal so things looked better than it has in the past few years. The fire hazard was low, which is good for them, at this time of year. We left for home on Tuesday morning after thoroughly enjoying the Wideners - so we made a circle of over 1,500 miles and we were glad to see the ‘Welcome to Kansas’ road sign and even happier to see the Coldwater city limits.

So I think that the saying is right, "there’s no place like home."

"Country Gal", The Western Star, August 7, 2007.

While growing up in the country our television viewing was limited. We only received one station and on a very clear and still day we might have been able to view two stations and the regular one came clear- as- a -bell. Of course, we only had black and white. We did not get color TV until I was in Jr. High or High School. I have always liked TV even when it was hard to make out the features of the people as the screen was snowy. I can remember when I found out that Matt Dillon’s horse was a buckskin horse. Since I had only seen Gunsmoke in black and white I thought his horse was a grey. This was important to me as I always wanted a horse just like his. I watched the show with Dad and he would always point out what good horses they had. He would say just look at that good "horseflesh". I figured if that impressed him it was even more impressive to me. I loved Gunsmoke; I thought Miss Kitty was a wonderful woman. She was someone who I wanted to be like; it was until much, much later, after the show had been off the air for years that I realized that Miss Kitty was a harlot. I always thought that when other women did not approve of her, on the show it was because they were jealous of her- since she was beautiful, smart, and Matt’s girlfriend.

Not counting Gunsmoke, comedies were our favorite. Lucille Ball was one of the best- but Dick Van Dyke was good, too. We enjoyed My Three Sons, Beverly Hillbillies, Gilligan’s Island, it seemed that if it was not a western it was a comedy.

Then the variety shows started, Rowan Martin Laugh In, Jackie Gleason Show and later The Sonny and Cher Show. Our family’s favorite was "The Carol Burnett Show". She was sooo funny along with Harvey Korman, Vickie Lawrence and Tim Conway. No’ I did not forget Lyle Waggoner. Their sketches were original and I thought they were just great. My favorite characters were Eunice, Mrs. Wiggins, played by Carol, and when Tim Conway played the old man who was so slow. I loved to watch Harvey get tickled and broke character, it made the show seem like it was performed by real people with real emotions. Vickie was great as well in her roles - my favorite with her was ‘Mama’.

What has reminded of all of this is that I get to go to Ruidoso and see Vickie Lawrence. For Mothers Day, my sister, Vickie received tickets to see Vickie Lawrence, as she will be in Ruidoso, performing. My nieces bought me a ticket to go with them. So Saturday evening I will be enjoying life to the fullest.

I think what we watch as we grow up forms us in some way- I grew with comedies and westerns - Where the good guy always wins - It makes me wonder- the networks are mostly crime shows with death and destruction. I think we need more humor and less death.

"Country Gal", The Western Star, August 2, 2007.

I do not know about you but I think the more I know about the outside world- there are times when I would just like to go home and never leave. I call it the ostrich effect. You know, when you want to stick your head in the sand and let the world go by and hope that no one can see you. Since I have been in the process of selling my pups, I have encountered an entire different type of people. I have been around horse traders but some of these people would make the most unscrupulous individuals look like saints. Technology has come so far that when you put ads in some papers, those ads go on-line.

This is a good and bad situation. The good being, that the on-line ads has the potential of reaching many more people. The bad is that some people use the on-line ads to defraud the advertiser. I have received as many as seven different relay calls (normally used for the hearing impaired or those that are unable to speak) that were bogus and a couple of e-mails that were counterfeits. It has not been all bad as I have been in contact with several nice people. But I never imagined that someone in another country would see my ad and contact me for the sole purpose to swindle me. That whole concept is just overwhelming. I guess that I am more naïve than I thought. I did, however, catch on fairly quickly with the assistance of others who have been in the same situation. I wrote a friend who is all knowing of the internet and he gave me a site to look at. On that site, there were many people who had been taken with similar scams and warning others on what to look for. One doctor had been taken for over $200 thousand. So, I feel lucky that I received good advice and have not been taken, so far.

Do you remember when you were a kid and your folks ask you to do something that you did not want to do - so you come up with all kinds of devices to keep from doing the chore? I can remember sitting in the hot bathroom at harvest time after lunch to try to keep from doing the little dab of dishes that we had to do. I spent more time trying to keep from doing the dishes than the job actually took. Or when you were in school trying to keep from doing your homework, all the time and scheming you went through took more brainpower and time than the actual assignment.

If all of those people who work so hard to defraud others would put their efforts into honest labor they would be rich beyond their dreams or at least able to sleep well at night. My cousin gave me some wise words of wisdom- he said that he did not understand the 'thing' with money; you can work for all you want. The key word being ‘work’.

"Country Gal", The Western Star, July 24, 2007.

Can you believe that I have been out of high school for 30 years? I was having a little trouble believing it myself. Class reunions are great. It is nice to see what your classmates have done in the last 30 years. Our class has not moved all that far away. We go as far north as the Kansas/ Nebraska line and as far south as Houston, Texas area as far west as Ft. Collins Colorado and east, no one lives farther east than the Kansas/ Missouri line. However, we have three missing classmates that we cannot find- so we may be scattered more than we thought. Some classmates look almost the same and others I could not recognize. There are nine of us who live here in Comanche County - so- many hands makes light work. Tony Koehn smoked an assortment of meat for our lunch and he did a wonderful job. Marty Dillinger did all kinds of work to get us organized. The rest of us did what we could. We had 34 in our graduating class and we have not lost anyone to death that we know of. To my knowledge, we have not lost anyone from first grade on. That is really saying something.

I cannot believe all of the different occupations that my classmates have found for themselves. We have a Chief Financial Officer- Nurse-Cowboy- Assistant Vice President of a Savings and Loan- Teachers-Electronic Technician- Carpenter-Custodians-Food Service- Coca Cola employee- Gravel pit owner - Departmental Managers. I am very proud of our class’s accomplishments. I would say that if you need any of these services you would be hard pressed to find anyone any better than my classmates to do the job.

We talked about the jobs we did to raise money for the Senior Trip. Our class had to raise over $5,000.00 to go to California. We did all kinds of odd jobs and the boys worked really hard- chopping firewood- bucking bales- we all painted houses. We had a great time on the west coast. For the ones who have not been back for a few years the tour of the school was a little shocking. They had a hard time adjusting to the Green and Black and not an eagle in sight. Other than the color and mascot change, part of the grade school being torn down and a playground in its place, the school had not changed all that much.

"Country Gal", The Western Star, July 15, 2007.

As I was sitting at Bill Hoofer's funeral and heard what Mike Crowe had written about Bill- It brought back a flood of memories. I can remember going into Hoofer's Grocery Store and the sound that the wood floors made was unique to that particular store. We would get our shopping cart and when we got to the meat department, Mom would tell Bill or Ralph how much bacon and lunch meat she needed. I did not know that bacon came prepackage until I was in high school. I just loved to go behind the counter and watch them slice our bacon. I can remember seeing that big slab of bacon all covered with pepper, then they would slice the bacon however thick you wanted it. They would layer the bacon in-between papers and wrap it up in white butchers’ paper. If you wanted liverwurst they were very nice to always put each slice between papers so the slices would not stick together. I liked liverwurst and chopped ham. Dad liked bologna. Do you remember when we learned about shredded ham? I bet that was a nightmare for the guys, but I never heard them complain.

After we got our shopping done we would roll our cart to the counter- We ran a bill so either Bill or Ralph would write down everything that we had put in our cart. That must have been quite a chore but they never seemed to mind. As you were getting checked out they would put your groceries in a nice sturdy box- And the box would either sit on the counter, if you did not have a lot of groceries or it would sit on a lower counter that was at the end of the taller counter. The lower counter was just the right height to double as chair. I thought it was nice for them to provide a spot for husbands or old people to sit while they were waiting for their wives or mates to finish up the shopping. Since we usually got a box, they would tie string around the top of the box to help hold up the sides up. I can remember wondering if they ever would run out of string, as it looked like to me that it was sort of magical how it came out of the hole in the counter from an unknown source. It did not take much to amuse me. Since we ran a bill there I thought that it was really neat, once when we went to town I got away from Mom and went into Hoofers to get an ice cream bar - Ralph asked me if I was going to pay for my ice cream I told him to just put it on the bill, he asked me if mom said it was ok. I was shocked that he thought that I would have to ask Mom. Well, Ralph was right. I should have asked Mom. I learned then, that just because you put it on the bill does not mean that you do not have to pay for it.

As time went on the Hoofers moved with the times as it got to where they did not have to write down each article that you purchased as the new fangled cash register helped them out and saved them a lot of time. They moved across the street to the old Gambles Store which is now Dave’s Pizza Oven. They had more room and could sell more products- but somehow I missed the creaky wood floors. I know that the only thing that stays the same is that the world is ever changing. We are going to miss Bill Hoofer- but it is not too late to let Ralph Hoofer know how much we appreciated their store and their kindness.

Thanks, Ralph!

Also see:

Marion Francis Hoofer, "Frank" Hoofer was father of Asa F. Hoofer and paternal grandfather of William and Ralph Hoofer.

Asa Francis Hoofer, father of William and Ralph Hoofer.

Pvt. Ralph Hoofer To Diesel School, The Western Star, June 15, 1951.

"Country Gal", The Western Star, July 12, 2007.

Well it is the time of year that Grandchildren are spending time with their grandparents. I know I have talked to lots of people who talk about how much fun they had as children going to their grandparents place for the summer. I hope that the grandchildren know that spending time with their grandparents was just as wonderful for the grandparents as it was for them. I think that when kids who live in town that get to spend time on the farm is such a change from what they are used to. When you can go down to the creek and get your feet all gooey and get all dirty and then get hosed off with the garden hose. And getting dirty was not necessarily a bad thing. Making mud pies and learning that just because they are called pies you really do not eat them. Finding a nest of kittens or baby chickens and getting chased by the ole’ hen was always exciting. Gathering eggs was fun for the grandkids until they found a snake in the nest.

I can remember when Vickie would let her kids stay with us. Since I was 12 years old when Vickie had Sheila I had the opportunity to play with her while she vacationed with the folks. In view of the fact that she was the first niece and the first baby I had ever been around I thought she was the most wonderful and the most beautiful little girl God had ever created. There is something about the first one, it is not that you love them more than the other nieces and nephews they were just the first. If Vickie and Randy had not let the kids come for a visit I would have never gotten acquainted with them. Sometimes we got them during harvest. You might think that was not a good time, but it was as it nice to have new life in the house. Vickie had Mike year and couple months after Sheila so we would get both of them at the same time. They were so special. I just could not wait for our time to come so we play with the little ones.

One year Mom and Dad had a garden and Mom went out to dig some potatoes and Mike informed her that his mother bought clean potatoes not dirty one like those. Mike was always the one who wanted to help with everything. He was a fun little guy to have around.

We wondered what Sheila would call the Mom and Dad as Randy’s parents lived close to Vickie and Randy and grandma and grandpa names were already taken. Kids have a way of telling the grandparents apart without any help from us. Dad thought Sheila was just wonderful and he really liked to tease her. So one day when she was very little and was just learning how to talk, she saw a picture of Dad she said, Oh! Ha ha Pa pa."

So for years Dad was Ha Ha Pa Pa. That really tickled Dad. It is amazing that she thought that- since she did spend time with us during harvest that she thought he was ha ha anything.

"Country Gal", The Western Star, July 4, 2007.

When I was growing up it was a goal at our house to have the wheat cut by the 4th of July. If we were not done Mom was not in the mood to go town. It was real hard for her when people would ask if we were done with harvest. Dad’s mood was not perky to say the least. I can not imagine how he would have been this year- I am sure that would have been a lot of tears. I enjoyed harvest - riding the combine with Dad or sitting in the wheat truck and going into town to the elevator. If things went just right and harvest was over and Dad thought that he could afford it he would buy a few fireworks.

Oh, that was so exciting! Virgil showed me how to do the snakes and when I got older we blew up ant dens with firecrackers. We quickly learned that when you blow up ant dens to RUN away from the den as the ants that were air born would land in your hair and shirts, ants do bite and it hurts. Virgil was a great older brother: he taught me all kinds of important things like how to strategically place the firecracker so that it would make the biggest hole. After I married Jim, he showed me how to blow up gourds. The gourds are like little grenades. They were a lot of fun. The firecrackers now do not have the kick that they used to. That is probably because of all of the fingers, eyes, burn holes in legs, arms and other places - and the hearing capacity some people lost during this time of celebration.

This year will be different than in the past years. We usually stay at home - and go to Myrna Bumgarner’s but this 4th we have been invited to go to Sharon and celebrate with the Sharon folk as they are dedicating their city park. When I went over to Sharon during Christmas they had nice decorations in the park. For such a small town I was impressed that they had any thing at all. We will miss Myrna’s cookout as she is such a good hostess. She always makes sure her guests are well taken care of.

I wish you all a great, and safe 4th of July.

"Country Gal", The Western Star, June 26, 2007.

First of all, I would like to say that I was really sad to hear that Virginia Hadley is moving. I never spent much time with Virginia, but in some way I will miss her. I know that it is good to live close to your kids. I wish her well, and hope that Texas realizes what a great woman they have living in their midst.

I was looking at different things on E-Bay and for some strange reason I found paper dolls. Then I put Betsy McCall in the search box I had not thought of her for years. When that paper doll popped up it brought back a flood of memories. I was not aware that there was a Betsy McCall doll that was not paper, but there she was for sale. Even though I was quite a tomboy- Mom always tried to find some sort of maternal instincts in me. When we went to the Grandparents house to do the laundry and it was rainy out or too yucky to play outside- Mom and Grandma would pull out the McCall’s magazine. When I asked if there was something I could do Mom would show me the Betsy McCall paper doll that came in each issue. I remember that I tried to cut her out just right but I seemed to have a little difficulty and usually cut something vital off. If it was not something on the doll - it was the tab on the dress then it would not stay on Betsy. Now I wished that I had kept some of them. I am not sure that McCall’s magazine is still being published. Grandma received all kinds of magazines - She even ordered ‘True Confessions’ but it did not take long before she stopped that periodical. If she would have lived long enough to see ‘Birds in Bloom’ or the ‘Country’ or the ‘Farm and Ranch’ she would have just loved them. I remember seeing the ‘LOOK’ and ‘Life’ I did not ever look at them often, since I was only about 4 it did not hold my attention for very long.

Grandma received ‘The Cappers Weekly’ and somehow she bought a lifetime subscription to it and she received it for many years. Even after she had died she was still getting it even though Mom had tried to stop it- they just kept sending it. I think that it is a Kansas paper and I know that it is still in publication as Mom still receiving it (her own subscription). Dad got a subscription to the ‘The Horseman’ and Bud Liggenstoffer gave me a subscription to ‘The Western Horseman’. But my favorite paper to get in the mail was the comics- I just love all of those funnies- I read my first soap opera - ‘Brenda Starr’- and ‘Rex Morgan’- I never did get ‘Gasoline Alley’ or ‘Lil’ Abner’. ‘Peanuts’ were always a preferred along with ‘Nancy’ - ‘Dennis the Menace’ and ‘Hi and Lois’. As I got older I enjoyed the ‘Lockhorns’ and they added ‘Baby Blues’ and ‘Zits’. I do not think that people enjoy the comics like they used to. When the paper came every day we would always read the comics and Ann Landers. And, of course, we would check over the obituaries. With the internet and everything else that we spend our time on, I just wonder if somewhere along the way, that maybe we have lost a little something.

"Country Gal", The Western Star, June 20, 2007.

It is harvest time once again. Harvest at our house was not always a happy time. With the repairs, the weather and the long hours sometimes attitudes were a little testy. Mom was nervous for Dad, as it seemed that we were always going to Pratt, or Harper for repairs. Mom and I would go for dad from time to time- that rarely seemed to work out as the parts man would tell us- "this repair that you brought is obsolete- but do not be distressed- we have an adapter that your husband can add on. All you have to do ( you know you are in trouble when they start with "all you have to do") is to drill two little holes and here are the screws for that and then add this new part to it. I know it looks like it will not work but when your husband sees this he will know exactly what to do." That was exactly what I was afraid of, he knew what to do all right- one look at the adapter- then he got the look- this was not pleasant- he would start out trying to use the adapter and then sometimes the adapter would end up in the strangest places. But normally - he would just yell a lot.

Sometimes I would get to go with Dad, but it was not a fun trip. We would visit and laugh a little but there was an underlying of urgency. Once Dad had gone to Bucklin to get repairs, the parking lot was on a slope- somehow the pick-up had gotten out of gear and rolled down the parking lot across the highway and hit a road sign and knocked it down. He came barreling out of the store to see that his vehicle was not where he had left it. This was the time of year that Dad did not stop and talk for a long time, he was in a big hurry this particular time as the weather was building and he needed to get back in the field as soon as possible. Just as he found his pick-up some man came up to him and inquired if he was indeed the owner of the truck- He said yes and the man told him he was under "citizens arrest".

Dad thought he was kidding, but then found out that the man was very serious. They had called the sheriff and the sheriff said that since this was a state highway they would have to call the highway patrol. The highway patrolman was a ways off but said that he would be there to see what he could do about this criminal that had been apprehended. So Dad had to wait with the sheriff for 2hours until the patrolman got there. When the patrolman saw what had happened and that it was an accident he told Dad that he was sorry for the inconvenience, and that these things happen all the time and not to worry about it. He did not have to pay for the sign- but it cost him the whole afternoon. By the time he got home he was a little on edge. I think if Dad ever saw the man who put him under "citizens arrest" he might have had to arrest him again only it would have been a different charge.

"Country Gal", The Western Star, June 5, 2007.

The puppies are here --- puppies are here!! I would like to announce that Senor Jake Pedroza and Sadie Mae XVI (Josie) are the proud parents of 8 little black bundles of wiggles and yelps four girls and four boys. They arrived May 31, starting at 3:00 a.m. and lasted until 1:30 p.m. This is my first real experience with puppies. It is so different from cows but not a lot different from pigs. I never paid much attention to the pigs process, when we had them, so I was a nervous wreck. But Josie was a trooper- luckily she knew just what to do. She was so calm and tended to business- The only thing is and I still do not know how you know when a dog is finished having her pups. I had gone to a Vet and had an ultra-sound done on Josie about a week before and they saw 7 puppies. Then I talked to another Vet and she told me that the ultra sound was not a for sure thing. And sure enough she was correct.

There were 7 alright, but actually there were 10. When we got 8 happy healthy little creatures I thought we were done. They all weighed anywhere from 14 to 24 ounces each. I called my Vet and asked if I needed to bring Josie and the brood in to be checked over. She said that it sounded like we were doing well and with the distance we would have to travel and knowing that Josie hates to travel - she thought that everything sounded like we were doing alright. I love Vets that do not nickel and dime you to death.

Josie was eating and the 8 puppies were nursing, life was good at the Blundell’s. Until-- 31 hours later when Josie was not looking so good and she went into labor again. Since I am new at this I called on my very patient neighbor- Andra Rickabaugh. Knowing that she has gone thru this before, she could give me a little advice. Andra was out- but Paul, the good man that he is, told me everything that I needed to do. Just as I got off the phone with him, Josie shelled out two more little stillborn fellows. I felt really bad that I did not know that there were more puppies in there. I guess that I should have gone with my first instincts and that was to take her in and have her checked out. I understand why some breeders just take the dog to the vet’s office and let them deal with the birth. But now Josie is doing very well and the 8 are strong and noisy.

We not only had puppies this past week we got a great nephew, as well. Mrs.Jason Crotts, which is Wendy, my niece, that was at Jeff and Chelsea’s wedding gave birth to a healthy-baby boy- Jackson Wayne. He weighed in at seven pounds and eleven ounces and was 21 inches long. Mother and baby are doing great. The proud dad, Jason, is doing fine, too. Wendy did not take any type of anesthetic what so ever. She is a great deal tougher than her Aunt Vanita that is for sure.

Vickie is there to help Wendy for a couple of weeks. Vickie has another grandbaby on the way in Ruidoso. Michael and Hilary Widener are expecting their second child any day now. If you can trust the sonograms the Wideners are anxious to get the first little granddaughter- as of today have 4 grandsons. When you go to Vickie and Randy’s house and all of the kids and grandkids are there it is a busy place and now it looks as if it might get just a little chaotic. So between the Widener grandkids and the Blundell grand pups --Lookout world ready or not here they come.

"Country Gal", The Western Star, May 29, 2007.

This has been a full week for us. We were privileged to go to the Martina McBride concert in Wichita on Sunday. Jim and I took in all of the work that went on to get the show ready for the performance, and all of the trucks and busses and personnel that it takes to put on a show. The promotional people- caters - roadies - custodial and of course, the security is very tight and no one can get in without the correct paper work. It does not matter who you are or your connection with the performers. Rodney Atkins was the first to perform. He sang "Lil’ Buckaroo" and "If you’re going thru Hell" along with a few other songs on his album. Little Big Town was there to open for Martina, as well. They were all wonderful.

The newlyweds came home Friday after five fun filled days in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. They were happy to be home and anxious to get their lives started as a couple. They returned home to find the house they were to begin married life in, not in the condition that Jeff had left it. Neil Baker, Jim and I had mowed their yard and I got his laundry caught up and just tidied up a bit. But when the kids got home something very odd had occurred. Someone had moved the cement horse to the front door and put balloons around his neck. They had also moved their trucks, back bumper to back bumper and chained them together. There were empty cans strung on the trucks from side mirror to side mirror. The trucks were also plastic wrapped together and also over the cabs so you could not get in without tearing the plastic wrap off. The perpetrators also switched the ignition keys. Since Jeff had no canned goods the ‘vandals’ purchased some and removed the labels. Inside there were a few other things done, all in good humor. Jeff and Chelsea were shocked that some of the people that they know would take the time to tantalize them. Well, maybe not shocked- as Jeff would probably have done the same thing to any of his friends.

Wedding pranks are not always funny I have heard of some really awful shenanigans. It seems that it is traditional to decorate the vehicle that the couple drive away. Some have had their vehicles hidden, while others had theirs filled with packing peanuts, newspaper and assorted other things. This was one the worst that I have heard of- the newlywed couple got in their car and someone had lined the vents of the air conditioner with pepper and the fan was on high so it would blow the pepper right at them. The only problem was it blew directly into their eyes. That put a damper on their honeymoon. When you take off in a limo that does not arrive until the happy couple are ready to leave then the pranksters must do something else. So they feel the urge to go to the couples home or apartment to short-sheet the beds, put Vaseline on the doorknobs- put clear plastic wrap over the toilet seat- switch all labels on canned goods- unscrew all of the light bulbs in the house- and just move everything around. So it is important that the bride and groom keep their sense of humor. You know the saying ‘do not get mad get even‘.

"Country Gal", The Western Star, May 23, 2007.

This has been a good week- Jim and I have gained a new daughter in-law. We had a great time helping with the wedding- The Hucks were gracious enough to allow us to be a part of the arrangements. Chelsea is going to be good for our family as she is incredibly organized, and we are in great need of some structure. She has been planning this wedding for quite some time. She had told me that she would like to have lights on the ceiling at the Veterans Building, which is where the reception was to be held. I told her no problem. I had several strands of lights - but at Christmas I had to throw most of them away. But I was shopping the after Christmas sales and found net lights. Net lights are used on bushes and trees so you do not have to string lights in and among the limbs. The lights come in 4x 6 pieces. I thought that would work just perfect for the ceiling. I thought and figured - made a call to city hall and asked for the dimensions of the large room in the Veterans Building. Then I figured and thought some more. Since the nets lights were 90% off I bought all they had. The way I figured I had enough to cover the entire ceiling. Since math is not my strong suit I had made an error and I did not have near enough- but Chelsea being easy to work with said that she wanted just a portion of the room lit up and what I had purchased would be just the right amount of light.

Wednesday I thought that while Chelsea was out of town I would start on the ceiling with Jennifer’s help. Now I had planned this all out and the way I figured it would not take too long- after all- we had to do was to unroll the net lights and hook them together and attach them to the ceiling straps. It even looked good on paper- how hard could it be? Well, let me tell you- I did not know that the plugs were all on the same side and only three sets could be connected together. Now that does not sound so bad until you are there and trying to get everything to come out right. Jim was in Dodge with Jeff getting the Tux’s and they called late in the evening to see if we needed anything. I realized that we need a huge amount of extension cords. So they brought home as many as they could. By this time I had nearly destroyed my relationship with Jennifer. We gave up and decided we would have to do the lights another way and I was racking my brain trying to find enough lights for the ceiling-When Jim got home late that night I was telling him how hard it was and he said that he could do it- So the next morning he and Jennifer with the able assistance of our nephew, Jason Blundell, and about 8 hours later had it done- but not without several unkind glares and many unkind remarks. So here is a little hint if you ever want to hang the net lights. Plug them in and make sure that they work- not all of them do even if they are brand new and do not pull them to stretch them in the 4 x 6 rectangle that they are suppose to be and hang them with the lights on, even though they get very warm, they have a tendency to go out for no apparent reason. This may help save your marriage or maybe you will decide not to go with this brilliant idea. I was not sure that my marriage was net lighting proof. But we made it- barely.

Jeff had made plans early this past fall as regards to the rehearsal dinner and he was delighted to tell me that he it all figured out and I would not have to lift a finger- He had talked to the BBQ man and he was going to cater the meal. I was thrilled. Well, the BBQ man is from Greensburg and, well, you know the rest. The BBQ wagon had blown away and even if it had not, the man and his family lost their home- They had more important issues to worry about. We had burgers, hot dogs and chickens breasts on the grill. They were not nearly as tasty as the BBBQ mans food but it filled the bill.

When it was all said and done we were pleased with the results and all we had to do was to enjoy the wedding.

Being the Grooms mother is not as easy as it looks. I have been told that the job of the groom’s mother is to wear beige and keep her mouth shut- I do not wear beige often and I have never been able to keep my thoughts to myself. So what is a mom to do?

"Country Gal", The Western Star, May 15, 2007.

Another Mothers Day has come and gone. This one was uneventful- but it was the last one that we will have with Jeff as a single, foot-loose, fancy-free man. He is certainly ready for the big day- Jeff and Chelsea will get married this coming Saturday. We have been anxiously waiting for this day. The next time I write this article I will have a new daughter in-law. I have never had a daughter in-law and I hope that I can be a good one. I really do not want to be the kind of mother in-law that the jokes are about. I do hope that she does not hold me totally accountable for Jeff. His father and I tried and tried to do the best we could- but I make no promises- and there are no warranties, either. Jeff is just who he is and there is no changing that. I always thought that if a boy did or did not do things like I thought they should be done then the mother did not do her job correctly. I was unaware that sometimes they come out of the womb being difficult. So I want Chelsea to know that we tried and we tried hard!

Actually, Jeff has been a delightful son and he is a good son. The first few years of his little - loud- defiant life was just a tiny bit annoying- but I have a remedy for that. I did the Mothers curse - I wished that he would have many children just like him- So you see, I already must apologize to Chelsea for that- I had no idea that he would find such a nice girl. But I can wait a few years for my revenge.

Chelsea wanted baby pictures of Jeff for the wedding. I told her she would have to ask Jeff why there were so few. I should add that I think that photographers that work with children have a very special place in heaven. Jeff hated to have his picture taken even as a baby. He was the little kid who stirred up the other kids while waiting in line to get their pictures taken. There would be a sweet family of 4 in their Sunday best and not a hair out of place and there I was with Jeff. He would start out behaving then he would decide that he would like to have something that belonged to photographer. After I told him no - that’s when he got his tail feathers ruffled - he would yell and tell me that it was not fair and that the photographer was being selfish.

Then, this would get all of the other kids to cry, yell and worst of all- whine. Then I would get the look- all of you mothers know that look- It is the look no woman ever wants to see. It is the look of total and pure disgust. The other mothers had worked so hard to get their children ready for a photo and here in just a few short seconds my son has single-handedly destroyed all of their efforts. Kids would be howling and then I would have to take little Jeffey out of the line and try another day, but usually that day never came. I know how my dad would have handled the situation. It would not have been pretty- at all -and the photo would have been something to remember. But if I would have followed all of his advice and parenting skills- I might be out of my 10 to 20 year prison term by now - if I had implemented most of his suggestions. So that is why there are not many photos of Jeff.

But Jeff has grown into a fine, hard working, young man and I know that he loves Chelsea dearly. I know this because she got him to take engagement photos and he did it without causing a scene. His father and I wish the newlyweds all the luck in the world. And I know that the family of Jeff and Chelsea Blundell will never be boring or quite- And who would want it any other way?

"Country Gal", The Western Star, May 8, 2007.

This has been a frightening week. Our hearts go out to the people in Greensburg. I would like to let our emergency teams know that how proud we are of them- whether it be the storm spotters or the ones who at a moments notice was ready to drop everything and use their own equipment to help out. We are so fortunate to have so many selfless people who give the use of their equipment, talents and time. Never once thinking that they might profit from it or receive recognition for being heroic. Every one of you are HEROS in anyone’s book. I am pleased to say that I know you.

Every generation has a storm story to tell our kids about. Dad was jittery when the storm clouds rolled in as he remembered the tornado that hit the Platt Ranch in 1927. He had many stories about all the strange things that happened. The same kind of stories that we are hearing from the residents of Greensburg. In 1949, there was the tornado that hit Wilmore, but of course, I was just a mere twinkle in my daddy’s eye. When Vickie and Virgil were little they went to the cellar many times. I only remember going to the cellar once, if I went that many times. I do not know if it was because that the storms were not as severe or if the cellar was so icky or if life had lost its luster and Dad was just too tired to care.

I recall the blizzard of 1971 and now this one. The blizzard was devastating, but not as horrible as Greensburg storm. Mother Nature has all kinds of ways to show us her power. A few years ago we had just finished working calves at my house. Dad had just left to go home and the air felt funny. There was an odd cloud in the southwest. I told the kids to get in the house and shut the doors. The cloud was coming fast and it was red in color. It was the most eerie feeling when the wind hit- the red in the cloud was dirt and it was a peculiar and scary sensation watching the storm coming closer and closer until it has consumed everything around us. When it hit I could not see 10 feet in front of me. When these kinds of storms strike you feel so helpless and powerless. There is nothing you can do but ride it out. Obviously, it was nothing like what happened Friday night, but at the time I did not know what was going to materialize next.

One time Virgil had decided to take a hike- I was annoyed as I wanted to go with him. He was a boy scout and was going it alone. The last thing he wanted was a little sister holding him back and more than likely whining all the way. He was prepared - he had his compass - his flashlight- and other very important items. He was in his uniform and hat. It was a little cloudy out and Mom had said that she did not think that this was a good idea for him to go out and face the world alone. But never fear the Boy Scout was ready for anything. Well, Mother Nature saw this proud little scout and thought she might play with him. She threw down the some of the biggest hail stones she could find. We watched out of the picture window looking for the brave lad. We looked down the lane and saw the scout who was ready for anything- running like the wind, with lightening striking, thunder booming and the wind blowing as he was being beat to a pulp. He should have had a hard hat on and he might have been able to stay out in the elements. However- there was no shelter for him to get under or beside. I am not sure if he ever finished his hike.

Also see:

The Greensburg Tornado - May 5, 2007, and a history of other tornados in the area.

Blizzards in Comanche County, Kansas: A Collection of Stories & References

"Country Gal", The Western Star, May 1, 2007.

It seems that spring is leaving us so quickly that I am not getting a chance to enjoy it. Life is too short not to notice the beautiful sunsets and I have heard that there have been some wonderful sunrises.

This past weekend I was able to attend Jeff and Chelsea’s wedding shower. Things are so different than they were when I was little. I think one of the first showers I remember going to was a cousin who was a registered nurse. I was asked to be a table attendant. There was another little girl who helped also, but I can not remember who she was. Mom made us little nurses’ caps. It was when nurses wore the white, starched uniforms and white hose with white caps with black lines going across the top. One line was a LPN and two lines meant that she was an RN. I was so nervous to help or maybe it was Mom who was nervous about me dispensing the gifts to the head table. Yes - it was definitely Mom. At that time everyone always received sheets, lots and lots of sheets.

Now who knows what size of bed people have. Sometimes they received fancy P.J.s - I thought that was really neat with all that lace and frilly stuff. At that time the couple did not go to the stores and register for what they wanted or needed and what color they needed to go with the décor of their home. But they did pick out a china pattern. Some brides might still do that. Do you remember going into the Drug Store to see the pretty patterns of the china that the new bride hoped to acquire? Sometimes you can tell a lot about the bride by the pattern she chose. If it was plain the bride would be a quiet, but elegant woman- If she chose something elaborate she might be a vibrant and animated person. This was not always true- but sometimes.

From time to time the department stores would give the couple a really cool gift from their store.

It was uncommon that the groom attended the shower unless the location of the shower was in his home town and no one knew the bride-to-be. But I like having the groom in attendance they add a lot to the festivities.

I still have a towel or two and I received from my shower almost 30 years ago. They are a little ragged and worn, but I hate to get rid of them. The ladies at the People State Bank gave me a little hand mixer and it just quit about two years ago I think that I got their moneys worth. I used it often.

Showers are always plenty of fun and a great deal of hard work for the Hostess and her helpers, but when the time comes everything works out fine and the punch and cake is so good with lots of excitement and entertainment.

The one thing that has not changed is the generosity of the Comanche County people. It is certainly appreciated.

"Country Gal", The Western Star, April 17 , 2007.

You have always heard the saying, "that if you do not like the weather in Kansas just wait a few minutes and it will change". Nothing could be closer to the truth this past week. We have had all kinds of different weather wind, rain, snow, ice all this week. I am not complaining about the moisture, if you remember last year we could not buy a drop of liquid. When Jim and I went out to feed the cattle on Saturday - everything was going fine- slow and muddy- but we were making the rounds, in the last pasture I got stuck. I could not believe it. I do not know why I was surprised, I have been stuck almost anywhere a person could - I have been stuck on a gopher hole, in the bottom of a terrace, but just in the middle of the flat pasture - who would have thought that would happened? We were even in the 4-wheel drive truck.

When I get that familiar stinking feeling I can remember Dad yelling at me because I buried the tractor. I farmed for Dad when I was in high school. I was plowing east of the house. It had rained a few days before and I was turning up the moist soil and I knew that I was getting close to the mud hole - but I thought that I could make just one more round - I was sadly mistaken. I tried to raise the plow but in my panic I lowered it instead and that sealed my fate. I tried to get out by rocking it back and forth like I had seen Dad do but nothing would budge. I had to walk to the house to get Dad to pull me out. He was not overjoyed but when he saw the tractor was sitting on an angle out in the middle of a flat field- he got that look. I knew that he was not happy at all. He told me that I did not need to go to axles to know that I was indeed stuck. I explained to him that I tried to get out and he said that he could tell and that was not one of my better ideas. Then he told me that it was alright to just get a little stuck and I did not have to completely bury the bottom half of the tires. Then he mumbled something about me pulling the heart out of ole’ Casey (that was the tractor).

Mom never liked to pull or be pulled out of a sticky situation. She was happy when one of us was around to help Dad out. Dad gave us to warning about a chain breaking and coming back through the windshield and cutting our heads off. This little bit of information was disturbing. So while he would be hooking up the chain I would be practicing ducking so I could hit the passenger seat at a moments notice. I thought too, that being really short at the time was to my advantage. I cannot imagine what he would have thought if he saw me working on dodging the invisible flying chain. Sometimes he would pull me backwards I thought that I would prefer that but Dad said it was worse as you could not see it coming.

Then Dad found out about the large pull ropes. He could not wait to get one of those. We used ropes after that and he thought that they were a little safer. However, being the one that was being pulled was still a frightening experience. While being pulled by a chain Dad would ease up and tighten the chain slowly- well, somewhat slowly- But with the pull rope he would rev up the truck or tractor - and I was sitting in drivers seat of the stuck vehicle, palms sweating, stomach in knots, praying- trying to get my life right with God, thinking about if I could duck a rope if it would snap back. He would back up as close to the stuck object as he could and then with the rpms in the red- get a run at the wide open spaces. He would hit the end of the rope and it would stretch and on a good day my vehicle would start to move forward and life was good. As horrifying as I thought that was at the time- it really is a fond memory- especially since we both lived through it.

"Country Gal", The Western Star, April 10, 2007.

A good friend of mine told me of a minister that has a new concept to help the attitude of his congregation. He has started the purple bracelet campaign. He has given each member of his congregation a purple bracelet for them to wear. They were to wear it on either wrist then when they complained - gossiped - or criticized they were to switch the bracelet to the other wrist. Saying naughty words count, too. There are couple of rules- One is that if you choose to wear the bracelet and you see someone complain, criticize, etc, who is also wearing a bracelet you must first remove your bracelet and put it on your other wrist before you point out their mistake. The object is to go 21 continuous days without complaining. Why 21 days you ask- Some studies have shown that if you do or not do something for 21 continuous days it becomes a habit. This has really gotten me to think. What would I talk about if I did not complain, gossip, criticize or use sarcasm? What does that leave me? Does that mean that I must try to have happy thoughts? Is that possible? Mom read the story of "Pollyanna" to me when I was little. Pollyanna was an orphaned girl that had a bad life but she always found the good in everything. I found her quite annoying, but not without merit.

This idea has been catching on all over the world. You can order as many bracelets as you want from this Kansas City church. They will send you the bracelets at no cost to you. They do accept a free-will donation to help offset the cost if you want too. The minister who started this madness said it took him 3 months before he made his 21-day mission. So he understands that this is a difficult request.

I was telling Jim about this concept. Since Jim is not talkative, he said that he would just not talk for 21 days. He could do it, too. Anybody who drank a 24-pack of Pepsi a day and could decide one day that he was not going to drink any type carbonated drinks for a year and do it, could easily not talk for 21 days, except for things that pertain to work. I can tell you that talking is not one of Jim’s favorite things to do. We can drive for hours and he will not say a word, he is not mad, just has nothing to talk about. Some of you may think that it is because he cannot get a word in edge-wise- but believe it or not I do run out of things to say after a couple of hours.

Can you imagine any work place where there is no complaining or gossiping? Having coffee at your favorite place and not talking about the newest news or complaining about the weather? Is this possible? Some of us might wear the blisters on our wrists by changing the bracelet back and forth or maybe complain twice and the bracelet could stay in place. Maybe instead of talking about the things that we cannot change maybe we should think of the people who have done nice things for us. I know that I have an endless list of kindnesses people have shown me. Sometimes I lose sight of that. They are so many people who work behind the scenes and we fail to give them a simple 'thank-you'. Instead we, sometimes not meaning too, let them feel that they have not done enough. We forget to appreciate and somehow we are quick to find fault. Why is that? It is just one of the devils best tools.

It would be great to have any work environment where there is no negativity all. I do not care where you work some kind of negative vibe exists. When Jim’s mom went to have her cancer treated the hospital doctors told her that negative thoughts will only hindered her recovery. All of the staff was always positive and worked at keeping the patients in a cheerful humor.

I have been doing some serious soul searching and found that I find humor in the negative thinking. So if this catches on everywhere- will the humor be gone as well? Am I too old to change? You know "you cannot teach an old dog new tricks".

Even though this may seem like a new idea, it goes back to the old saying, "If you cannot say anything good do not say it at all".

"Country Gal", The Western Star, April 3, 2007.

Spring has sprung the grass is rize; I wonder where the flowers is? However, I do know that the buzzards are back and have begun cleaning up what winter and the coyotes have left for them. It is spring and what a beautiful spring we have in progress. Along with spring several things happen- In the movie ‘Bambi’ spring is the beginning of ‘twitterpaitting’ - That is when all of the animals fall in love. The tom turkeys are strutting and fanning those tail feathers. Mom went with me to feed the other day, there was a tom just strutting for all he was worth, and the hen was picking at the newly found green grass. She was not concerned at all by bothersome tom. But on the way, back he had called up another hen and she decided that she would rather eat grass as well. Mom and I felt kind of sorry for the poor ole’ boy. However, he did not look discouraged he knew that he would have his day.

Of course, the Junior and Senior Prom is going to be here soon. I just love Prom - I love to see the girls all dressed up in their beautiful dresses and the guys are so awesome in their tuxedos. What the kids choose to wear shows off their personality. Sometimes I think that we do not get all ‘gussied’ up often enough. Do you remember your Prom themes? Our junior year theme was ‘In the Land of Cotton’. But I am sad to say that I do not remember our senior year. I think when you are a junior you work so hard to try to make everything perfect and that makes lots of memories. And your senior year, you enjoy it, but you did not plan it and work on it for very nearly a year. I remember Jim and I was the band committee. Jim picked out the band and they charged $350.00 for the night. We did not have Project Prom in those days. I doubt that my Dad would have let me go if we did, as I was to be in by the hour of decency (midnight). Actually, I was to be home by 11:00- but under no circumstance any later than midnight. In our house, we had a large picture window that faced the driveway. From that window, you could see the car lights from the ‘high gate’. The high gate was five or six miles from the house. You could bet that Dad was watching for our car lights and those lights had better not stop. One time my date really did run out of gas and it was not five minutes before we saw his lights coming, and at a fairly rapid pace. The man that got out of the car was not the same man you all remember. But when he realized that, we really were out of gas he calmed down a little. It was a good thing that we had started to walk to the house on opposite sides of the road. This was not something that he found much humor in. You knew that he was not kidding when he left the shotgun by the front door when your date came to pick you up. In addition, the date had to come in the house, otherwise how would he know about the ‘decoration’ by the door. None of this honking when he got there and you go out. Dad said that he did not raise a daughter who would run out of the house at the sound of a car horn like a cow that comes to the feed wagon.

There is a new song out it is entitled "Ticks". The chorus says that the boy would like to check this girl for ticks. I am think that if a guy would told Dad that he was just checking for ticks ----- Actually- I am not sure what he would have done but I know that it would not have been pretty.

Back to Prom, I would like to caution all Prom goers everywhere. My Junior Prom was my first date with Jim. I was 16 and I thought that it was a magical night; it was everything that a girl dreams of. The reason that we went together was sort of an accident. Neither one of us had a date nor did we not want to go alone so we decided to go together. We dated from then on. Never broke up once. And so, here we are thirty-one years later. Because of our experience you had better be careful who your Prom date is, you just might end up marrying your date. I have always said that I married very well, but Jim, poor Jim, did not do so good.

"Country Gal", The Western Star, March 27, 2007.

We have survived another Spring Break. I am afraid that I might have broken Jim. I think that when he gets time off from work he must just shudder at the thought of what I have thought up for him to do.

We knew that we need to get our cattle work started and do all sorts of things around the house- but as usual we found other things that need our attention more. It is amazing how vehicles break down at the same time. It is like a virus. I had two trucks with problems and I need the trucks, so Jim had to work on them.

We were sad to see our renter move to Kansas City. She had rented our house in town for 16 years. She was a wonderful renter and a great lady- she never-ever complained even when she needed too. I hope that she will be happy at her new home. But since she has been in the house I have not done much to the inside and it was in need of some updating. I am peeling off the old wall paper on the walls. The ceiling had to come down as it was sagging. But the great thing is that Jennifer and Giz had just purchased a sheet rock jack. They let us try it out. For those of who are unaware of what this is - it is a piece of equipment that lifts and holds sheetrock on the ceiling while you secure the sheetrock in place. I do not who invented the sheetrock jack but I truly hope that he is a very rich and happy man. It is a wonderful invention. Jim hardly needed me there to help him. I guess that you would appreciate it more if you ever help hold sheet rock up while someone else puts in the screws or nails. When we built our house it never failed just as we got the sheetrock in place one of us would have to go to the bathroom or the phone would ring. I can let a phone ring and return the call later. Jim cannot do that, he informed me that would be rude not to answer.

We made carpet covered T’s to help hold the sheetrock in place, that worked alright, but Jim seemed to like for us (Jennifer and I) to hold the heavy - awkward hunk of gyp with our arms ‘til they cramped, or heads ‘til our necks were nearly squished to our fannies. Well, that might be a slight exaggeration, but it really hurts after awhile. If you just had a couple of pieces that would not be so bad - but a whole house is extremely painful. If I would have known that we could have purchased a jack, I would have gladly paid the price.

Now that Jim has the ceiling up,in the rental house, I need to get the ceiling taped, mudded, and sprayed. Jim is a wonderful fixer and can do almost anything - but mudding sheetrock is not he what he does best. Again, when we built our house, Jim would put on the mud and then asked me to sand it off. I told him if he wanted it off he should not have put it there in the first place. He told me that was very funny, and to get busy. If you have ever you sanded plaster, it is dry, of course, but when you breathe it in - your nose is moist - you know where I am going - a person can seal up their whole nasal passages not to mention ears and every pore in their skin. I very nearly plugged up my entire sinus system up with plaster- I blew out plaster balls for days. I know that you can get masks- but you look - you know strange- and I certainly would not want to look strange- and you breathe in your own hot air and that just does not sound healthy to me. And you know me I am all about style and health. So long story long- my marriage is not strong enough to go through that again.

But I have some painting, and various things to do. While we are doing all this, my next renter is being very patient and understanding. I hope that it will be ready for her soon.

"Country Gal", The Western Star, March 20, 2007.

I have gotten a bee in my bonnet, so to speak. As I was out feeding the cows the other day, I listening to the radio. The DJ was talking about tough women. And what made a woman strong and resilient. He was telling about a woman coach that had a baby then five hours later, she was on the court coaching her team. When asked if she had an assistant who could have taken over- she said that she did. I think that he was wrong. I do not think that she was tough- just more interested in her job. But that is just my opinion.

To me a tough woman is like the woman whose husband called in and said that his wife was tough. As he was in the military- he could be and has been, called away at any given time. She did not know where he would be going or when he would be back and while he is gone she takes over raising their family and never complains- Now that is tough.

I have always thought that women who choose to accept harsh realities that she cannot change and make the best of the situation- Whether it is the poor health of a mate or herself- Or if life has just dealt her an unfair hand. Those are strong women.

I have always said that I would have died 3 days out of Boston in the pioneer days. I have always thought women back then had such a hard life. They had nothing easy. Everything worked hard. Mom would get on to me if I ever complained about the laundry. I know that it is silly to whine about it - especially when Mom had seen her mother carry buckets of water into the washhouse, heat the water, and scrub the family clothes on the board. They heated the water on wood stoves, which had to be cut and not by a chain saw. We will not even talk about the starching and the ironing. I have my washer and dryer close to my bedroom upstairs and I can fold my clothes as I watch TV in a temperature controlled environment. Most of our clothes do not require ironing. I have a dishwasher- a vacuum sweeper- I have a good life. And most of us do - I just wonder if we really appreciate what we have.

"Country Gal", The Western Star, March 11, 2007.

Winter is winding down, but I can not help but remember going to Grandma Cary’s house to do the laundry. We lived on the Perry Wall place and our water was not good to do the wash. All of the whites turned a rusty - red color. We somehow had no trouble in drinking the water. I always thought that was why none of us ever broke any arms or legs as we had plenty of minerals in our system. Grandma and Granddad had good water, so we took one day a week to do the laundry at their house.

I can remember very vividly going down the hill by the Frank Todd place, there were two double bridges. The bridges were low and more like culverts, but they were wooden had metal runners going across them. Sometimes when there was snow all you could see was the metal and you knew you were where you needed to be. Sometimes when it rained the water would wash the bridges out and Granddad would call us and we would have to go around the other way to get to their house. That was, of course, if the Mark Brown bridges had not washed out north of their home. If Dad was with us, he would wade out to see if the floor of the bridge was still there. If it was he would guide us across the water. I found all of this quite exciting. I could tell what happened if the bridge was out- but that is an entirely different story.

Even if it had snowed we braved the elements to get the laundry washed and dried, after all it was wash day. The Cary lane was usually snowed shut. If that was the case then we would go thru the pasture. I thought that Mom was really adventurous and brave to take the car in the pasture. Or maybe it was the frightened look Mom had on her face and the death grip she had on the steering wheel that truly intrigued me.

Grandma needed help with Granddad as his health was failing so Mom and I moved in with them the winter of 1970. In view of the fact that Grandma did not drive - she was in need of assistance. This was during the school year and given that the mail carrier and the school bus used the lane, the county raised the lane, which helped a great deal with the snow tribulations. Now with all the improvements, the much needed elevated, cement bridges at the Todd Place and extra gravel on the roads, the elevation of the lane. All of which are really enjoyed and immensely appreciated - there is something that I miss. Something that I cannot put my finger on- Maybe just maybe - could it be a youthful eye?

"Country Gal", The Western Star, March 6, 2007.

We were saddened by the loss of Lewis Reed. He will be missed by many. Dad teased Lewis something awful, and he took it all in stride. He was one of a very few people who always referred to my mom as Mrs. White. He always had a good heart towards his fellow man.

Joan Hickman called Myrna Bumgarner to let us know that my Aunt Hazel Renard had passed away. Joan, is Hazels oldest daughter. Hazel was 93 years old and was living in Mesa, Arizona. She had moved in with Joan and Bud as she was having some difficulty living by herself. Hazel was an older sister by two years to Dad. Bob White and Alma Haas are the only 2 of the 6 kids still living. Dad’s family has been very fortunate for the times they lived in. All 6 kids lived to see their children grown and many grandchildren. They survived World War I and II- the depression- Korean War- the Vietnam Conflict- the man on the moon - and all but Uncle Vic got the see the Millennium change. They have been truly blessed by a long and productive life.

Sometimes I think the world is trying to drive me crazy. I know that some might say that it would be a very short trip. But I was told in church Sunday that Daylight Saving time was this weekend. I was sure that it is too early to change our clocks up. As I was certain that it is the first Sunday in April. I am not sure who decides to deprive me of an hour of my much loved sleep, but I wish they would make up their mind.

I have heard many things for the time change and the arguments against it. I do like to have that extra time in the evenings - One lady was telling me that she really likes to have that extra daylight so she can run after a hard days work. That is not I want to do with my extra hour. Jim likes that extra time to get things done on the farm in the evenings. When the kids were small it was difficult to get them in bed at night when the sun is still shining brightly in their bedrooms. For those who have to travel east in the mornings to work it I would think that it would be exasperating since you have fought with the sun in your eyes and just when it is about right somebody decides that we need to start all over again and put that pesky sun right back in your vision.

For the farmer, however the time change means very little. He gets up with the sun and if he is lucky he gets to hit the sack when the sun goes down. He just knows that in the beginning of spring as the days grow longer he has more daylight to get ready for the spring crops. I can remember that when I was still in school I sure did like to have that extra sunlight as that gave me more time to ride horses and spend some really good time with Dad. It also meant that school year was coming to a close and that always made me smile.

"Country Gal", The Western Star, February 26, 2007.

Private First Class Chad E. Marsh, U.S. Army.

Killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom on 18 Feb 2007. When I last left you I thought this article would be about how we pulled off the surprise party for Vickie. Instead it is bittersweet- Yes; we did have a nice party for Vickie and had some good family time. Then we got the call about Chad Marsh being killed in action in Iraq. Chad was our cousin and about 3 weeks older than Jeff. I got home as quick as I could when I found out that the service would be on Monday.

Bittersweet- Yes, it was a terrible thing to lose Chad and there will be a hole in all of our hearts- but when we saw and experienced the love and patriotism that our country, state, county, and city has shown our families we were in awe. The sound of the Patriot Guard coming was eerie and a seeing them ride into the Crown Hill cemetery in formation and almost every bike had a flag attached to it. It was a welcomed sight and we knew that our family had made the trip safely. All of the flags and the people holding the red, white and blue waving in the breeze at the cemetery was a beautiful scene. And when the family gathered around the open grave and the flags came in from all sides it made me feel safe and protected, a feeling that some people in this world have never felt.

Vickie and Randy went to the service in Wichita. Vickie said she cried from Harper to Coldwater. Randy had the honor of riding his Harley in the Patriot Guard so she was by herself in the truck. Not only was her heart breaking for Janet and family, but when she saw the streets lined with the young and old alike waving their flags or their ball caps placed respectfully over their hearts in every town between Wichita and Coldwater touched her. Little old men that could hardly stand - stood as straight as they could with the look of reverence. Little old ladies, humped over in their wheelchairs waving their little flags. Small children looking somber and waving their small flags was just a little more than she could take. Farmers stopping along the road holding their ball caps, or cowboy hats, over their hearts while the funeral procession went by - brought back memories of Dad and his love for his country. And when she arrived in Coldwater and saw what her home town had done and all of the work everyone had done she was astonished.

Bittersweet- Yes, the protesters did show up at the service in Wichita. But because of the Patriot Guard and owners of adjoining property would not allow them to spread their poison. For this again, it makes me proud to be an American.

When Randy was being briefed on what to do when riding with the Patriot Guard they asked him, "When someone asks you how many missions have you been on, what will you say?". Randy replied, ‘this is my first one, so it would be one". They said, "No, - you say too many". And that is true, one is too many- too many indeed.

"Country Gal", The Western Star, February 13, 2007.

It is official the Killdeers are here! Last week I saw our little feathered friends running around the stock tank. I bet they wished that they had waited a little while longer.

It is so cold out today that I am thinking about taking the dogs with me to feed the cows. I hate the thought of them outside in the cold wind. Taking Jake in the pickup is an experience since he would like to drive. And Josie does not travel well, she gets a little sick.

When I was little I went with my Granddad Cary to feed his cows. He had quite an array of animals that went with him. He had 2 or 3 cats and a dog- all of which thought that they were to ride next to him. One cat would sit on the top edge of the seat around Granddads neck, while the others would try to get as close as they could to Granddad. Granddad fed square bales and he would get in the back of the pick-up while it was in ‘granny’ gear and throw out the feed. He had a piece of rubber that was bolted to the floor of the pick up and a hook on the other end. He would turn the wheel so the truck would go in a large circle and he would pull the choke out just enough so the truck would not chug. When he had finished throwing out the feed he would jump off the back and catch up with the pick up and go to the next pasture.

Dad usually had a couple of dogs that went with him. Dad would do the same as Granddad except he did not have the rubber on the floor - we had baling wire. Dad would wire his steering wheel to the gear shift. Sometimes he would sit the dog in drivers’ seat and the dog would put her feet on the steering wheel and it looked like the dog was driving. Dad was such a clever man.

"Country Gal", The Western Star, February 6, 2007.

I am sure some of you are wondering how the hypnotism turned out. Some of you maybe are unaware that I, along with 12 other people, consented to let ourselves be hypnotized as a fund raiser. It was an interesting experience. It would have been easier to "go under" if I was not in front of 150 people. And tuning out the audience was, for me was extremely difficult. Just as I was feeling really relaxed my mind went to "what on earth are you thinking?". I think that if I wanted to use hypnosis as a tool to lose weight or some other vice it would be effective. Only if I was in an office alone with the hypnotherapist. I found out a little more about myself- I have a stronger will than I thought I did. I guess what I am saying is that if I do something silly in public I would like for it to be my idea and not someone else’s.

We watched the Super Bowl Sunday. The main reason I watch is the commercials. They were alright - but I was a little disappointed that there were fewer advertisers than usual. We were frustrated with the half time show. Of course, everyone has a solution- ours is that we would like to see the High School and College and Professional - National Champion Cheerleaders do a routine and the High School and College National Champion Marching Band do a routine. We think that would a lot more entertaining than what they have had in the past few years.

I have had a report that they have heard the Killdeers. As most of you remember my dad always looked for the little bird around the twentieth of February. This means they are early this year and maybe just maybe spring really is around the corner.

"Country Gal", The Western Star, January 30, 2007.

Years ago when a woman reached a certain age or was in the ‘motherly way’ they were to be out of the public eye.

So I would like to have a word with all of you, who have a woman living in their household who is over the age of 35. Would you please stop telling us that we are emotional. My daughter tells me the other day that I should look in to getting some medication. I think that it is a shame that a woman over the age of 35, all of a sudden can no longer express her feelings whether they are happy, sad, angry or whatever, without someone thinking or saying that we are being unreasonable and that there is a pill that can fix us right up. I news for all of you pill pushers, maybe I am happy being an ‘emotional wreck’. When I tried to calmly explain this to Jennifer she would say in a quiet condescending voice, ‘that’s ok Mom’ or ‘now there you go again getting all defensive’. Of course, I am defensive; I have just been told that I am longer suitable to be in public without being medicated. I think for the most part I am a fairly logical person or as logical as I ever have been.

Then Jennifer informs me that I would feel better if I would medicate. She thought that she could show me another way that I could benefit from her pill pushing. Does she really think that she can tell me how I feel physically? I think that I feel pretty good. I have a few aches and pains- but who doesn’t.

I thought that maybe it was just me. But I was telling my sister, Vickie, about my dilemma and she was quick to tell me that she had made a terrible mistake by telling her husband, Randy, that if she ever was getting unreasonable, to tell her. She did not want to be one of those cranky old women who no one wants to be around. Well, that is a serious mistake that no woman should ever make. Since evidently that is just what your family is waiting to hear. We can not even express ourselves without one of our loved ones to instantly point out that we need to settle down and relax. There are times when we need to get excited. I thought that it is good to vent our thoughts and emotions. Then when we do- the kids roll their eyes, like we can not see that they are just patronizing us.

Perhaps we should ask our family how we are to react to situations, so that they are more contented with us- And maybe we should never go to bat for them- and maybe we should not care about anyone or anything since it seems to make others uneasy. I will admit that I do have little temper tantrums- especially when it comes to working with the cattle- but they are no worst than when I man gets angry and proceeds to do whatever he does. But when I chase a cow around the pasture in the pickup, yelling at her, maybe even trying to do physical harm to her- I need a pill. I can tell you that when Dad was ranting and raving no one even dared mention that perhaps he was over reacting and to relax and everything will work out just fine.

Now that I have aired my thoughts- I should also say -I know that there are some good medications that have helped millions of women. And I know that there will come a time when I will probably be begging for a happy pill but until that time comes ---- I know- I know --- calm down everything will be ok.

"Country Gal", The Western Star, January 16, 2007.

When you travel what do you do? Do you sing- read- listen to music or do you just sit back and enjoy the scenery? When I was growing up we had a 30 minute ride home so we did different things. We would sing, tell jokes, tell the about our day. The last week in December Giz, Jennifer, Jim and I went to Tulsa to see Jim’s mom. She was at the Cancer Treatment Center for a chemo treatment. On our way home Jennifer had purchased a personality test book. It has several tests about different areas in your character. After taking 200 miles worth of various tests I think that I am a nut. But that should not surprise any of you. We had so much fun discussing the questions and how our minds work. It asked questions about hypnosis - whether you vote for someone who has ever gone to a psychiatrist - do you ever see shapes in the clouds- do you ever look at something long enough that it takes on another form (of course it does, I was the only one who would admit it)- etc.. The one good thing is that I was not the only crazy person in the car or not. It is fun to see how different people interpret and answer the same question. I am afraid that if Giz would have known what kind of family he was marrying into he would have ran to the hills never to be seen or heard of again.

Lately I have been having a problem of hearing Jim. Or maybe I just am not paying any attention when he talks. I have been told by various men that their wives suffer from the same thing. Well, men, let me tell you something- If you tell your wife (or the lady in your life) something and she do not answer you, perhaps she did not hear you. It is a simple thing- I know that Jim says he has told me things, sometimes really important things, and I have no recollection that he even mentioned it. When he says that he told me - my response is ‘did I answer you back’- his response is always, ‘no’. Well then, I did not hear you. So men if want your wife to hear and understand you just talk to her and make sure she answers you back. Now I am not saying that women are not bright or we intentionally tune out the men in our lives. I am saying that while the TV or radio is on and the water is running along with the dishwasher and your husband mumbles something in the bathroom as he flushes the toilet you just might not hear him. I know that men hear and pay attention to each and every word we speak and could repeat verbatim what we say each and every day. And they do everything just the way we want it done. Sometimes women fall short and we do not do things the way, the men want them done.

So men just do not yell from the door that the house is on fire then run off expecting her to take care of the situation, please, make sure she heard what you said. That is all we ask.

"Country Gal", The Western Star, January 2, 2007.

I hope that you started the New Year out better than I did. I ended the year with an auction, as you probably know that I love to go to sales. It was a lot of fun but somewhere in the process I ended up with the flu. I can not believe that you can feel so horrible and still survive. I think that I would have had to get better before I could die. But it did not last long - thank goodness.

This is the time of year for new beginnings and start overs. From the television commercials diets and work out routines are the thing. I have found what I think might be a great diet. When I was in New Mexico the guides were telling the clients about not drinking the water. The two guides were out scouting for wildlife as usual they went farther and they ran out of water. They were so dry that they found some water and they filled their canteens. They felt fine, finished their scouting and went home. After they had been home for a while they started to loose weight. They were not feeling up to par so they went to the doctor and found out that they had a parasite living in their innards. The parasite is one that is found in tainted water.

So I figure that if I would bottle up some of that water and sell it. So you have a small little bug living in you for a while- but when you get to your desired weight I can sell you the antidote to kill the parasite. As everything else there could be side affects - such as nausea, diarrhea, stomach cramps. This sounds really awful but it makes almost as much sense as some of the commercials I have seen and some of the diet pills I have tried with some of the same side affects.

Maybe the best New Years Resolution is found in the Bible: "temperance in ALL things".

Archives:   Country Gal - 2005   Country Gal - 2006   Country Gal - 2007   Country Gal - 2008  

Thanks to author Vanita (White) Blundell and publisher Dennies Anderson of the The Western Star for permission to reprint this column!

Vanita Blundell is also the Stage Manager and Program Director for The Wilmore Opry.

Vanita Blundell at the Wilmore Opry, 7 May 2005, Comanche County, Kansas.

Photo by Dave Rose.

Vanita Blundell at the Wilmore Opry, 7 May 2005, Comanche County, Kansas.

Photo by David Rose.

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