Monthly Archives: January 2017

Issue 347 – Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman

Issue 347     –     January 30, 2017

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Ree Drummond: “The Pioneer Woman”

 by Stan Paregien

Copyrighted Jan. 30, 2017

The lady now known as “The Pioneer Woman” was born Ann Marie Smith and nicknamed “Ree.” She grew up as a privileged kid, living with her parents in an upscale house in Bartlesville, Okla., near the 7th tee of an exclusive country club. In 1987 she graduated from Bartlesville High School. In 1991 she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in gerontology from the University of Southern California.

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So Ree Smith’s life was progressing right along a desirable path for a upper class lifestyle. Then Cupid forced her into a left turn up a country dirt road. That’s when she married a good ol’ boy, a hands-on rancher in nearby Pawhuska, Oklahoma by the name of Ladd Drummond. The result was that she became as comfortable in cowboy boots as she had been in high heels. She learned how to help deliver calves, how shovel manure out of stalls, how to rope a horse and how to cook meals cowboy style.

Ah, yes, that cooking thing.

Ree Smith Drummond had a natural talent for cooking and she began to share her recipes and experiences on her blog titled, “The Pioneer Woman: From Heels to Tractor Wheels.” Remember that degree of hers in gerontology? Initially she was a journalism major and she apparently took really good notes. Hundreds and then thousands of people—mostly ladies—sat up and paid attention. And it snowballed. By 2009, she was logging 13 million hits per month. Two years later her blog was receiving 23 million hits per month, with about 4 million being unique individuals. Amazing.

Also in 2009, Drummond saw the publication of her very first cookbook. It was titled, The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl.

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Of all things, in 2011 Ree switched to writing a children’s book featuring their own dog, Charlie. I don’t know, but the idea for writing about the family’s flop-earred companion may have come from the highly successful “Hank the Cowdog” series of books in which author John Erickson describes ranch life through the eyes of Hank. In any event, Charlie the Ranch Dog was a hit. And she has published several more since then.

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Also in 2011, her publisheR sorted through her blogs going back to 2007 and compiled them into a book titled, The Pioneer Woman: From Black Heels to Tractor Wheels. It talked about food, of course, but it was mainly a lively revelation of how a city gal fell in love with a cowboy. And it jumped to Number 2 on the NY Times hardcover non-fiction list.

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Now, keep in mind that this jeans-clad cowboy was part of a well-to-do Drummond clan. He wasn’t exactly sleeping out in the bunkhouse with the hired hands when he met the redhead from Bartlesville. So when Rees and Ladd Drummond  honeymooned, they did it in style. They went to Australia.

Ladd Drummond’s ancestor, Frederick Drummond, immigrated from Scotland to the United States in 1884 at the age of 20. He promptly invested in a Texas cattle operation and, knowing nothing about the business, even more promptly lost his money. About 1886 young Fred, now a bit wiser, went to work as a trader (licensed by the U.S. Government). He got a job with the Osage Mercantile Company way out in the village of Pawhuska in the Indian Territory (now Oklahoma), right on the Osage tribe’s reservation. He sold or traded hundreds of Pendleton-brand blanets and other merchandise to the Osage.

Then love came calling and he married Ms. Adeline Gentner in 1890. They were frugal and saved enough money for Fred to puchase a partnership in the OMC. By 1904, he had stockpiled enough cash to starting his own outfil, The Hominy Trading Company, in the village of Hominy. In time he diversified into real estate, ranching and banking investments. And in 1905, Frederick Drummond built his dream home in Hominy, a Victorian style mansion that still stands today. It is now a museum operated by the Oklahoma Historical Society. It is located at 305 North Price Avenue in Hominy.

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Mrs. and Mrs. Fred Drummond had four children: R. C. (Cecil), F. G. (Gentner), Blanche, and A. A. (Jack). When the patriarch of the family died in 1913, the three Drummond sons went together and founded the Drummond Cattle Company.

Ladd Drummond attended Arizona State University, but he has made his living the hard way. Working the cattle and the land day after day, come rain, shine or snow. Here’s a photo of Ladd Drummond from back in 2011 when he competed in the Amarillo (TX) Range Rodeo with a team of cowboys from the Drummond Land & Cattle Company. They competed in several events, including Wild Cow Milking and Team Branding. Their team was the winner for the sixth consecutive year. And Ladd was chosen as “The Tough Hand” of the rodeo. Heck, no surprise there.

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Well, back to the Pioneer Woman.

Along came the year of 2012. In March of that year Ree published her second cookbook, The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from My Frontier. While her first book was well-received, this one rang the bell so loudly no one could ignore it. That book hit Number 1 on the Non-Fiction list and stayed there, not just for a week or two but for months. Ca-ching, ca-ching, ca-ching.

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In 2016, Ladd and Ree Drummond proudly opened the doors to The Pioneer Woman Mercantile (and restaurant, and bakery) on the main drag in Pawhuska. They bought the delapidated two-story building in 2011 and worked on remodeling it on a pay-as-you-go basis. Finally, after several years of starts and pauses they got ‘er done. And they did a magnificent job of turning an eye sore into a beautiful, modern place of business. Lots of business, believe me.

My wife Peggy and I went there with James and Glenda Cotton on Friday, January 27, 2017. We all spent quite a bit of time in the Mercantile, then we each had a cup of coffee and a cinnamon roll at the bakery on the second floor of the building. Peggy and I got to meet Ladd Drummond and I took a photo of her with him. A few minutes later I was able to take several photos of Ree Drummond after she came out from an office to sign her book and was swamped by dozens of enthusiastic fans. 

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It has become the major tourist draw in that small town. People—yes, mostly ladies—flock there in droves. And on the mercantile floor they eagerly go elbow-to-elbow to select fairly high-end dishes, coffee cups, ball caps, books, sewing material and related items, aprons, rolling pins, and novelty items like Bison Lip Balm. Then they stand in a long line to pay out. And, what with all that hard work, they get in another line to eat at either the full-service restaurant or the bakery upstairs.

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So, there you have it. Ree Drummond zig-zagged to a career she never imagined. She is an award-winning blogger, a nationally recognized force in the book publishing industry, a host of her own wildly popular TV cooking show on the FoodNetwork, the owner of her own retail store and much more. Add to that the role of mother to four teenagers and wife of a hard-working rancher.

Ree, as they like to say in Oklahoma, “Ya done good. Real good.”

NOTE: Her web site is at: http://www.thepioneerwoman.com, and that’s where you’ll find her blogs. 

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Issue 346 – Laughter Therapy

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Issue 346     —     January 9, 2017

Whenever I am able to laugh in the middle of a problem, it always makes me feel like I can get through the ordeal someway, somehow. Isn’t that the way it is for you?

Laughter is simply a poor person’s psychiatric therapy, and it may even be more therapeutic in many cases than the high-dollar stuff. Hey, in another life (i.e., many years ago), I worked for the Texas Department of Mental Heath as the Director of one of their centers. And I was a full-time preacher for over ten years. So I have seen people in a world of hurt in many contexts. And spirits were always lifted when we were able to laugh together. 

It was the legendary English author Charles Dickens (A CHRISTMAS CAROL) who wrote, “There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.” And the late actress Audrey Hepburn said, “I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it’s the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It’s probably the most important thing in a person.”

I don’t know if Vladimir Putin, the despotic ruler of Russia, ever laughs. But here is what Russian writer and philosopher Fyodor Dostoyevsky had to say on the subject:  “If you wish to glimpse inside a human soul and get to know a man, don’t bother analyzing his ways of being silent, of talking, of weeping, of seeing how much he is moved by noble ideas; you will get better results if you just watch him laugh. If he laughs well, he’s a good man.” 

Then there is this rather practical point of view from an apparent religious guru, Swami Satchidonanda, in his book THE YOGA SUTRAS: “We are not going to change the whole world, but we can change ourselves and feel free as birds. We can be serene even in the midst of calamities and, by our serenity, make others more tranquil. Serenity is contagious. If we smile at someone, he or she will smile back. And a smile costs nothing. We should plague everyone with joy. If we are to die in a minute, why not die happily, laughing?” 

So in this issue I have focused on cartoons and essays that give you a chance to exercise your smiler — i.e., the muscles that cooperate to produce a big ol’ smile when you laugh about something.

So sit back and relax. Take this opportunity to laugh on the inside, and then — what the heck — let it fly. Laugh out loud and enjoy it. 

Let’s get started.

 

 

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Poem 420   Prayer and a Professional Man -- copyrighted by Stan Paregien - 2015--11--10

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Poem 422   Cowboy's Memory Problem, A   -  copyrighted 2015--11--24 by Stan Paregien -- Page 1 of 2

Poem 422   Cowboy's Memory Problem, A   -  copyrighted 2015--11--24 by Stan Paregien -- Page 2 of 2

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In Observation of Tolerance

by Jiggs McDonald

(Mr. McDonald, a broadcaster in the National Hockey League’s Hall of Fame, made these statements before an audience in Toronto, Canada. Sent to me by a friend in Bakersfield, Calif., a town with a high threshold for tolerance. After all, they let Buck Owens & His Buckeroos live there for decades.)

I am truly perplexed that so many of my friends are against another mosque being built in Toronto. I think it should be the goal of every Canadian to be tolerant regardless of their religious beliefs. Thus the mosque should be allowed, in an effort to promote tolerance.

That is why I also propose that two nightclubs be opened next door to the mosque; thereby promoting tolerance from within the mosque. We could call one of the clubs, which would be gay, “The Turban Cowboy,” and the other, a topless bar, would be called “You Mecca Me Hot.”

Next door should be a butcher shop that specializes in pork, and adjacent to that an open-pit barbecue pork restaurant, called “Iraq of Ribs.”

Across the street there could be a lingerie store called “Victoria Keeps Nothing Secret,” with sexy mannequins in the window modeling the goods”, and on the other side a liquor store called “Morehammered.”

All of this would encourage Muslims to demonstrate the tolerance they demand of us.

[Someone else added this footnote: Yes we should promote tolerance, and you can do your part by passing this on. And if you are not laughing or smiling at this point . . . , it is either past your bedtime, . . . or its midnight at the oasis and time to put your camel to bed.]

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Poem 432-- Just Following Instructions   --  copyrighted by Stan Paregien Sr - 2016-01-23  -- Page 1 of 2

Poem 432-- Just Following Instructions   --  copyrighted by Stan Paregien Sr - 2016-01-23  -- Page 2 of 2

 

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Poem 440   A Solution for Marital Problems  -  by Stan Paregien Sr - Copyrighted April 15, 2016

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Vice-President Pence & President Donald Trump

doing a celebratory dance at their inauguration.

[Aw, relax. I’m a Republican . . . with a sense of humor.]

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See there, now don’t you feel better? I sure do hope so.

Best wishes,

Stan

RESOURCES FOR YOU:

Briar, Jeffrey.  The Laughter Yoga Book: Laugh Yourself to Better Health.

F., ED.  God Grant Me the Laughter: A Treasury of Twelve Step Humor.

Goodheart, Annette.  Laughter Therapy: How to Laugh About Everything in Your Life That Isn’t Really Funny. King, Brian.  The Laughing Cure: Emotional and Physical Healing: A Comedian Reveals Why Laughter Really Is the Best Medicine.

Laughter the Best Medicine: A Laugh-Out-Loud Collection of our Funniest Jokes, Quotes, Stories & Cartoons(Reader’s Digest): Editors of Reader’s Digest

Lloyd, Jessica.  Laugh Your Way to Enlightenment: The Art of Spiritual Laughter

Martin, James.  Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life.

McCloud, Ace.  Laughter Therapy: Discover How to Use Laughter and Humor for Healing, Stress Relief, Improved Health and Increased Emotional Wellbeing.

Peter, Laurence.  The Laughter Prescription. 

Pierce, Chonda.  Laughing in the Dark: A Comedian’s Journey through Depression. 

Trueblood, Elton. The Humor of Christ.

 

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Issue 345 – Facts and Fun

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Issue 345      –        January 4, 2017

As one radio broadcaster used to say, “Hello Americans and to all the ships at sea.”

Actually, I’ll just say hello to you. Thanks for stopping by for some facts and some fun. 

The following “Letter to the Editor” should get your hackles up, if you depend on Social Security for your income or known anyone else who does. This writer does a bang-up job of confronting our local Congressman, Mr. Vern Buchanan, with the injustice of the current system. And note how in his last statement he mentions the elephant in the Capital Building in Washington. That is the fact our beloved Congressmen set themselves up on an automatic pay raise of several thousands of dollars each and every year. That really stinks. Let ’em key their pay raises to the same standards ruling what people on Social Security get. 

So, please . . . print off a copy of this letter. Then write letters to all of your representatives and include a copy of that “Letter to the Editor.” 

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Hmmm. Maybe we ought to force President-Elect Trump (Republican), House Speaker Paul Ryan (Republican) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (Democrat) to get inside a man-sized “Get Along Shirt” for the next 60 days or so to make sure they are working together for us — the American people. It is far past time for our leaders to stand tall and work for the common good as Americans, not as partisans.

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Back in 2011, Peggy and I visited Bradenton and Sarasota, Florida as we thought about whether to retire somewhere on the Gulf coast. On the day shown above, Peggy took a photo of me visiting with another old geezer down in Sarasota about all there is to see and do here. To my surprise, my eloquence left this obvious Yankee from New York or New Jersey absolutely speechless.

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Now, friends and neighbors, this is what retirement is all about. Notice that I am not wearing a watch, either. Photo taken late in 2011 by Peggy Paregien when we spent a few nights in a hotel near the gulf at Santibel Island, just west of Fort Meyers, Florida.

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Amen, brother. Tell it like it is.

See ya next time.

— Stan

 

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Issue 344 – Adios 2016, Ola 2017

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Issue 344  –   January 3, 2017  –  Bradenton, Florida

Well, folks, we had quite a nice New Year’s Eve Celebration at our 55+ retirement community down here in Paradise. We ended this 31st day of December, 2016 basking in the sunshine of an 82 degree day. And then we gathered in our clubhouse for a catered dinner, followed by a dance. Pretty doggoned nice, we thought.

Peggy and I stuck around the festivities until about 10:00 pm. We home and started watching an old black-and-white movie about 10:30 p.m. The next thing I knew I woke up and the clock above our TV said 12:09. Peggy had fallen asleep, too. So I awoke her to tell her “Happy New Year!” And then we saundered off to bed. The best part of the day was this part, when I thanked God for being able to start another year with the love of my life.

One of the members of our Home Owners Association had asked me to take photos of our folks as they came through the door for the New Year’s Eve Party. So Peggy took down their names as they lined up and I took two shots of each group or individual. All of the 65+ pictures turned out well, except for four or five, and I appologize for that. I can blame those few  photos on my camera, not the camera operator. For, as you will see, the photo which someone else snapped of Peggy and me with my camera was one of those which was a bit off. Well, at least the price was right (i.e., free). 

I have posted below most of the photos that I took that evening. I hope you enjoy them. 

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That’s about it for now. My best wishes to each and every one of you for a wonderful year of 2017.

— Stan Paregien

 

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