A Periodic Publication – Issue 359 – Augtust 9, 2017
The National Cowboy Symposium will be having its 29th annual celebration of all things cowboy – music, poetry, papers, chuck wagon cookoff, cowboy church on Sunday morning – preceeded by authentic chuck wagon cooking in 40 or so dutch oven (iron kettles) placed on coals on the ground (north of the Civic Center). It is a busy place, with 6 stages running programs at the same time all day Friday and Saturday. Then they have a major show in the evening on Friday and Saturday nights from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. in the big auditorium. This event draws thousands of people to the Civic Center there in Lubbock, Texas each year. The date is Thursday evening, Sept. 7 through Sunday morning, Sept. 10th.
I just received word that I have been invited to perform there, again. This is, as best I can figure, my 17th year to be one of the maybe 75 to 100 entertainers. My first year to perform, thanks to the Director – Alvin Davis – was in 1991. As you can tell from the photo, below, things have changed a wee bit. But I still have that “Tom Mix Grizzly Hat” I bought that year.
Stan Paregien with singer, actress Patsy Montana in 1991
Movie stunt man and actor Richard Farnsworth
Singer R.W. Hampton and actor Barry Corbin
Fletcher Jowers with Stan Paregien in 1992
Actor Barry Corbin with Stan Paregien
Actor Dale Robertson with Stan Paregien in 1998
Stan Paregien with famed Western novelist Elmer Kelton in 1999
Stan Paregien with cowboy humorist and author Curt Brummett in 1999
Western novelist Dusty Richards with Paul Patterson (author and humorist; and Elmer Kelton’s beloved high school teacher) and Stan Paregien in 2000
Rancher and rodeo star Will Stearns and and wife/rancher/author/poet Rhonda (Sedgwick) Starnes with Stan Paregien in 2002
Actor James Drury of “The Virginian” TV show with Stan Paregien in 2002
Stan & Peggy Paregien
Olympics track star, movie stunt man and actor Dean Smith with actor Wilford Brimley in 2006.
Cowboy poets: Scott Bumgardner, Stan Paregien & Adrian Lopez in 2007
Stan Paregien in 2009
Stan & Peggy Paregien in 2011
On Friday my first performance will be in a “Stories & Poetry” session in Civic Center Room 107. Others include Carol Glover of Amarillo, TX and June Cathey of Martin, TX.
My second performance on Friday will be at 4:00 p.m. in a “Music” session in the Civic Center – Banquet drag” (i.e., bringing up the rear) at an outdoor “Music” session from 11 a.m. to 1:50 (long session). It will be in the “North Park” (just north of the Civic Center) at the Outdoor Stage. Those performing will be Craig Cortes and Zack Carey of Marathon, TX; Allan Chapman & Rodeo Kate of Ft. Worth; Stan Mahler of Olney, TX; Sid Hausman of NM; Bill Cate of Cleburne, TX; Mary Kaye of Escalante, UT; and your’s truly.
Then at 3:00 pm I will perform at a “Stories & Poetry” session in Room 107 of the Civic Center. Others performing will be ol’ saddle pal Roff Flake of Gilbert, AZ; and Gary Penny of Lorena, TX.
And my last performance will be at 4:00 pm in a “Poetry & Stories” session in the Civic Center, Banquet Hall 1-West. Other performers include David Hansford, Ft. Worth, TX; and Jeff Posey of Ft. Worth, TX.
Y’all come, if you can. The host hotel, where a great many of the performs will stay (including Peggy and me), is the MCM Elegante Hotel & Suites (formerly the Holiday Inn Hotel & Towers) at 801 Avenue Q in Lubbock (directly west of and near the Civic Center). 806-763-1200
I have placed online nearly 100 photos of me and folks I have met at the National Cowboy Symposium since 1991. Counting the 29th event this September, I will have had the pleasure and honor of performing at 17 or so of those annual events. I started when I was “not-so-old” and now I’m one of the senior Senior Citizens still telling stories and reciting poetry and doing a little music, all of the cowboy kind, of course. You may see all those photos at my Flickr account in the album titled “National Cowboy Symposium.” That is at:
Sam Elliott and “The Hero,”
His Latest Movie
Today, Aug. 9 th is the birthday of actor and all-around good guy Sam Elliott. Happy birthday, Sam, . . . and salute! He was born in 1944 in that old cow town of . . . Sacramento, CA. He started in films in 1969 and married Katharine Ross in 1984. Their stable marriage is unusual in glitzy Hollywood.
The first photo, above, shows Sam Elliott dressed in his familiar cowboy gear, as he had done a lot of fine Western roles over the years (“The Sacketts,” “Tombstone,” etc. The second photo is of Sam and his lovely and talented wife, actress Katherine Ross. She is best known for her first major role years ago as the love interest for both Paul Newman and Robert Redford in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” Ironically, Sam was in that movie as well, but they never got a chance to meet during the filming.
Ol’ Sam, with his deep and roughly melodious voice, has made a sizeable amount of money over the years doing voice over commercials for such outfits as the Dodge Ram pickup, the American Beef Raisers (“Beef. It’s what’s for supper.”), and others. He has worked pretty doggone steadily through all the years.
In my point of view, it is unfortunate that both Sam and Katharine (a minor role) got hooked up with the production of the 2017 movie, “The Hero.” The gist of the film is that he plays a has-been, once-famous cowboy actor who has reached old age with not much to show for it. He doesn’t have much money but he is able to drink like a fish and smoke pot to his heart’s content, a normal thing it seems . . . or at least there is no real objection to it. The self-center character has ruined his marriage with his wife (played by Katharine Ross), and made his daughter hate him with a deep passion. But he still has a few fans who stroke his ego from time to time. And he gets that old star-power feeling, temporarily, when a group of Western movie fans present him with their annual award at their convention. Yahoo. There is a constant street of vulgar language on the part of his character and that of a young woman — profane stand-up comedian — he beds down after he learns he is dying of cancer. Cut. And print. That’s about it.
This movie was a major disappointment for me. I felt sorry for Sam and Katharine for making such an odd, depressingly different film from previous ones. Frankly, I think the film had no redeeming virtues and I would warn fans of Sam to not get closer than the length of a football field from this dog.
Folks, Hold On to Your Forks!
by Stan Paregien
Copyrighted Aug. 8, 2017
Lonesome Omar died a while back
At the ripe old age of ninety-one.
He had no health issue to speak of,
So I guess maybe his work was done.
I knew him for years before I learned
His full name was Omar O’Dell.
At cowboying he was mighty good,
Though in his youth he was wild as hell.
He had the rough edges knocked off
By the Lord and sweet Lilly Ann.
One winter he caught pneumonia and
A wild bronc smashed his fighting hand.
Lilly Ann was ol’ Doc Hester’s nurse,
And she nursed and loved on Omar
Until he caught and married Sweet Lil’,
And he took up church and left the bars.
The ranch foreman let ’em live in a cabin
A hundred yards from his big house.
And for three years they reveled in life,
And Omar thanked God for his sweet spouse.
Twice a year they hosted all the cowhands
To a meal featuring tasty beef or pork.
At the end, before desert, she always said:
“Folks, be sure to keep your fork.”
That always meant something mighty good
Was coming next, like maybe a pecan pie
Or a chocolate cake – Omar’s favorite –
Decorated to delight any cowpoke’s eye.
There was a pond fed by a year-round spring
Where she liked to relax, bath and swim.
They figured two moccasins bit her arm
And she was dying so a rider went after him.
She died just after Omar arrived at a run,
And she spoke slowly so he would understand:
“My love, remain true to our Lord and
“Please, bury me with a fork in my hand.”
They say that was the last time Omar cried,
But vowed to honor her dying request.
They buried her next day near the cabin and
In her right hand a fine silver fork did rest.
Omar himself said a few words to the
Ranch folk on that solemn, sad day.
“Sweet Lilly led me to Christ and gave
“Her love to me in every single way.”
“We worshiped at Oak School House
“With church folk ever time we could.
“When we had dinners on the ground,
“They’d say, ‘Keep your fork, if ya would.'”
“By that they meant they was gonna
“Uncover a passel of dessert and such.
“It was gonna be something real good
“And we looked forward to it so much.”
“Sweet Lilly always liked that saying,
“And with guests at our cabin she’d blurt,
“‘You good folks, keep your fork!’
“Just before serving a fine dessert.”
“So yesterday I knew exactly what she meant
“When she asked to go with a fork in her hand.
“We both talked about loving each other more
“Up in heaven gathered in that promised land.”
Well sir, folks ’round here in Post, Texas
Loved ol’ Lonesome Omar, a friend to all.
He never remarried and usually drank his
Evening coffee by Lilly’s marker so small.
Ol’ Omar sorta adopted me ’bout 40 years ago,
A kid who didn’t know straight up about a cow.
So the cowboy skills I’ve gained in my own life
Were by Omar taking his time to show me how.
One day on the range we paused under an oak
And he told ’bout his wife and made me take a vow.
He said not to have no grief when the Lord took him,
‘Cause he’ been ready to go after Lilly died, anyhow.
So when he died in his cabin at 91, I knew
Exactly what he’d want us cowpokes to do.
We built him a casket, put an old fork in his hand,
And buried him next to Lilly in the morning dew.
Now neighbor, I don’t know what you’ll do,
But when I die and you lower me into the land,
I’d be mighty grateful to ya and plum proud
If’n you’d put an old fork in my right hand.
I wrote this poem, my 476th, in Bradenton, FL
on Aug. 8, 2017. It is based on a story by an
unknown writer that was posted online on the
Guideposts web site on Nov. 23, 2010.
See ya down the trail.