Category Archives: Cowboy Poetry

Issue 183 – Christmas Specials and More

Issue 183 November 6, 2019 An Occasional Newsletter Edited by Stan Paregien

Okay, you know it is that time again. Walmart, Target and even Home Depot have Christmas stuff on display and for sale. So, not to be left completely in the dust, I  offer these ideas for your kind consideration.

Big Book of Manatee County, Florida: Amazing Facts & Photos

This is my 19th book and the first in my “Big Book” series. I published it on Oct. 29, 2019 as a “Print-On-Demand” paperback. ISBN-10: 169901308X. It is printed and distributed by KDP, an arm of Amazon. The list price for this large format book (8.5 X 11”; 2.4 pounds) is $54.99. Yep, that’s an eye-popping price, but it is 389 pages long, with over 450 biographical sketches and some 430 photographs printed on premier paper.

I planned this book with these ideas in mind: (1) It should be written in a lively, easy-to-read style; (2) It should be an invaluable reference tool for full-time residents of Manatee County, Florida; (3) It should be an interesting and useful book for visitors to Manatee County; and (4) it should point out the good and the not-so-good points of living here. When it comes to an almanac-type history of Manatee County, Florida there is nothing that even comes close to this book in terms of readability, comprehensiveness or usefulness. Please visit Amazon.com to order this book.                    

The Day Jesus Died: Revised Edition. (2019)

$33.99  216 page paperback.   ISBN-13: 978-1799145066  Aug., 2019

I wrote this inspirational book in 1970. It had been out of print for 41 years before I published as an eBook in 2011. Then in 2019, I revised it as this paperback. The topics discussed in the illustrated book are just as current as today’s morning newspaper. One of the most important of the 18 chapters deals with “The Problem of Unbelief”. The author examines the meanings of “unbelief” and “faith,” and talks about ways that Christians and unbelievers can better communicate and help each other to understand their respective positions.  Also available as an eBook.

S. Omar Barker: Las Vegas, New Mexico’s Legendary Cowboy Poet (2019)  

$54.99  8 X 10”  367 page paperback     ISBN-13: 978-1078301985

This biography is the very first in-depth telling of the life of New Mexico’s celebrated cowboy poet, S. Omar Barker (1896-1985). He was greatly admired and loved. He managed to achieve that status even though he seldom left his beloved retreat in the mountains of northern NM.  His secret was that he made his living through his mailbox. Writing in virtual isolation, Omar sold his poetry, articles and novels to many different publishers. This biography contains 50 complete poems of his, but it is much more about his unusual life and the people and the culture of San Miguel County. His peers had him serve a term as president of the Western Writers of America. His is an inspiring story about a local boy who made it big without leaving home and who never lost that common touch.

Cowboy singer and poet Red Steagall (Ft. Worth, TX) wrote the Foreword, and ranch and writer Rhonda Sedgwick Stearns (Newcastle, WY) wrote the Introduction.  Also available as an eBook.

Don and Judy Betts seeing their photo on the dedication page for the first time.

Don & Judy did not know at the moment above that their bio is also in this book, along with nearly 500 others.

Here are a few other ideas for gifts, and these are eBooks:

COWBOY EARMUFFS

ISBN:  9781311267405    Published April 16, 2014. These 15 stories are just a few of those which he has written and performed, starting in 1991. This eBook contains such storytelling jewels as “The Cajun Submarine,” “My Cowdog Named ‘Sex’,” “The Grey Ghost,” “The Christmas Spirit,” “A Patoot Salute,” “A Lot of Bull,” and “Reincarnation Blues.”

A RAINY DAY READER (100 Non-Cowboy Poems)

ISBN: 9781310912474   Published: April 3, 2014.  The poems range from the serious to the hilariously funny, from those with an academic bent to those with little redeeming social value (except for a smile or two). Great for that rainy day read. Poems include “N. Scott Momaday: A Literary Legend,” “Had Any Lately?,” “My Banker Ain’t No Friend of Mine,” “Cat Heaven,” “Smart Pills,” “The Origin of NASCAR,” “Garage Sale Blues,” “That Damned St. Francis Dam” and many more.

BOGGY DEPOT SHOOTOUT

The Austin Chronicles, Book 1. ISBN: 9781310788215   Published: February 25, 2014.  This was Stan’s first volume in a projected series of Western novels. Book 2 is also available. This volume follows the Austin family and how they coped with the unique challenges of living in the West just after the end of America’s Civil War in 1865. The main character in this book is young Daniel Austin, a Confederate veteran. Their trials climax with a shootout at Boggy Depot, Indian Territory.

WOODY GUTHRIE: HIS LIFE, MUSIC & MYTH

ISBN: 9781301025206   Published: September 29, 2012. Approximately 110,670 words. Woody Guthrie was born and reared in the hardest of times. But as he became an adult, he took advantage of America’s eagerness to mythologize the working man into a grassroots hero (as in John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath). He adopted the persona—the music, the speech, the look and the habits–of the poor working class he observed in his travels. He hardly ever stepped out from behind that image, though he was in fact an intellectual with a gift for writing poetry, novels, and songs that connected with the young and the old, the educated elite and the nearly illiterate.

The Okie from Okemah, Oklahoma may one day be seen as one of the most creative persons in the world. Though he died way too young, he left a treasure chest filled with his songs and poetry, his books of fiction, his cartoons and artwork, and his large number of audio recordings. Without question, he was the most prolific writer of folk songs America has ever seen. Don’t miss reading this carefully researched biography of the man who wrote “This Land Is Your Land” and some 3,000 more songs.

Okay, neighbors, you’ve stuck with me to the end of the commercial. So here’s a “no charge” bonus  and no “extra shipping and handling fees” like the TV hucksters like to add on a second order of their gizmo.

My following poem pokes fun at “free verse” or “non-rhyming” poetry. No harm intended.

By the way, I apologize in advance for the . . . c-r-a-z-y . . . format that WordPress created for me on this poem. I’m afraid they have “improved” this program to the point I can’t use it. Not the way I want to, anyhow. Grrrrrrr. — Stan

Ode to Unrhymed Poetry & Those

Who Write Such

by Stan Paregien  – Nov. 3, 2019

My first performance at a major poetry event

Was back in ’91 out in ol’ Colorado Springs.

The Great Pikes Peak Cowboy Poetry Gathering

Featured poetry, music, stories and other things.

For three days, this well-bankrolled celebration

Featured known and unknown folks like me.

Each night, though, the big guns came out — like

Riders in the Sky and ol’ Waylon Jennings you see.

Well, friends, each afternoon it featured an open mike

For any cowboy types to step up and entertain.

The first afternoon a feller in sandals read somethin’

That, to this day, I find mighty hard to explain.

He looked kinda like a college professor on hard times,

But he said he had a poem of his own creation to share.

For about 15 minutes he said somethin’ or ‘nother ‘bout

His soul, ecology, and some philosophy he did lay bare.

Now, I had been educated plum past others in my clan,

But about his message I couldn’t make heads nor tails.

I removed my Stetson and scratched my noggin twice,

And concluded the stranger had run way off the rails.

Later, a more literated cowboy poet than me explained

That gent had used a literary device called “free verse.”

The term made sense ‘cause who would pay for such?

But over the years I’ve found the situation getting worse.

Fact is, there’s a cowboy poet near San Diego town

Who writes unrhymed poet and gets a lot of press.

And another cowboy  poet whose name begins with Z,

Is in great demand so I’m jealous I have to confess.

Now, let me be clear: I’m like most folks, I’d guess.

I believe in freedom of speech and the Golden Rule.

So I cut folks a lot of slack in how they live and such,

After all, I didn’t come from the deep end of the gene pool.

I’m tellin’ you, pards, all this fuzzy stuff being written

Under the brand free verse, unrhymed poetry and more

Just leaves me with a throbbing king-sized headache and,

Maybe more than anything, it is all such a doggoned bore.

When I read poetry, I don’t want to have to use Google,

A collegiate dictionary, or Wikipedia to understand.

I like S. Omar Barker, Baxter Black, Red Steagall,

Badger Clark and others of the rhyming brand.

My wife says, “Don’t knock it ‘til you try it.

So I close with this stanza of words unrhymed.

I will admit free verse material

Makes me think and wonder.

“Say what?”

“Why bother?”

And, “Huh?”

**************************************************

Yep, that’s our kid. We called him “Gene” (our middle name is “Eugene” — probably from my maternal grandfather’s brother, Eugene Arthur Cauthen. Heck, I didn’t make that connection until this week when I stumbled across some information on Ancestry.com. We always called him “Uncle Arthur.” ). Anyhow, in basic training for the Air Force they call you by your first name. Period. And he got to like it, so folks who know him from 1989 or so call him Stan. And for some time now around our house it has been this: Lt. Colonel Stan Paregien.

Well, folks, I guess that’s about it for this go-round. I’ve already told you more than I know. But I will add that all of what I’ve said is absolutely true or pert nearly so (as old-timers liked to say).

Adios,

Stan Paregien

Issue 182 – My Two New Books

Issue 182 – My Two New Books – August 20, 2018 – Email: stan-usa@outlook.com

Hello, everyone. Just wanted to let you know that I now have two books available in paperback from Amazon.com.

1st Book: S. Omar Barker: Las Vegas New Mexico’s Legendary Cowboy Poet.

This, my 17th book, is a biography of this popular writer, author and humorist. Besides his several books of poetry, he also wrote novels for young people about life on a ranch in the high mountains of northern New Mexico. This award-winning writer and his wife Elsa Barker (who also wrote Western novels for young people) each served a term as President of the prestigious Western Writers of America organization.

I started this book in 1994. It was published on July 17, 2019, 25 years later. Took me a wee bit longer than I though it would. But if I do say so myself, it is a good ‘un. Omar Barker’s parents and siblings moved from Virginia to NM in 1889. The parents and all eleven children became solid citizens.

It is an 8 X 10 paperback on good quality paper, and has 367 pages. It features 165 photos & graphics, many in full color, and contains 52 poems. Cowboy singer/writer Red Steagall of Texas wrote the Foreword, and cowgirl rancher/author Rhonda Sedgewick Stearns of Wyoming wrote the Introduction.

It is also available as a Kindle eBook on Amazon.com. That, too, is in full color.

2nd Book: The Day Jesus Died (Revised Edition).

That book and I go way back. In the 1960s I served as the preaching minister of the University Church of Christ in Las Cruces, N.M. I preached twice each Sunday morning, spoke on the local radio station, and preached each Sunday evening. I also was a freelance writer, and I had many articles (from my sermons) published in magazines like Christian Standard (Cincinnati, OH) and the Firm Foundation (Austin, Texas).

Out of all that speaking and writing, I culled out 18 articles and sent a book proposal to Reuel Lemmons, the editor of Firm Foundation. They published it as a hardback in 1970. My first book. 150 pages. It was out of print within five years, and stayed that way until 2011 (36 years later) when I revised it and published it as an eBook.

That brings us to right now. My 3rd edition of these important lessons was published by Amazon as a 216 page paperback in full color and printed-on-demand. It was published Aug. 15, 2019 – my 18th book. The eBook version is also still available.

I have several other books in various stages of production. Look for one more by October, 2019. That will be a large paperback (8 1/2 X 11) and in full-color book. Over 400 biographies and some 400 photos. It is a smaller version of my eBook on MANATEE COUNTY, FLORIDA published in 2017.

Below you’ll find the front and back sides of my new business card.

Well, friends and neighbors, . . . I have a few honey-do jobs which must be done “rat now” and “rat well,” if you catch my drift and my new accent.

Adios until next time. — Stan

Issue 181 – Classic Cars, Part 2

July 19, 2019 Issue 181 An Occasional Newsletter

Hello, I’m b-a-c-k . . . after a break to wrap up a brand new book of mine. I’ll have an announcement about that in a few days. All I will say right now is that I starting researching it in . . . 1994. Yep, true. So it only took me 25 years to complete the project. I just wish to heck I had been working by the hour. Even at the hourly wage paid a new Greeter at Walmart , would be rolling in extra cash. As it is, I have spent countless hours and have had many hundreds of dollars in related expenses (travel, gas, motels, food, books, etc.). So unless this book takes off like a rocket and makes the NEW YORK TIMES “Bestseller” list, I will never get out of this deep hole. Sad, but true. Ah, but then there is the deep satisfaction of a job well done.

Hmmmm. Right now I would probably setting for a little less satisfaction and a whole lot more cash. But, enough of my dream world. That book will be issued both as a PAPERBACK book and as an eBOOK. Stay tuned.

Oh, hey, we’ll get back to the classic cars in a moment. But I need to let you know that know about a big sale. Noooo, it is not another Amazon Prime thing or some department store’s every other week fantastic special. It is the once-a-year “One-Half Off” sale by my major eBook distributor, SMASHWORDS.COM ( https://www.smashwords.com/). Literally hundreds of authors are participating, including little ol’ me. And here is how to go right to my eBooks with them: https://www.smashwords.com/books/search?query=paregien

All of these books of mine are 50% off of the regular price . . . until July 31, 2019. That includes these titles:

More On Classic Cars

That pretty lady is Christell Ndayisaba, the recent bride of our long-time friend Jean Ndayisaba. They live in Norman, Oklahoma but are both originally from Rwanda, Africa. Jean received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Oklahoma Christian College and now works for Boeing Aircraft in OKC. That 1939 cop car is a nice fixture out in front of the Manatee County Sheriff’s Department building in Bradenton, FL. – Photo by Stan Paregien in 2019.
This “two-headed” 1955 or 1956 Ford(s) is quite an attention-getter. It is located on 9th St. West in Bradenton, FL. Photo by Stan Paregien, 2019.

Well, that’s about it for today. Thanks for stopping by. Adios — Stan

Issue 377 – Time Changes Pert Near Everything

Logo -- The Paregien Journal -- 2018--01--18 -- 800 X 195 pix X 400 dpi

Issue 377          Sept. 29, 2018           An Occasional Blog  

Time Changes Pert Near Everything

The great western crooner, Tommy Duncan, sang a song during the 1940s titled “Time Changes Everything.” It is a ballad about lost love, that he thought she would always love him. But over time, that changed. Then he thought he would never get over, but . . . shazam . . . time changed that. Finally, he wishes her well as he rides off in the sunset with his new love. Change, change, change.

Well, there’s a lot of truth in that ol’ Bob Wills western swing ballad.  But to state it a little more accurately and in the words of my unhousebroken cousin Bubba, “Time changes pert near everything.”

For example, you graduate from high school and your class fractures into minute pieces. Some kids go off to college or off to the military or off elsewhere for a job  . . . and a few just, well, go off. One day you realize not even Humpty Dumpty can’t put those pieces back together. 

Or you reach that mid-life crisis point where you must face up to the fact that you’re never going to be President of the United States. Heck, you’re not even going to be a leader in your Lions Club or your church. Last week you got a letter confirming your rich uncle left you his favorite poodle, but nothing else. And chances are high you aren’t going to see your own children reach any high level of success. And you’ve just about concluded you just ain’t very good lookin’ no mo. 

Shoot-fire, y’all, it gets worse. You become a senior citizen somewhere about 60 or 65. That’s when you notice the wheels starting to fall off your wagon, and you never were very mechanically inclined. You sorta think you’re a cut above most old folks, . . . until you count the number of prescription pills you take each day. And you tally up the aches and pains and dysfunctional parts of your anatomy and realize that if a part of you doesn’t hurt, it is probably not working.

Yep, time changes . . . pert near every aspect of our lives.

That’s what I’m talking about, friends, the changes that will not be ignored. They trip us on our way to the bathroom and slap us up side of the head to get our attention.

Okay, fellow travelers, I freely confess I kinda feel like I have the Elephant-of-Change sitting on my chest. Maybe if I scratch its back that Dumbo will go squat somewhere else, but he is probably like my nutty brother-in-law, Alex. He will be back much more often than I’d like.

CHANGE 1

Well, here is the first of several changes I am making: I will no longer give public performances of my storytelling (i.e., cowboy poetry, stories, songs and guitar playing). That tough decision comes after having had a heap of fun doing those things since about 1991 — about 27 years worth. In that regard, here is a poem I performed on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018 during my very last session at the National Cowboy Symposium & Celebration in Lubbock, Texas. I call this poem, my 488th, “On Hitting a Wall at 77.”

Poem 488 - On Hitting a Wall at 77 - by Stan Paregien - July 20, 2018 Page 1 of 2

Poem 488 - On Hitting a Wall at 77 - by Stan Paregien - July 20, 2018 Page 2 of 2

2018--09--06 01 Lubbock, TX - National Cowboy Symposium

 

2018--09--06 05 Lubbock, TX - National Cowboy Symposium2018--09--06 06 Lubbock, TX - National Cowboy Symposium

2018--09--07 05 Lubbock, TX - - National Cowboy Symp - LeRoy & Sandra Jones - by Stan Paregien

2018--09--07 09 Lubbock, TX - - NCS - Stan & Peggy Paregien with Sandra & LeRoy Jones

2018--09--07 13 Lubbock, TX - - NCS - Janice Deardorff performing - by Stan Paregien

2018--09--08 02--C Lubbock, TX - - NCS - Stan Paregien - by Peggy Paregien

2018--09--08 02--E Lubbock, TX - - NCS - Robert Beene - by Peggy Paregien

2018--09--08 03 Lubbock, TX - - NCS - Joel Nelson - by Stan Paregien

2018--09--08 05 Lubbock, TX - - NCS - Chris Isaacs - by Stan Paregien

2018--09--08 06 Lubbock, TX - - NCS - Pipp Gillette - by Stan Paregien

2018--09--09 03 Lubbock, TX - - Stan Paregien & Perry Williams - by Peggy Paregien

2018--09--09 08 Lubbock, TX - - National Cowboy Symposium

CHANGE 2

My second change is this: I’m am saying adios and farewell to all my social media.

Yes, Virginia, ’tis true. I shut down — i.e., deleted — my Facebook account just last week. Oh, yeah, I’ll miss seeing some photos of our kids and grandkids and great-grandkids that somehow never get seen to us in any other way. And I’ll miss that good clean joke which crossed my screen every once in a while, but life goes on. And so do I.

Oh, I guess I should mention those somewhere over 300 folks who friended me on Facebook. Some of those folks are really good friends, with a few of them dating back from six or more decades ago. Those I’ll miss a bunch, but . . . I still have a telephone (yes, a smarter-than-me phone and a land-line) and the U.S. Post Office still delivers to my mailbox (though 90 % of which I get is non-personal) . . . so I can be reached. Now I admit to being blissfully unaware of just how 40 or so of my “Friends” on Facebook had any real connection with me. Too much drama. Too much trivia. Just . . . way too much.

CHANGES THAT REALLY HURT

Part of the big changes I’m seeing in my life have to do with the passing of close friends and relatives . . . and the demise of so many people who, though not close friends, were folks I knew at one time or have corresponded with for a while or  people for whom I had a long-distance and long-standing admiration.

In this blog I just want to mention some of our friends we always saw at the National Cowboy Symposium and elsewhere, but who have crossed over that Big Divide. Here is just part of that list:

**********  DUSTY & PAT RICHARDS

 

 

The first time I met Ronald Lee (“Dusty”) Richards was in 1984 in Branson, Missouri. A few weeks earlier I had met Jory Sherman at a writers convention in Oklahoma City. It was Jory who told me all about the great folks in the Western Writers of America and about that year’s convention in a short time in Branson. At his urging, I traveled there alone and walked into the host hotel’s lobby. There an elderly man looked at my cowboy hat, walked over to me and introduced himself to me. It was none other than Thomas (“Tommy”) Thompson, the author of numerous Western articles and novels and movie and TV scripts. 

A short time later I met a fledgling writer from Springdale named Dusty Richards, and we hit it off right away. Between the WWA, other writer conventions and the National Cowboy Symposium in Lubbock,  Peggy and I saw Dusty and Pat many, many times over the years. He was a “late bloomer” who did not have his first book published until 1992, when he was 55 years old. But, golly Bill, he caught on fire there. He wrote some 150 western novels, many under various publishing “house names.” One of those novels, The Mustanger & the Lady, was made into a movie with the title, “Painted Woman.”

2000-011--TX-Lubbock--DustyRichards-PaulPatterson-StanParegien

Paul Patterson was the high school literature teacher who became a mentor out in West Texas to none other than the late, great Western novelist Elmer Kelton. 

2002-051-- Lubbock, TX -- Pat and Dusty Richards - National Cowboy Symposium

Those times are now behind us, wonderful memories we will cherish. Dusty and Pat Richards were in a horrific car accident in December of 2017. They were hospitalized in critical condition. Pat died from her injuries on Jan. 11, 2018 and Dusty left this life one week later on Jan. 18, 2018. He was 80 years old.

Dusty and Pat loved their adopted home state of Arkansas, as well as Arizona and the great Southwest. A writer for the family posted this on Dusty’s Facebook page:

“What can we say about Dusty? The real question is what can’t we say about him? To say that he was larger than life is the grandest of understatements. He was an irresistible force and an unmovable object all rolled into one, a personality wider than the western skies he wrote about. He was an eternal optimist, a man who woke up each and every day renewed and ready for the next job, the next challenge, the next good fight. He was a father, a patriarch, a mentor of the first order.

“He toured the  country teaching and encouraging new and experienced writers alike, challenging them to follow his lead, tell the next inspiring story, pen the next Great American Novel. He was a fighter, a lover, a joker, an entrepreneur, a canny businessman, a television and radio personality, a famous rodeo announcer, a cowboy, and, perhaps above all else, a master storyteller. Dusty was everything that fit under his trademark ten-gallon hat and so much more, and we could keep writing for a year and not do him justice.”

**********  HENRY TORRES

Torres, Henry - died at age 80 in a hospital in Rio Rancho, NM

**  Henry Torres, a rancher and historian and cowboy poet, died on April 6, 2018 at the age of 80. He was born to Hispanic parents on Nov. 7, 1937. He grew up in that farming and ranching family, with most of his time spent on ranches in New Mexico — from Deming to Las Cruces and up to Silver City.  He had two beloved sisters, Beatrice and Elsie, where were some older than he. Henry joined the U.S. Navy right after graduating from high school, but came back in 1960 to again work for and with his father. 

This cowpoke went above his learnin’ and married Carolyn Shores in 1971. Henry spent much of his adult career ranching on the side and working as a Brand Inspector for the New Mexico Livestock Board. He retired as the Supervisor in Silver City in 1996. A few years before his retirement, he got interested in writing and publically performing cowboy poetry. He was of the founders and supporters of the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Museum in Las Cruces, NM. And he was the primary force behind the creation of their annual “Cowboy Days” celebration.

In 2002, Henry Torres felt very blessed when he received an “American Cowboy Culture” award at the National Cowboy Symposium in Lubbock, Texas. In 2016, he was recognized in a ceremony at the Las Cruces New Mexico Farm & Ranch Museum for his many years of service to the industry and to the museum. In 2011, Carolyn Torres was seriously sick and wanted to move to Nevada to spend her last days close to their children and grandchildren, and they left their beloved New Mexico. She died in 2014, so Henry moved back to Silver City. He lived and died as a man of his word, a cowboy to the bone.

**********  GUY W. LOGSDON

Peggy and I first met Guy Logsdon in about 1990 at the National Cowboy Symposium in Lubbock, Texas. He had a both at the convention center where he sold new and used and collectable books. When he went back to Tulsa and started “The Oklahoma Cowboy Poetry Gathering” at the National Western Museum & Heritage Center in Oklahoma City. He was kind enough to invite me to perform there several times. Now he is gone.

 Guy William Logsdon was born on May 31, 1934 in Ada, Okla. He grew up there, played bass fiddle and then the guitar, in the Logsdon family band. Then added singing and storytelling to his skills. He graduated from Ada High School and then attended and graduated from East Central State University there is Ada. While getting educated, he also got married to Phyllis Landers from up the road in Okemah (hometown of the legendary singer and songwriter Woody Guthrie).

1991-014 GuyLogsdon-StanP-closeup

 Later, Guy received M.S. degree in Library Science and his Doctorate of Education from the University of Oklahoma. His first job was as Director of Libraries at prestigious University of Tulsa. Over time he became a recognized expert in three very different fields: (1) the life and music of Woody Guthrie; (2) Western swing music and the lives of Bob & Johnnie Lee Wills; and (3) old-time authentic cowboy music. 

Cover----Guy Logsdon--800 px

Dr. Logsdon wrote the liner notes for both Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger compilation CDs which were produced by Smithsonian Folkways. His books include “The University of Tulsa: A History, 1882-1972;” “The Whorehouse Bells Were Ringing and Other Songs Cowboys Sing;” “Ada, Oklahoma, Queen City of the Chickasaw Nation: A Pictorial History;” “Saddle Serenaders;” “The Flip of the Coin; the Story of Tommy Allsup;” and  “Woody’s Road; Woody Guthrie’s Letters Home, Drawings, Photos, and Other Unburied Treasures” co-authored with Mary Jo Guthrie Edgmon (Woody’s youngest sister). Guy Logsdon himself was the subject of Stan Paregien’s eBook, “Guy W. Logsdon: Award-winning Folklorist,” and a main source of first-hand information for Stan’s book, “Woody Guthrie: The Man, His Music & His Myth.”

 Guy Logsdon died Feb. 5, 2018 after a short illness. He and Phyllis had been married for 64 years. One of their daughters, Cindy Logsdon Black, is married to and performs with noted cowboy poet and storyteller Baxter Black.

**********  GAIL T. BURTON

Burton, Gail Travis - 1929 to 2017 - cowboy poet in Benton, ARPeggy and I first met Gail T. Burton (Benton, AR) at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Center in Oklahoma City in about 1991. That was when Dr. Guy W. Logsdon of Tulsa organized the very first “Oklahoma Cowboy Poetry Gathering.” He and I each performed there, and we would perform together at many other events over the years. Burton began writing and performing his own cowboy poetry and before he stopped he had created more than 500 poems.  He also wrote a book titled, “Cow Pies and Candle Lights” (1999).

Gail Travis Burton died on Feb. 22, 2017 at his home in Benton, Arkansas at the age of 88. He had been born Jan. 4, 1929 in Temple, OK. Ten months after his birth the United States and much of the world would be floundering the economic disaster we now call “The Great Depression.” Well, Gail grew up and served Uncle Sam as a soldier in the Army and was stationed in Korean from 1946 to 1948. Later, he took specialized training at Oklahoma State University and spent the rest of his life as a Fire Protection Specialist in California and in Arkansas.

g2000-88

Peggy Paregien took this photo at the 1st Annual Oklahoma Poetry Gathering at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Center in Oklahoma City. LEFT TO RIGHT: Okay, here’s where my memory has slipped a cinch. I cannot remember the fellah at the left, seems maybe he was a professor at Oklahoma Panhandle State University way out at Goodwell, Okla. Anybody know his name? That bare-faced gent 2nd from left is , . . . uh . . . give me a second . . . oh, yeah. Me. Stan Paregien. And the lady is Francine Robison, the pride of Tecumseh, OK. And on the far right is Gail T. Burton.

Burton was a deacon at First Baptist Church of Benton. He was also a Master Mason and a member of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers. In addition, he was a member of the Missouri Cowboy Poet’s Association, and a charter member of the Academy of Western Artists. He was survived by his wife of 65 years, Barbara Burton and their five  children, 15 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.

How Far Is It to Bethlehem?

by Gail T. Burton of Benton, AR

“How far is it to Bethlehem,”
a young cowboy asked his pard’
while riding ‘cross the open range
as the snow was falling hard.
It was coming on to Christmas,
and the two were out alone,
pushing cows to lower pasture
where the blizzard hadn’t blown.

“I know it’s past Chicago,
crosst’ the ocean anyhow;
I still don’t know just where it’s at,
but a far piece I’d allow.”
His partner rode a while in thought,
like he hadn’t even heard.
“It’s a right far piece from Heaven,
you can take me at my word.”

That’s all he said for ‘most an hour,
while they hazed the cattle slow,
but his thoughts were on the Christ child
as they trudged on through the snow.
On the thought of that first Christmas,
and the gift God sent to earth,
of the truth of Jesus’ coming,
and the blessing of His birth.

While riding on he understood
Where these thoughts of Christmas lead,
And bringing words up from his heart
The old cowboy softly said:
“I’ve no clue to mark the distance,
of the mile, ….. I’m at a loss.
How far is it to Bethlehem?
It’s just half way to the cross.”

© 2004, Gail T. Burton

 

I reckon that’s more’n enough rambling for one session. Thank you, sincerely, for stopping by. Adios for now. 

 

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Issue 370 – Christmas Cheer

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The Paregien Journal     –     Issue 370     –     Dec. 4, 2017

Christmas Cheer

Ah, here we are. Another holiday season with both Christmas and New Years Day fast approaching. Amid the din of noisy TV and radio commerials and the ads packing each issue of our newspaper, there is still an opportunity now and then to push the pause button and reflect on what the Christmas season means to me and to our society.

Oh, sure, there are those who see Christmas as just a time for more than a “cup of cheer,” more like a keg of beer and pretzels and tacos. Their anthem is,. “Let’s party! And, oh yeah, Merry Christmas and all that stuff.”

I was reminded recently about how a great many Americans and people in other cultures around the world still pause on Christmas to speak a word of kindness or to actually do a neighborly act for someone as a way of honoring the man Jesus who outgrew that manger in Bethleham and devoted his life to doing good for everyone.

On Saturday, November 17, 2017, we were guests of our son and his wife at whole day walking around Silver Dollar City near Branson, Missouri. People were there for the amusement rides, the Christmas parade, the lights and the vast selection of food items. In addition, though, at about 1:30 pm we joined an overflow crowd (I’d guess about 500 people) who found seats in the beautiful theater there. And then we were all treated to a live play, a really fine production of Charles Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol.” Like many of you grey-haired or no-haired folks, I have seen several versions of that play. 

However, I must say that this production on that day was the best I’ve ever experienced. The actors were simply superb. The orchestra was magnificent. The sets were like candy for the eyes. And the audience, . . . well, they clapped enthusiastically at the right times and wiped their eyes, as did I, at the quiet and emotional moments. I was so glad I got to experience that production and to do so with family and friends. Despite the fridgid north wind and the occasional rain, I was overjoyed to be there. Again I was reminded that people really do enjoy good stories with good moral values — honesty, loyalty to family and friends, sacrificial love of dedicated mothers and fathers for their children, and that still wonderful bond of community between people of diverse backgrounds.

     *  *  *

On Sunday, Dec. 3rd, we were out kicking around with friends Michael & Penny Letichevsky. Since Peggy and I had outfitted in “Christmas colors,” we all stopped by the Desoto Mall in Bradenton for Penny to take a few photos to try to get one we could insert in a few Christmas cards.

This shot was a great one, by our standards, but it came in 2nd place.

2017--12--03 03B Bradenton, FL - Stan & Peggy Paregien by Penny Letichevsky

The “1st Place” photo was totally unexpected. Ol’ Santa himself left his station where he was available for photos with kids . . . and sneaked up behind us and got into one of our photos. We love it, because we were blissfully ignorant he was right behind us and getting in on the fun.

2017--12--03 03A Bradenton, FL - Stan & Peggy Paregien by Penny Letichevsky

Yep, as you can probably tell from the above photo, both Peggy and I have trimmed down considerably over the last four months or so. I feel better now than I have in many years. And prettier, too. Yuk-yuk.

2017--12--03 09 Bradenton, FL - Stan and Peggy Paregien - by Penny Letichevsky

And Now, . . . A Word About

Football

Sooners.

Yes, as in the University of Oklahoma Sooners football team. They sport a record of 12 wins and one loss. And on New Years Day they will play the University of Georgia Bulldogs at the one-and-only Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. Later that night, the Clemson Tigers will play the Univerity of Alabama Tide. Then the winners of those two games will play for the National Championship.

2017--10--12 Logo for the University of Oklahoma Sooners

Congratulations to the OU football players, to their coaches and to their supporters — “the Sooner Nation.” I am of the humble, unbiased opinion that the Sooners will neuter the Dogs in their semi-finals game and will finally reign as the National Champions.

2017--10--13 Logo for the University of Oklahoma Sooners

After all, we have a not-too-secret weapon in our quarterback, Baker Mayfield, likely the next Heisman Trophy winner as the best football player in America, the world and our universe.

2017--10--10 Baker Mayfield, quarterback at Oklahoma University Sooners

Go Sooners!!

 

Betts, Don -- Wagging a Yuletide Dogs Tale -- 2017-12-25 Page 1 of 3

[Don Betts’ poem, Wagging a Yuletide Dogs Tale]

Betts, Don -- Wagging a Yuletide Dogs Tale -- 2017-12-25 Page 2 of 3

 

Betts, Don -- Wagging a Yuletide Dogs Tale -- 2017-12-25 Page 3 of 3

Bravo, Mr. Betts. Another amazingly creative and always linguistically challenging poem. Keep up the fine work, my dear friend.

2012--Christmas--tree--Blondie Cartoon--Dagwood trims the new tree--2012--12--16

[“Blondie” cartoon about an ugly Christmas tree and how Dagwood made it uglier.]

Christmas Trees Don’t Have To Be Perfect

To Be Beautiful

 By Curtis K. Shelburne

My earliest Christmas memories are mostly wrapped around our family’s Christmas trees.

 I remember Mom making creamy hot chocolate and my sister stacking the spindle of the old record player with an inch-high pile of vintage vinyl Christmas music by Nat King Cole, Perry Como, Tennessee Ernie Ford, and the Norman Luboff Choir.

 Most years the tree had already been bought at (where else?) Amarillo’s Boy Scout Troop 80 Christmas tree lot. I was a member of Troop 80 and thus expected to help sell trees each year. My younger brother was not, but he was a wheeler-dealer sort who liked selling trees and often, as I recall, managed to pawn off more trees than most of the bona fide boy scouts. Jacob (I mean, Jim) always felt Jacob of old settled for far too little when he sold his hungry brother Esau that bowl of stew and only got a birthright for it. Jim would’ve held out for hard cash and then the birthright at the end as a balloon payment.

Christmas Tree-- imperfect trees are okay

[photo of a not-too perfect tree]

We’d lean the tree in the garage for a day or a few on its amputation-site stump in a bucket of water while it waited to be lit and glorified. Anchoring the tree in the stand was a chore. Jim and I would crawl under the scratchy boughs and slide around on our wood floor to turn each screw just the right amount. It was never straight the first time.

Then my 15-years-older sister, the unquestioned head honcho of the process, would ascend to perform the task of highest honor as she put on the lights (bubble lights, snowball lights, and all), a job in later years graciously bequeathed to me.

 Then we would hang the ornaments, a tedious task but nothing like as bad as the final stage in the process: hanging the icicles.

I don’t see those long, thin, silvery strands of foil or plastic, those “icicles,” on trees much anymore. I hope never again to have to put them on one of mine.

1940s Christmas tree - with lots of tinsels

[ photo of a 1940s style Christmas tree with lots of icicles]

According to my sister, they had to be hung with great care, one at a time. Ten million or so came in a box. You’d drag one out of the box and carefully place it over a tree branch. It was essential, my sister assured us, to start at the back near the trunk and make sure the icicle hung straight down on both sides of the branch. Straight down. No clumps. Which is why Jim’s preferred method of grabbing a paw-full of icicles and launching the whole wad in the general direction of the tree was sternly forbidden. No. One at a time. Until you froze there, died there, decayed there, and Christmas never came, and it was spring and you were still hanging icicles. One at a time.

 I don’t know what we thought would happen—apart from sure death—if we didn’t hang the icicles exactly right. Would Santa’s sleigh suddenly crash in flight and the FAA later determine and publish for the whole world full of weeping giftless children to see that the cause was icing—not on the sleigh but improper tree icicling by two Shelburne boys at 125 N. Goliad, Amarillo, Texas, whose wanton and reckless disregard had killed Santa?

I’m sure we never did it “right.” But I remember wandering into the living room as a little lad clad in those great PJs that came complete with feet, lying down almost under the tree, looking up through its branches, and drinking in the beauty.

By God’s grace, Christmas trees don’t have to be perfect to be beautiful. Neither do lives.

[Copyright 2011 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.]

  * * * * *

an-christmas tree

Christmastree-dog

 * * *

Poem 139 - The Truth About Santa Claus -- copyrighted by Stan Paregien on Feb 1, 1992

[ Stan Paregien’s poem, “The Truth About Santa” ]

Poem 393 -- A Holiday Greeting -- copyrighted by Stan Paregien on Oct 13, 2014

[Stan Paregien’s poem, “A Holliday Greeting” ]

Poem 402 Christmas Time in Florida - by Stan Paregien Nov 14, 2014

[ Stan Paregien’s poem, “Christmas Time in Florida” ]Poem by S Omar Barker - One Snowy Christmas Eve - in THE ROUNDUP for Dec, 1978, page 7
[ S. Omar Barker’s poem, “One Snowy Christmas Eve” ]S Omar Barker, 'The Cowboy's Christmas Prayer'
[ S. Omar Barker’s poem, “A Cowboy’s Christmas Prayer” ]

2017--12--03 06 Bradenton, FL - Be still and know that I am God - Psalm 46 v10

[ “Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10 ]

* * *

Honor Roll of Visitors

to The Paregien Journal

http://www.paregienjournal.com

I enjoy writing, as all of you can attest. My first published article was in the student newspaper at the first college I attended, back in the fall of 1961. Since then I have had hundreds of articles appear in scores of different newspapers and magazines. And three hardback books, two paperback books and 15 eBooks later, I haven’t lost that drive to find ideas worthy of sharing with all of you.

There is something singularly satisfying about my little blogs published as the title of THE PAREGIEN JOURNAL at http://www.paregienjournal.com. That satisfaction comes from knowing that on any given day there may be people visiting my site from all over the world. Instantly. Amazing.

I am pleased and thankful that – just since January 1, 2017 — people from 72 nations visited this web page. Heck, I don’t even know where many of them are on a map of the world. But here is that list as of Nov. 10, 2017:

Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Estonia, European Union, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong SAR China, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Latvia, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, Moldova, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland,Thailand, Trinidad & Tobago, Turkey, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Venezuela, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe.

Thanks to all those who live in other nations and have honored us with a visit to this site. We appreciate it very much. Please feel free to leave a comment.

I’m giving some serious thought to doing a series of profiles next year about each of the nations listed above. I’m start with the first three — Albania, Algeria, Andorra — and see how that goes. If you are from one of those nations  or can put me in touch with a knowledgeable person with first-hand, recent information, I’d appreciate a note to me at:  paregien@gmx.com . Thanks.

an-christmas-fiveCats

A very merry Christmas to each and every one of you. And if you haven’t done so as yet, why not take a small gift or a dish of food to someone who is sick or lonely? You could certainly cheer them up. Then that person would be blessed and so would you, especially if you warmly and graciously offer to pick that person up in your car and spend maybe just an hour driving around looking at all the Christmas lights.

Until next year, Lord willing.

— Stan Paregien

2017--12--03 04 Bradenton, FL - Stan & Peggy Paregien by Penny Letichevsky

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Issue 359 – Back in the Saddle, Again

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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.

1991--002--StanParegien--PatsyMontana--Lubbock

Stan Paregien with singer, actress Patsy Montana in 1991

1991--035--LubbockTX--NatCowboySymposium---RichardFarnsworth----bySP

Movie stunt man and actor Richard Farnsworth

1991--036--LubbockTX--NatCowboySymposium---R-W-Hampton--BarryCorbin----bySP

Singer R.W. Hampton and actor Barry Corbin

1992--043--TX--Lubbock--Flether Jowers - Stan Paregien - Nat Cowboy Sym - by PP

Fletcher Jowers with Stan Paregien in 1992

 

1995--011--TX--Lubbock-- actor Barry Corbin -- Stan ParegienActor Barry Corbin with Stan Paregien

1998--043-- actor - Dale Robertson with Stan Paregien -- Lubbock, TX

Actor Dale Robertson with Stan Paregien in 1998

 

1999-030-- Lubbock, TX -- Natl Cowboy Symposium -- Stan Paregien with Elmer Kelton

Stan Paregien with famed Western novelist Elmer Kelton in 1999

 

1999-038-- LubbockTX -- Natl Cowboy Symposium -- Stan Paregien and Curt Brummett -- by Peggy Paregien

Stan Paregien with cowboy humorist and author Curt Brummett in 1999

 

2000-011--TX-Lubbock--DustyRichards-PaulPatterson-StanParegien

Western novelist Dusty Richards with Paul Patterson (author and humorist; and Elmer Kelton’s beloved high school teacher) and Stan Paregien in 2000

 

2002-056-- Lubbock, TX - June 9 - Will and Rhonda Stearns - Stan Paregien - National Cowboy Symposium - by P Paregien

Rancher and rodeo star Will Stearns and and wife/rancher/author/poet Rhonda (Sedgwick) Starnes with Stan Paregien in 2002

 

2002-060--A Lubbock, TX - James Drury - Stan Paregien - by P Paregien - June

Actor James Drury of “The Virginian” TV show with Stan Paregien in 2002

 

2006-1150-A Paregien-Stan Peg

Stan & Peggy Paregien

 

2006-1166 Smith-Dean Brimley-Wilford

Olympics track star, movie stunt man and actor Dean Smith with actor Wilford Brimley in 2006.

 

2007-1313--E--TX--Lubbock--Bumgarder-Paregien-Lopez

Cowboy poets: Scott Bumgardner, Stan Paregien & Adrian Lopez in 2007

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Stan Paregien in 2009

 

2011--1511--TX--Lubbock--NCS--Stan-PegParegien--Sept-10

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:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/111910623@N04/albums

 

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.

 Eating Utensils - Fork - fancy silver-looking on a brown bkground

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.

 Eating Utensils -- Fork - an old three-sharp-pronged fork with a wood handle -- 02

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.

—  Stan

End.

 

Issue 354: Manatee County, Florida

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The Paregien Journal     –     Issue 354     –     June 9, 2017

Manatee County, Florida:

Facts, Fun and Photos

Sometimes when Peggy and I have been on vacation or an extending trip, I will jokingly say to our neighbors when we return: “Where the heck have you been?” Usually, they are kinda taken back by the question and mentally calculate they haven’t been anywhere and then reply, “Me? Where the heck have you been?”

Fair question, since I have not posted here since . . . gulp, . . . March 17th. 

Actually, we have done a fair amount of traveling. That includes a 9-day trip to beautiful Costa Rica. And I have had a health issue or two that just flat made me feeling like doing nuttin’. So I did. And then there were countless hours that I spent wrapping up my most recent book. I really became a hermit in my man cave here at our house in order to get it done before our trip to Costa Rica. More about that project next time. All in all, the last three months have just been busy, busy, busy. And, darn, I’m supposed to be retired. I have resolved to take my foot off of the gas pedal and slow down some.

Okay, let me share with you the good news about my new eBook:

Manatee County, Florida:

Facts, Folks and Photos

 

Master Cover -- Manatee County, FL -- Stan Paregien 01 1,900 X 2,561 X 600 dpi

Hey, is that an attractive book cover or what? I really like it a bunch. Of course, I designed the basic layout, the print, etc., and the photo you see is one  I took at sunset at our nearby Coquina Beach west of Bradenton. Pardon my “fatherly” pride at my newest “baby” but ain’t she just plum purty?

As Elvis always said at the end of a song, “Thank you. Thank you very much.”

Here is the official synopsis of this eBook:

“It is an intriguing combination of one part travel guide for the beaches and other attractions in Manatee County, one part who’s who of today’s leaders and yesterday’s heroes and heroines, one part family photo album, and one part a history book containing over 450 photos and 470 biographical sketches. It is written in a conversational style with touches of wit, wisdom, mystery and spice.  

“Chapter 1, “Manatee County Facts,”  is a quick chronological look at the main events which have happened in Manatee County since ol’ Juan Ponce de Leon set foot here in Paradise in 1513. There’ve been a heck of a lot of other footprints left in the sands of Manatee County since then, and this book notes many of them.

Chapter 2, “Manatee County Cities & Communities,” presents facts and information about Manatee County’s larger cities and the smaller communities as well. All of ’em are fine places, so Stan gives you the inside scoop behind the usual road signs and flashing neon lights. Real people live here and most all of them love it, except maybe for a few diehard sourpusses. You’ll find helpful lists of things you may need to find.

“Chapter 3, “Manatee County Folks,” is where you’ll want to spent a bunch of your time. There you’ll see photos and biographical sketches of hundreds of Manatee County people. Learn why the heck we do things like we do them (Hint: “Because that’s how grandma and grandpa used to do it.”) You’ll meet some of our wonderful pioneer families, a great many solid citizens, plus a lot of folks who work doggoned hard to make this County an even better place to live or to visit.

Chapter 4, “Manatee County Photo Gallery,” is a large and varied photo collection which is guaranteed to put a smile on your face, a bounce in your step and reduction of your acid reflux problem. Well, heck, two out of three hits is darned good in baseball. You’ll get a kick out of the these photos — new ones, old ones, funny ones, sad ones and all in between. 

“Chapter 5, “About the Author,”  contains Stan Paregien’s bio, plus a list of his more than a dozen other eBooks available online through your favorite retailer. 

“The last part, Chapter 6, is titled “Resources.” It contains an extended list of books and articles you can read, videos you can watch and websites you can visit to learn even more about Manatee County.”

Manatee County, Florida: Facts, Folks & Photos is available for downloading to your iPhone, iPad, your Mac or PC laptops or desktop computers and more. This large, photo-filled eBook retails for $9.99.

This book of mine really started back in 2011 or so when my wife Peggy and I were considering moving away from the all-too frequent tornados, ice storms and constant winds in our native state of Oklahoma. We began investigating retirement communities from Arizona to Florida. Most Oklahoma retirees in our income bracket elect to move to south Texas, southern Arizona or to New Mexico. But there were other options as well.
We bought travel books, studied scores of web sites and talked with friends and neighbors. We asked for and received countless colorful brochures from specific states and cities, along with buckets of brochures from realtors and Chamber of Commerce representatives. The more information we received, the more we leaned toward somewhere near the beaches of sunny Florida. So we began a large number of visits to this land of palm trees, beautiful beaches and tropical vegetation populated with many hundreds of 55+ retirement communities for active folks like us.
We would fly into Tampa, rent a car and stay in our niece’s unoccupied seasonal home just to the west in Largo. We used that as our base while we spent a week or so each time researching the pluses and minuses of various towns and retirement villages within them. We concentrated on the west coast of Florida, from Clearwater down to Venice. It was a challenge, to say the least, to find the kind of housing we really liked and to winnow that number down to a much smaller number we could realistically afford. After all that, we still had a staggering variety of choices.
Early in 2013, we made our choice. We found a comfortable, fully furnished manufactured home in a 55+ community of some 267 residences. There was a nice clubhouse and kitchen, a library, a work-out room, an inviting swimming pool and hot tub, the ever-popular shuffle board courts, horseshoe pits and more. Several friendly, welcoming residents eagerly told us about what life was really like there. So in June of 2013, we moved to Bradenton—the County Seat of historic and beautiful Manatee County. Our new adventure had begun.

Today — four years later — the adventure continues each day. Sometimes we get so busy in the golden years of our retirement that we have to hit the reset button, chill out and just bask in the sunshine and inhale the aromas of the year-around flowers and revisit the tropic-like Gulf waters and pristine white beaches.

I planned this book with these ideas in mind: (1) It should be written in a lively, easy-to-read style; (2) It should be an invaluable reference tool for full-time residents of Manatee County; (3) It should be an interesting and useful book for people visiting Florida—and particularly, Manatee County—for the first time; and (4) it should honestly point out the good, the bad and the ugly of Manatee County.

Mission accomplished.

Well, okay, that’s the firm opinion of one not-so-unbiased person. Me.
Critics are likely to say of this book either, “You sure put way too much stuff in there” or “You sure left out a lot of stuff that should have been in there.” My response to both criticisms is this: Yep, that’s right. I put in a lot and I left out a lot. The book is much larger than I intended at the start. And I never even dreamed I would end up with 450 photos and 470 biographical sketches. That’s a bunch, but I have double that material left untouched in the wings. So . . .

Personally, I have never read anything that even comes close to my book in terms of readability, comprehensiveness or usefulness. I’m pleased with it and eager to share it with others. And I hope you will be so doggoned pleased with your copy that you will buy others as Christmas or birthday gifts, or for friends or relatives who are thinking about moving or visiting here.

Hey, you may even want to send one to such a person “up north” when we’re sunbathing in 80 degree weather and up there they have snow a foot deep and the temperature is dipping toward zero. That should get their attention.

Also, just this week five more  of my eBooks were added to Amazon.com’s lineup of eBooks. Those five books are my two Western novels, a book of my general poetry, and two fun story books each containing 15 of my cowboy stories which I performed for years “from hither to yon” from California to Arkansas and from Texas to Montana. Those 20 some years were quite an interesting ride. 

 

Okay, ’nuff about that.

Hopefully, I’ll get back on a more regular pace of posting my little photo/essays here.

Next time I plan to tell you a little about our trip to beautiful Costa Rica that starting on Tuesday, May 9, 2017 and ended on Thursday, May 18, 2017. We had a delightful, though often rain-swept, time visting with our Oklahoma friends Larry and Linda Seng. More next time.

Oh, one more thing. I always get a kick out of watching my stats for these posting. No, I don’t have millions of folks flocking to this site. But what truly amazes me are the hits that I get from so many countries in the world. Here are some samples from just the last 8 days:  U.S.A. . . . Canada . . . Malaysia . . . European Union . . . Poland . . . Puerto Rico . . . Philippines . . . India . . . United Kingdom . . . Zimbabwe . . . Indonesia . . . Australia . . . Mexico . . . Japan . . . Argentina . . . Turkey . . . and Germany. That’s pretty amazing to me, and I’m glad to have each person, from here or abroad, stop by for a visit.

Best wishes to one and all,

— Stan Paregien

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