Tag Archives: Rocky Mountain Oysters

Issue 184 – Rocky Mt. Oysters, Vegetarians and More

Issue 184 – November 20, 2019 — An Occasional Newsletter, Edited by Stan Paregien

Hello to each of you. Thanks for stopping by the ol’ homestead for a little visit. In this issue you will find two of the very best poems of famed cowboy poet Baxter Black.

Now, without naming names, I dedicate this issue to a special couple we know up in Bass-ton. Oh, excuse me, I mean . . . Boston. And it is also dedicated to a known lover of Rocky Mountain Oysters who lives in Slidell, Louisiana. These folks know who they are, while the rest of you will not have a clue. That’s okay. Put your “laughter hat” on, sit back and enjoy the poetry.

MOTIVATION TO TAKE ACTION

I made at least three failed attempts to learn to play the guitar. My first time when I was a sophomore in Fillmore (Ventura County), Calif. I took four or five lessons from an old gentleman but it didn’t seem to stick with me. To make matters worse, my well-intentioned parents had bought me a “Stella” guitar at Sears & Roebuck for well under $50. The problem was that the strings set way high above the frets, making it difficult and even painful to form the chords.

In addition, I had another problem. I couldn’t keep the thing tuned. My teacher would tune the guitar “by ear” when I went to his house to take a lesson. But at home, all I had was a 45 rpm recording of the sound of the five strings of a guitar. Try as I might, I could not listen to the recording of the lower “E” string, for example, and then get my string to sound like that. So I was trying to practice on a guitar that sounded like a concert by comics Oliver Hardy and Stan Laurel. It was only many years later that I discovered I really do have a “tin ear.”

Well, fast forward to my late 20s. I tried to learn to play the guitar on my own. I read about folks who just bought a “How to Play the Guitar” book and a few days later were playing like Glen Campbell, Chet Atkins and Les Paul all rolled together. Not me.

Then, sometime in my later 30s, I tired it, again. Same methods. Same results. You’ve heard the saying, “Practice makes perfect.” That, friends, is a bald-faced lie. If you’re practicing something the wrong way, it just ain’t gonna suddenly go . . . Shazam!! . . . and be perfect. A more truthful statement is, “Practice makes permanent.” Sometimes good, sometimes not-so-good.

I’ve said all of that to lead up to my next attempt to play the guitar when I was about 68 or so. And here, below, is something I read that motivated me to give it another try. Please take the take to read all of the article. And share it with anyone you know who may be struggling to play an instrument, or to learn how to do carpentry, or is having trouble with some new technology.

When I saw that photo of that armless young man playing the guitar with his feet, I said this to myself: “Self, if that guy can play the guitar with his feet, surely I can learn to play at least a few simple songs.”

It is really not a good sign when you start talking to yourself, and especially if you carry on an extended conversation with yourself. This time it was okay.

I bought a better guitar than I had ever had before. And the thing that helped me so much is when I bought one of those little gadgets called “an electronic tuner.” Wow. What a deal! No guesswork. Hook it to your guitar and it guides you effortlessly through the process of tuning your guitar accurately. It was a miracle.

Still, I wasn’t making much progress on my own. Really, I just wanted to learn how to play five or six old-time cowboy songs that I could add to the programs I did in which I recited my own cowboy poetry and stories. But I finally realized, I needed just a little more help.

So I found out about a guy up in nearby Guthrie, Oklahoma who taught both guitar and fiddle. His name was Jim Garling. He conducted his lessons at the Byron Berline Double-stop Fiddle Shop, and he had an opening. So I picked out a few songs (with chords) I wanted to learn.

The first song that I presented to him was written by one of Gene Autry’s funny sidekicks, the one and only Smiley Burnette. He could not only play half-a-dozen instruments but he had a great gift for songwriting. The one I wanted to learn was, “Riding Down the Canyon.”

Jim Garling took one look at that song and said, “I’ve never heard of that song.”

Well, I thought maybe I’d made a bad mistake. But, we got through that little hitch in my plans. We started off with some of the other songs. I was only able to take maybe six or seven lessons under Jim Garling, but I had learned a few basic chords and quite a bit more about strumming. So I was on my way.

Only later did I find out how sophisticated the music really was for the original “Riding Down the Canyon.” I had to “dumb-it-down” a couple of times, but I finally got to where I could perform it in a “fair-to-middlin'” fashion. And I moved on to collect the lyrics and chords for at least 200 other songs.

Now I confess I never had another lesson. We had a lot of jams at our house in Oklahoma. When we moved to Florida in 2013, we started having jams at our house. We had so many people we moved it to our community’s clubhouse and ran it there on a monthly basis for two years. Still, I have never moved the needle very far beyond a very basic ability in guitar playing. And now that my memory is in decline, I am leaning toward selling our instruments.

However, the point is this: I would never have made that final successful attempt to play the guitar without the motivation of an armless man playing one with his feet. So I hope this little story motivates you to buckle down and go ahead and learn some new skill.

Oh, as the late Paul Harvey often said, “And now, . . . here is the rest of the story.” About my friend Jim Garling, he got very interested in cowboy and Western music. He started playing cowboy music in restaurants and on special occasions. Today, he is the music director for a Cowboy Church up in Stillwater, Oklahoma. And here comes the final part of the story: . . . Jim has four or five CDs of cowboy music to his credit. And one of the songs he recorded was Smiley Burnette’s old song, “Riding Down the Canyon.”

Life sure ’nuff has some strange twists and turns, doesn’t it?

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

Here is my latest poem, “Ode to Unrhymed Poetry and to Those Who Write Such.” Feel free to send a copy to any friend you know who writes poetry. I hope, even if they write free verse poetry, they will get a kick out of it.

Okay, my friends. That is enough foolishness for one issue. See ya next time.

End.

Issue 305 – Life’s Ups and Downs

AA -- Main Logo -- The Paregien Journal -- 02 800w 2015-08-03

Issue 305             August 29, 2015   

Greetings friends:

I have been through a series of health problems, starting about July 1st and continuing to this date. Even had a major surgery a week ago (Aug. 20th) that has left me weaker than a kitten. And I’m still under my doctor’s edict not to lift anything over 10 pounds and not to fly off into the clear blue for two more weeks. Kinda feeling my age right now, if you catch my drift.

One thing about being sick, it sometimes results in a welcomed loss of weight. That is what has happened to me. I have gone from a weight of about 233 pounds on June 15th to my weight as of this morning of 216.2 pounds. So I am easing out of my XL clothes and into my L clothes. My official weight, back on my high school football and boxing teams in 1958, was a bony 155 pounds. That is not my goal, but I do hope to get down to less than 200 pounds on my 5’11” frame by December 31st.

On Thursday, my friend Kent Abel and I attended a weekly “brunch” on the east side of town for Christian men. I had to watch the time that day as I needed to be back when a furniture store was scheduled to deliver our new hideabed and two new recliners. So we left the brunch in plenty of time. I let Kent out at his house and drove a couple of blocks to our house. There were two cars parked in front of our house, so I wondered what might be going on.

MRS. CLAUS ASSAULTS PEGGY

One couple spoke to me as they were backing their car out of the drive. They told me that Peggy had a “little accident” that looked worse than it really was because she bled quite a bit. But they assured me she was okay. I entered our house to find another neighbor, retired nurse Bonnie Hamill. She, too, reassured me that Peggy was alright, “except for the bump on her head and a small cut.”

Hmmmm.

Here’s what had happened. Peggy decided to move a few things around in our living room before the furniture came. She removed some books from a bookshelf. And in doing so, she bumped the bookshelf. Atop the bookshelf we have a Mr. Santa Claus and Mrs. Santa dressed in western clothes. Mrs. Claus, also being a senior citizen, got off balance and fell from her perch and landed a little to the left of dead-center on Peggy’s head. Peggy was stunned, but thought she was okay . . . until she noticed blood dripping down on her blouse.

She rushed to the bathroom and put a cold washcloth on her cut/bump. Then she called Bonnie, one of the two retired nurses we know in our neighborhood. No answer.* So she called friends Bob and Jean L’Hullier, and they came right on down to help her. About that time Bonnie called back, learned what happened and rushed down. So Peggy had cleaned up a bit, even washed her hair, and stood there sheepishly with an icepack on her head.

*Another part of the story, was kinda funny. When Bonnie’s phone rang she was watching the final thrilling minutes of a “Perry Mason” detective TV show (from the 1950s). She didn’t want to miss the dramatic ending and not suspecting Peggy’s little emergency, she just let her leave a message. And then after Perry got his man to confess every gory detail of his crime, Bonnie returned the call. All’s well that ends well.

Stan's Cowboy Corner -- 02 -- 2015--08--28

The first item in this section is a classic (i.e., old but much appreciated) poem by the one-and-only Baxter Black. A large animal veterinarian by education and training, he wandered into the entertainment field decades below. He has his own syndicated newspaper article, and his own syndicated TV program of cowboy poems, stories and music.

In addition, he has published many best-selling books of his poetry as well as a novel or two. And he plays the guitar, sings and writes songs. He is, you see, an ambidextrous, multitalented renaissance cowboy.

It has been my pleasure to have been a bit-player at several cowboy festivals where Baxter was the headliner. He can have his audiences rolling in the aisle with laughter at one point and then minutes later wiping tears from their eyes. The man is so animated on stage he makes the Energizer Bunny look like a snowman frozen in time. 

Black, Baxter -- The Oyster -- from Jane and Michael Stern, WAY OUT WEST, page 342 -- Page 1 of 2

Black, Baxter -- The Oyster -- from Jane and Michael Stern, WAY OUT WEST, page 342 -- Page 2 of 2

Testical Festival in Clinton, Montana -- 2014 -- by Peggy Paregien

Peggy took the above photo as we were traveling through Montana in late August of 2014. Yes, Virginia, many folks out west just love their Rocky Mountain Oysters (i.e., calf fries or calf testicles).

Horse -- jumping up in the ocean -- 2015 sent by Fred McGuinn

Horses can be awfully skittish critters. The first horse my dad bought for me, back in about 1953 on the Newhall Ranch (near present-day Santa Clarita, Calif.), was such a stead. Jody was a pretty chestnut-colored horse with some Quarter-horse blood, but she would panic if the wind blew a tumbleweed or a piece of paper into her view. The usual result was that she would do a quick sideways shuffle and my father or myself would get dumped on the ground. My dad finally got tired of that and figured out she was way too dangerous for a kid, so he sold her to another gent. And we heard that fellow sold it to a rodeo promoter. 

Horse -- you can lead a human to knowledge but you can't make him think

Horse ridden by boy and his sister - by AT Cox -- seen at a Longhorn Restaruant in Sarasota - 2015

I saw the above painting on the wall of a Longhorn Steakhouse in Sarasota, Florida recently. It brought back some precious moments from my youth when my late sister, Roberta, or my cousins Jerry or Roger (also deceased), would ride double. 

Horses -- who says horses are smarter than cows

The cow at right seems to be saying, “And folks say cattle are dumb animals. Look at the mess this horse got itself into.”

Indians -- trains -- Chiefs along the trail -- Santa Fe RR has Super Chief, The Chief and Texas Chief trains

Roy Rogers, Dale Evans and -- REMINISCE - Aug-Sept, 2015, Page 24 -- George Gobel

No, that was not Pat Brady in the above photo. It was the talented commedian, guitarist and singer “Lonesome” George Gobel. I found this photo, below, taken in 1950 when George and Roy and Dale were guests on Gene Autry’s nationally syndicated radio show. 

Gobel, George -- on Gene Autry shoe on CBS in 1950 - with R Rogers, Pat Buttram

Gobel, George Leslie -- very early photo with ukelalee

Gobel, George Leslie -- his Gibson L-5CT in Cherry Red -- 2 Gobel, George Leslie -- quote - if it wasn't for electricity

Back to that photo, above, of Roy and Dale and “Pat Brady.” Pat Brady filled the role of bass fiddle player and comedian with the Sons of the Pioneers for several years, making an occasional movie with the band in Roy Roger’s films. Then in 1951 he became Roy’s Jeep-driving, comical sidekick on his popular TV show. And do you remember the name Pat gave to his dear ol’ cantankerous Jeep? Give up? Okay. It was . . . Nellybelle.

Roy Rogers with the Sons of the Pioneers -- Pat Brady at right

 

Logo -- Stan's Footnotes from Florida -- 01

1935 2015--08--29 Bradenton, FL Herald -- Hurricane Erika

Peggy and I each grew up in southern California, so we experienced many earthquakes as well as the fierce Santa Anna winds which rushed from the desert to the Pacific. And after we were married we lived in Tennessee, Iowa and Oklahoma so we can tell you about close calls with tornadoes and blizzards and terrible ice storms. But, if this “tropical storm” holds together we may experience our very first hurricane about Sunday night or early Monday. 

Florida - alligators -- baby saying to day, that guy called me a gecko

Taylor, Tommy -- Alligator Wrestler -- REMINISCE mag - Aug-Sept, 2015 - Page 36 Aging -- old woman arresting a burglar

1807 -- 2015--08--01 B16 Anna Maria Island, FL -- 'lost puppy' - by Stan Paregien Sr

Taxpayers paying for Gov Rick Scott's misdeeds -- Aug 12, 2015

This pamplet, below, describes a pretty neat resource where you can download old photos of Florida. Sure would be helpful for historians, genealogists and other more normal folks like you and me.

Florida Memories website -- archieve of photos, audio and movies -- Page 2 of 2

Florida Memories website -- archieve of photos, audio and movies -- Page 1 of 2

Of Special Interest to

Plantation Grove MHP Residents:

Multer, Ray -- obituary -- died Aug 4, 2015

2014--0050--B Bradenton, FL -- Ray Multer at PG coffe club

1876 -- 2015--06 Bradenton, FL -- DJ and Ray Multer -- by Peggy Paregien

Corbin, Virginia -- The Butterfly - a poem in remembrance of Ray Multer - Aug 2015

Birthdays:

Ralph Iscovacci has had some recent health issues, but has bounced back very well. Eunice tells me that Ralph will turn 87 on September 2nd. Other September birthdays include Traci Carsen (21st; Mrs. Keith Carsen; new residents) and Andrea Spafford.

LABOR DAY LUNCHEON

Geri Mack and her crew will host this luncheon on Labor Day — Monday, September 7th. They will serve BBQ ribs, Macaroni Salad, corn on the cob, rolls, desert and beverages. NOTE: Last day to sign up in the clubhouse is Tuesday, September 1st.

NEW TIME FOR COFFEE CLUB

Starting Saturday, Sept. 5th the Coffee Club will meet at 9:00 am each Saturday. This unanimous decision was made recently by the attending members. They also decided to change the time of the Thursday Coffee Club when it resumes on November 5th. The time change, from 8 am to 9 am, was made to encourage all those who don’t normally attend “because 8 am is too early.” Please join us right now at 9 am each Saturday. Just $1.00 for coffee, a donut and some real good fellowship with your neighbors.

HOME OWNER ASSOCIATION

Bob L’Hullier, our HOA treasurer, says that we will probably have four openings for HOA members to become members of the Board. Please talk with Bob or with Larry Locascio if you are interested.

Faith--07--Trust god

 

END.