We write them, we read them, but also, they are our own history – they’re part of who we are.
I have two examples:
First, mine. My grandfather was an itinerant preacher on the plains of Saskatchewan, Canada. They lived in a tent (not many trees on the plains). He’d be home long enough to get his wife pregnant, then go off on his donkey, preaching again. After the first few babies were born (she was alone), she told him she was going to a city, with or without him.
So they moved to Saskatoon. The kids kept coming, and at one point, the house caught on fire. Once my grandmother got all the kids out, she went back for her husband’s sewing machine (he was a tailor as well as a preacher) and threw it out the window before getting out herself.
I come from hardy stock!
My second story is my husband’s. His maternal great-grandmother was 11, her sister 9, when her mother died back east. Her father put them on a train heading west, and told them there would be someone to meet them in Texas, and he’d follow as soon as he wrapped up business.
The girls got off the train in Midland, Texas. No one to meet them. A few good people traded off taking them in until the 11 year old could get work and take care of her sister.
She never knew what happened to her father.
Two months after she died, they got a phone call from someone back east, claiming to be kin. Turned out, the father shipped the girls off on a train to get rid of them. He was marrying another woman, who didn’t want his kids.
Can you imagine? I’m glad she passed without knowing that.
Okay, your turn – give me your family story in the comments!
Okay, I’m a book freak. I know it. Writing them. Reading them. And decorating with them.
This lamp is made of actual old books. Our local library used old books they no longer shelve, and makes them into lamps and sells them to raise money for the library. This one is a little bit sideways thanks to my 2-year-old granddaughter who KNOCKED IT OVER. This is why we can’t have nice things!!!
My faux old book tissue holder. I just saw it and loved it and there was no stopping me! It’s on the end table right next to my recliner and I used it every day!
This is a Christmas tree ornament. But I can’t even think of putting it away eleven months of the year. So it hangs form my bookshelf with my own books on it!
My daughter gave this to me for Christmas one year.
And the next year she gave me this Christmas ornament, also used to decorate my shelf of books.
Now I should start on my WESTERN decor. Maybe for another blog.
How about you? Do you surround yourself with books…that are just books? Or do you take it farther and decorate with them?
We’re doing something a little fun several times through the year. It might be a Craft Project, how we breathe life into a hero, or anynumber of things. You just never know. We’re sort of calling it Pot Luck. This is my day and I’m going to tell you jokes. Keep your fingers crossed because I’m not very good at this. Hopefully, you’ll find them worth a chuckle.
Okay, here we go……
A man and wife went to their lake cabin for a little R&R. It was a beautiful day and not a cloud in the sky, so the husband decided to go fishing in his rowboat.
After several hours with not much to show, he rowed in and tied up, telling his wife he was going to take a nap.
Now, the wife liked to read romance and she thought how perfect it would be to drift along in the boat. If she got too hot she could take a dip. So she rowed out a little ways from the shore where she could get a nice breeze and picked up her story where she’d left off. The hero cowboy was having a time getting his little darling to the altar.
She drifted along in the little rowboat and turned the pages, totally engrossed.
Pretty soon, a game warden came by and asked to see her fishing license.
“But warden, I’m not fishing. You can see the poles are inside the boat. Besides, I don’t like to fish. They’re smelly and I don’t like touching them. I’m just sitting here reading my book, not bothering one fish or one person.”
The warden looked stern. “That doesn’t matter. You have all the fishing equipment and could put the poles into the water if you choose. I’m going to have to write you a ticket.”
“Then I’m afraid I’ll have to take you to jail, ma’am.”
“Let’s make it the sheriff’s office, warden. I’ll need to file a complaint.”
“May I ask what your business is? I’ve been as polite as I can and I’m following the law.”
“The charge will be for sexual assault.”
“You’re crazy. We’ve done nothing but talk. You still have your clothes on.”
She smiled sweetly. “But I’m sorry, Warden, you have all the right equipment.”
Flustered, he threw his ticket pad down. “Have a nice day, ma’am, and continue reading your book.”
* * * * * * *
What Do You Call a Happy Cowboy? (a jolly rancher)
Why Did the Bowlegged Cowboy Get Fired? (he couldn’t keep his calves together)
* * * * * * *
I hope you got a chuckle or two. I’m giving away one early copy (autographed) of A COWBOY OF LEGEND. It doesn’t come out until April 27th so you’ll be ahead of the game. I’ll draw from the people who comment and the Giveaway Rules apply – https://petticoatsandpistols.com/sweepstakesrules/.
Just tell me what makes you laugh. Or tell me a joke. I love to laugh.
To fill unscheduled blog days that pop up periodically throughout the year, the fillies will be featuring some crafts, decorating ideas, and a variety of other fun things we think you will enjoy.
Now, I’m not a big knitter although I’ve been knitting most of my life. Basic projects, mostly, like winter scarves, but my all-time favorite is a simple washcloth.
I’ve made stacks of these over the years. They’re great for tucking into Christmas stockings (yep, my adult daughters still get them hung on our mantle), to give away as bridal shower gifts, to needy families during the holidays and so on. They wash up beautifully, absorb beautifully, and are my favorite go-to washcloth in my kitchen towel drawer
I can make one of these in two good nights in front of the television. The instructions are super-simple, and I’m happy to share them with you.
BASIC COTTON WASHCLOTH
Size 8 knitting needles
100% cotton yarn (I love the Peaches & Crème brand)
Cast on 4 stitches. (I usually do 5 stitches)
Knit 1 row
Knit 2 stitches. Move yarn over to front to create an extra stitch.
Work until 50 stitches are on the needle.
Knit 1 stitch
Knit 2 together
Knit 2 together
Knit to the end of the row
Repeat until 4 stitches are left on the needle.
Cast off. When 1 stitch is left, cut 6″ tail of yarn and pull through the loop. Tighten, then weave tail through. I use a crotchet hook to do this.
I’m giving away a washcloth to two winners. To be eligible, just tell me if you like to do needlework? Knit? Crotchet? Counted cross stitch?
Nettie’s sisters snatched her stuffed bear away and teased her, holding it just beyond her reach. Tears and shrieks did no good. They laughed and ran outside.
Papa picked her up, put her on the broad back of their plow horse, and led them in a slow walk around the corral. Toby’s warmth and the strength of his muscles spread through her body and the rocking motion soothed her baby grief.
Instantly she knew. This was home.
There’s something special about a woman and a horse and the healing, comforting bond they forge. So many western women have found special friendship with their horses. My grandmother in the 1920s was no exception.
My “Cowgirl Dreams” trilogy was inspired by Grandma’s life. She was more at home on the back of a horse than behind a dust mop and wrote of her horses as her “pals.”
Rescuing Samantha continues that theme of healing hearts and horses. Samantha Moser leases the Montana ranch that once belonged to her great grandparents. Like her great-grandmother, she has always felt a close kinship with horses, and city life is a track to failure.
Because she has a rescued Thoroughbred, she dreams of raising a herd of her own, but soon discovers not only financial obstacles, but also harsh, frigid winters and too many miles between the remote ranch and towns of any size. After working with her fiancé to fix up the dilapidated ranch, a disastrous, life-threatening blizzard experience sends him packing and leaves her to struggle on her own.
Samantha discovers, almost by accident, how troubled kids can come out of their shells and begin the road to healing by bonding with a horse.
Reading and watching documentaries about how horses can work miracles for children, veterans, and the disabled, I have incorporated some of these ideas into this new “Rescuing” series. As many of us have learned, never give up on your dreams, but be open to the dream changing. Like her great-grandmother before, Samantha also learns this lesson.
Excerpt from Chapter One of Rescuing Samantha:
FOR SALE OR LEASE:
360 acres prime pastureland. Ingomar, MT. Great starter ranch.
Samantha Moser’s heartbeat echoed every bump in the dusty country road. She was coming home.
Even though she’d never seen this ranch, its history was as much a part of her as the blood pulsing through her veins. Her great-grandparents had once owned this piece of Montana. Made a new beginning here. Realized a dream here. Sam could hardly breathe, and it wasn’t just the dust swirling through the open windows of the car. This might be her chance for her own new beginning.
Scrapbook pictures from the 1940s and ’50s, when Great-Grandma Nettie and Grandpa Jake lived here, conjured images. A white two-story house with a wrap-around porch. A leafy cottonwood tree in front where a hammock swung. And a tall, classic red barn with white trim, horses in the corral. Sam rubbed her sweaty palms on her jeans. I can’t wait to see it. The Realtor said it was a “fixer-upper,” but surely a few repairs and a coat of paint would spruce the place up.
The spring-fresh prairie spread around them like an endless sea, broken only by undulating hills until it reached the low horizon, seemingly the end of the earth. This is how Sam remembered her childhood in Montana, before her family moved to Arizona. This is what had been calling to her since she was ten: Come home, come home.
Do you have a dream you’ve pursued, or want to follow?
Post your answer for a chance to win a copy of Cowgirl Dreams!
Heidi M. Thomas grew up on a working ranch in eastern Montana. She had parents who taught her a love of books and a grandmother who rode bucking stock in rodeos. Describing herself as “born with ink in my veins,” Heidi followed her dream of writing with a journalism degree from the University of Montana and later turned to her first love, fiction, to write her grandmother’s story.
Heidi is a member of Women Writing the West, Professional Writers of Prescott, and Arizona Authors Association, is also a manuscript editor, and teaches local memoir and fiction writing classes.
She is an avid reader of all kinds of books, enjoys the sunshine and hiking in north-central Arizona, where she writes, edits, and teaches memoir and fiction writing classes.
Heidi is also the “human” for a finicky feline, and describes herself primarily as a “cat herder.”
Each year. the residents of Fredericksburg, Texas enjoy a tradition that began with the town’s founding in 1847. On the night before Easter, residents dress up as settlers, Comanches, and Easter bunnies to commemorate a peace treaty the town signed in 1847.
When the early German settlers arrived, they were greeted by a harsh land full of fierce native people. The Comanches were not happy with this latest intrusion on their territory–and for good reason. They had experienced violent encounters with immigrants moving in from the East and Mexico from the West
It didn’t take long for the German settlers to realize that if they wanted to survive, their first job was to strike a treaty with the Comanches. As such a thing had never before been accomplished, it must have seemed like a daunting task.
Just before Easter, the town’s founders rode over the hill to negotiate with tribe leaders, leaving women and children behind.
While the men were away, Comanches scouts stood atop the hills surrounding the town. Even scarier, they sent up smoke signals.
Not knowing what had happened to their men, the women feared the worse. This caused a near panic in the town, especially among the children who were convinced of an attack.
According to legend, one woman came up with a story that calmed everyone down. The fires, she said, had been started by the Easter bunny so he could boil his eggs to deliver the next day.
Not long after that, the men returned, treaty in hand. it was a unique treaty struck by the two different cultures, and it turned out well for both sides. It is reportedly the only North American Indian treaty not to be violated by either party.
Now, every year, the town celebrates the occasion with church bells, bonfires, and pageantry.
What is your favorite Easter or Passover tradition?