The Date- Part V

If you’re new, you can read about what started this cowboy party here.  Part two is here. And three.  Part four is over yonder.  Don’t forget to leave a comment on the last four days of posts to win this. You have until midnight tonight.

And yesterday’s winner of some very fine music is Heather J. (My daughter’s drew the name. Her hands were sticky.  We went the one that stuck first.)

Date night arrived and we were ready!  Hubby had his costume on.  I wore my new boots proudly.

They killed my feet.

But I didn’t say a word.  I lovingly wore them and I have the blisters to prove it.

Getting to a concert at the Rodeo is an ordeal. We sat in traffic and pushed our way thru to a parking lot.  From the parking lot, you pay to ride a bus.  The last time I rode a rodeo bus, my son ruined ALL future bus rides.  Just sitting down, caused a rush of emotions and nausea.  

From there, we stood in line to have our tickets scanned and went up 4 of these.  To our good seats.

I use the word ‘good’ loosely.


I kept squeezing my hubby’s arms and saying, “ Isn’t this fun?”  

It wasn’t so much that it was fun, yet.  I was free of children.  At the Rodeo.  With my beloved. And in the same building with Rascal Flats.

Fun.  It was going to be.

We walked another million steps to the nose bleed section.  Good thing I wore my new, comfy boots.

We sat down.  The Rodeo had just begun.  Now the Rodeo was built around cowboys and cowgirls doing their thing.  Down here in the south, these guys are athletes.  The concerts are a huge draw, but it’s really all about the roping and racing.  

For some people.

But for the rest of the crowd, it is about showing off their attire.




And their assets. Plenty of assets.


Of course, this is why I attended:


Funny thing happened with those nachos.  At least, it cracked me up.  But I’m learned that just because I thin
k it’s funny, doesn’t mean the man in front of me at the Rodeo thinks it’s funny.  

As the hubby and I were wolfing down our healthy, balanced meal of nacho-grossness, a big glob of cheesy goodness fell off my chip and in S-L-O-W motion, landed on the arm of the man’s nice western duds in front of me.  

He did not even notice.

Which of course made me giggle uncontrollably.  We stared at the glob for 4.75 minutes.  My hubby finally leaned up and told him.  He took the blame. I love that man.  True chivalry, right there ladies and gentlemen.

Just as the cowboys finished roping those poor calves and the cowgirls started running the barrels, a drunken brawl broke out in the row beside ours.

Okay.  It wasn’t so much a brawl.  But it did include a drunk.

This man dumped his entire long neck bottle down a ladies back.  I don’t know if he dozed off into a drunken stupor or if he just was bored.  But the ladies husband, decidedly chivalrous, but in an ugly way, started screaming and cussing at the drunk.

Oh my lands.  I listened to every word. Stared with an open mouth.  And downright, enjoyed myself!  I’m a stay at home mom, remember?

My hubby and I snuggled up close and settled in for some country music.  Rascal Flatts came out on the stage and sang their heart out.  It was glorious.


But anticipation is funny.  I knew the food would be sinful.  I wanted to watch the little calves run from the ropes because they liked being chased. I wanted to people watch and make fun,quietly. I thought all these things would make it great and that the highlight would be listening to our favorite band at the Rodeo.

It wasn’t. 

He was the best part.  Holding the hand of a strong man.  Being his girl, that was the best.  I have a good man.  I mean, a good man.  And this whole rodeo thing reminded me of why I chose him for the long road.  We have a crazy life.  The road has had obstacles, even some nasty surprises, but  I wouldn’t change a thing.

Thru thick and thin, he’s my part’ner  (said with the most southern accent you can imagine).

Yee-haw ya’ll and thanks for sticking around!

Check back on Monday to see if you won the Texas Dinner Bell.

We Ride Again-Part IV

I hope you’re enjoying our western fun and Rodeo mayhem.  This madness ends tomorrow, so hang on to your hats!  If you’re new, you can read about what started this cowboy party here.  Part two is here. And three.  Don’t forget to leave a comment to winthis.   

As you may remember, we recently got in touch with our rodeo roots.  It had been years since we’d actually gone to the Rodeo. We decided to tempt fate.  Again.  Since we are THAT family, we don’t do this often because you know, anything can happen.  I mean, we tempt fate all the time, but not on purpose.  Most of our disasters are unplanned.  

But this, this we planned.  

The hubby took a day off.  Wednesday, during Spring Break. It was designed to be a break for me on hump-day.  I needed it, considering the break from school, and all, and unattended children wandering around the home.

The Texas Livestock Show is awesome.  It would take days to see it all.  So we focused on two things, since we were toting a one year old with us.  She could go berzerko at any given moment.  And see?  We knew this. It’s called insight.

First, we visited Tommy G. Productions Mutton Bustin’.  What the heck is that, you ask?  Excellent question.  I didn’t even know a sheep was called a mutton.  Really.  I’d heard of a ewe.  But, mutton?  Nope.  See?  I earned my college reputation for being slow, honestly. (My husband advised I not put that in here, but I’m all about revealing my stupidity in order to make you feel better about your intelligence.  I’m nice that way.)

I  did remember a Seinfeld episode where Jerry refuses to eat mutton and spits it into his Nana’s napkin.  So, at least I knew it was meat and not a rare disease of the spleen  . . .  or something.  But leaning on old Seinfeld episodes to help in daily life can really limit you.

Well, my son fit the criteria to participate in the Mutton Bustin’.  He was under six years of age and under 60 pounds.  My husband helped him ‘geer up.’ He was going to ride a sheep, like a cowboy rides a bull.  Only he’s a child.  And it’s a sheep. ‘Geering up’ is the process in which you try to protect your five year old’s VITAL organs in case he is thrown by a rabid sheep.  I’m pretty sure this was in the release form I signed. 

This is my offspring HANGING ON FOR DEAR LIFE, while riding said sheep.

I must admit this is something I NEVER thought one of my children would do, you know, ride a smelly, hairy, SHEEP in public, for nothing other than the honor of doing so.  Of course, I screamed and hollered like a mad woman and I mean, what mother wouldn’t be proud of this.


Or this:


This was right before his precious body was bucked off the wild animal and landed in a heap of lamb poo.  

It was a fine moment.

This is just one of hundreds of fun things to do at the Rodeo.  Most of them are just as important and life altering.  My son did smell unique the rest of the day.

After checking for open wounds and lacerations, we moseyed over to the Kids Agricultural Exhibition, our second destination of the day.  

Okay.  This was the highlight of my day.  I mean, other than watching my only son put his life in danger.  

Chicks.  Who knew a display of eggs and chicks could make me feel so maternal.

There was this incredible display of eggs and chickens in the various stages of life: egg, egg cracking, half egg, half chick, wet newborn chick with eyes closed, tiny chick hopping around.  It was fascinating, watching the little fellows struggle to crack open their eggs.  Did you know it takes them 16 hours to do so?  

I’m educating my kids with all my chicken knowledge.  We stood there for eons. You know, because I’m so full of knowledge.

My kids and hubby walked away s-l-o-w-l-y from me when I started talking to the chicks, as any mother would do. 

Apparently, I was sorta loud.  But I think it meant a lot, to the chicks.

They found this, waaaaayyy more interesting:


I guess tractors are sexy, in a John Deer, sort of way.

Exposing my children to the live birth of a calf was even more than I could handle, so we walked past Mommy Row quickly.  I don’t have pictures because well, it’s humiliating enough for the cows to be giving birth AT the rodeo IN front of hundreds of people.  It was the least I could do to turn off the flash.  My contribution to the farming community.

Our toddler had fun petting her first calf.  


This was the Borden’s milk exhibit.  I think she liked the strawberry samples of Borden’s milk even better than the animals.  Any why wouldn’t she?  It’s my favorite too, next tosweet tea.


A kiddie highlight was strolling down aisle after aisle of various farm animals that junior high and high school kids were grooming to show.  Dodging the poo in the aisle proved to be quite the challenge too. After my husband explained all the work involved and that these kids were skipping school to do it, my kids were ready to move to the country and sign up.  Because cleaning up the dung of heifers, is way better than math.  Any day.


As we were leaving (while the kids were still having fun-key to smart parenting), we walked past this HUGE Texas longhorn and couldn’t pass up the chance of putting our children’s lives in harm’s way, one more time.

When grandma saw this picture she said, “Well, that’s not a real cow is it?”  

Like we’d pay $7 to put our kids on a fake cow. Of course it’s real, see the foam dripping from it’s mouth?  Nothing like paying to sit on a thirsty Texas Longhorn, for fun.

I love the Rodeo.

And of course, this is what my kids looked like on the way home from the Rodeo.  They smelled similar too.


It was an amazing day, free of temper tantrums, complaining and sibling rivalry. I am so THANKFUL for the little things.

Maybe we should simplify and move to the country, after all. 

Since every rendezvous needs a surprise, I am giving away the newest Rascal Flatts CD, Still Feels Good, today!  You just need to leave a comment by 10 p.m. Texas time.  Winner will be announced in tomorrow’s final rodeo post.  The Texas Dinner Bell will be announced March 31st. You must leave a comment at  each post this week to qualify for that random drawing (because you really gotta want it and I have a low self esteem and comments help me.)

Come back tomorrow for the final Rendezvous day . . . . our date with Rascal Flatts.  Well, not really with them, but I did have this dream once, and–oh, never mind.  I’ll tell ya later.

His*Story- Part II

Tackling research can be fun.  Let me just begin by saying no cowboys, bulls or husbands were harmed in the writing of this post.  

This whole rodeo week all started out as a dare, really. And with a costume.  My husband claimed to be a cowboy in his life, pre-me.  I set out to prove him wrong.  

That’s when I unearthed these ancient photos my mother-in-law sent me years ago.  I vaguely remember the exchange. I think it was around the time I had a two year old and a newborn.  Most of my brain cells were lost in childbirth, the rest make a random appearance.  Thus, the genius blog you’re addicted to reading.  

Imagine if I was firing with a loaded gun.

Either way.  I never thoroughly looked thru the envelope.  Until now. 

This is my hubby at 2 years old.  Happy little thing, isn’t he?


This cowboy hat is the first actual evidence of an inner cowboy struggling to get out.  My mother-in-law had quite the green thumb.  Look at the way those weeds bloom.


Now, this next photo has nothing at all to do with the west, cowboys or cow manure.  I just couldn’t resist.  I’d bet my cat’slife, it is Easter Sunday.


And, that he’d just finished watching “Staying Alive.”  He’s 10 years old and his feathered hair is John Travolta-ish, don’t you think?

Since I included that one of the hubby at age 10, my conscience wouldn’t let me pass by this one of me at the same age. Just further proof that I was not a cowgirl and that I’m not entirely mean-spirited  (Many of you have wondered about my hubby’s feelings concerning the photos and posts—he’s my editor-in-chief, so he’s aware.  You wouldn’t believe the stuff I don’t blog about.)  



At the other end of Texas . . . my husband’s dream girl was at  Disney World (with my highly-frosted Momma) and I am in serious need of a hair care professional.  Yes.  It’s a ‘fro AND a smile.  Together.  Amazing.

Sorry, I digressed.   Back to the research.  This is a lovely photo of my husband in the 7th grade, to which my daughter said with a little too much emphasis, “WHO IS THAT?”


Notice the glasses.  Like you couldn’t NOT notice them.  He probably would have been beat up for those, except that everyone wore them.  The lovely 80’s.  I detected a small western clue.  He clearly has ‘hat hair.’  I’m sure he’s holding his Stetson.


I asked my husband about the two photos I just showed you. This is what I learned: His rodeo career peeked between the 7th-9thgrades.  He rode bulls in 8-10 rodeos every summer.  He owned two horses, Hobo and Thumper.  His dad was on the board of directors of the local rodeo and helped my hubby practice roping with a fake steer in the backyard.  And his favorite place to shop was Wayne’ Western Wear.  After a fall from a 1500 lb post-pubescent bull that resulted in a concussion, his career was cut short, enforced by Momma.

And then I found this.  It’s rawness still makes me shudder.  Thank God I did not see this photo before we married. 


Okay.  I agree. This picture screams “HICK!” more than it shouts cowboy.  But just look at the pride in their eyes.  See how my father-in-law a.k.a B.J The Truck-Driver  (10/4 good buddy) lovingly holds the tail of his kill?  And then, in my mother-in-law’s familiar script is written on the back of this photo, “two of the greatest.”  That’s country pride, my friend. Notice the western-cut jacket, the boots. Proof, dear one.


Here he is in high school.  Oh, stop my beating heart.

And this is how he looked when we were engaged.  We met in Bible College.  Notice the trim haircut.  The suit.  The glasses are getting smaller too.  He was so cute!  


(Was I REALLY that tiny AND tall?  I’m standing on the steps, but I  do remember being disappointed that I was over 100 pounds. Now, many pounds heavier, I still have tight pants.  And, I’ve replaced the girlish look with a more mature look.  Yeah, mature.  That’s it).

He put his Wrangler’s away once we finished college and joined the staff of a church.  I guess they distracted him from God.  I know they distracted me from all holy thoughts . . .

I did figure out one thing in my search:  I’m living with the real thing.  Teasing, aside.  He’s the best man I’ve EVER known and I’m still tickled pink we found each other and are on this trail-ride together. And, I’m learning you never really take the cow out of the boy.  

Stay tuned for our first rodeo together . . .

The Costume-Part I

Welcome to the Rodeo Rendezvous. This week is going to be full of stories about our country roots and rodeo experiences. You’ll learn fascinating tidbits of our history (Were we in Pecos Bill’s Wild West Show? Are we related to John Wayne? Do we have annual passes to Dollywood?) No. To all of that. We’re just your average redneck family, exposing embarrassing facts. It’s gonna be fun.

This whole FANTASTIC idea started with tickets.

My husband blew me away on Valentine’s Day this year. He usually does. Gift-giving is—well, it’s one of his gifts. I’m lucky that way.

It’s hard for me to surprise him though. I try, but I usually drop one too many hints or tell my children and I’m sure you know how that turns out.

This year, I was determined to surprise him with something he would love: a date. They happen, rarely-what, with the children and all. But I secured childcare and then I bought tickets. Concert tickets.

Before you say out loud to passers-by, “That’s it? That’s the surprise?”

You must know that the tickets were to see a little band called Rascal Flatts. At a sold out concert. At the largest rodeo in Texas.

There. Now you can be impressed.


I’m good, huh?

My husband was very pleased. And I must say, it was a proud moment when I knew I’d surprised him. Since the concert was several weeks away, we stuck the tickets in a safe place, far away from sticky hands.

I thought that was the end of it, you know, until we went to the concert.

But, I underestimated my husband.

He came home with these.

I thought it a little odd and wondered what in the world he would do with them. You think you know someone really well until they say, “I’ve been wanting these for a long time.” And he points to boots!


And then a few days later, he came home wearing these.

I’m slow, my friend. I hadn’t really put the boots WITH the jeans. I just thought my husband had a void only shopping would fill.

And my dear ones, I know all about voids that only new shoes can fill.

But then he dug up this from some scary box in the closet. “Where the heck did you get that?” I asked. I’m serious ya’ll. That buckle freaked me out! He explained: “My dad had it made for me when I was a kid. It spells my name.”

I tried for an hour to spell “Hick” and I couldn’t do it.

That’s when it hit me. OH, MY LANDS, He’s either infected with Mad Cow’s Disease or he’s assembling a costume. A costume for the Rodeo.

Now let me just say, the Texas Livestock Show and Rodeo is THE Rodeo. Not just for Texans. It’s world-known and was featured in The Southern Living Magazine a couple of months ago. (The article is actually what led me to search for concert tickets because you know, even though I live IN Texas, I need help, from Southern Living.) It’s where the best ropers and horse-sort-of people gather and compete and win livestock or something. It’s a BIG deal. Later on, I’ll get into our rodeo adventures . . .

So, anyway, I mentioned this to my husband in passing, “Can I see your costume?”

He stared at me. Strangely, it wasn’t a happy stare; it was more a menacing glare.

“What costume?” he finally said.

“You know, for the rodeo?” I said sheepishly.

“It is NOT a costume. I used to wear this stuff all the time and I’ve wanted to wear it again.”

My husband is a salesman in a suit. We live in the city. I am a city girl.

Then he brought home these. For me.

I was scared, now. Really, afraid. If I tasted minty-fresh tobacco after a kiss, I was calling a counselor immediately.

And then one night he came strolling in. This man was not a stroller. So, I stopped what I was doing. He had his ‘duds’ on from head-to-toe.

“I like your costume,” I said in a southern drawl.

He pulled me close and said roughly, “Don’t you remember what you used to say to me in college?

‘Wrangler butts, drive me nuts!’ he growled. I pushed him away, laughing.

And then, I remembered.

Digging thru my box of old photos, I found an envelope from my mother-in-law. Before I even knew this man-child, he was a real cowboy. And it’s just the beginning of the story
This is what I found:

Yes, that’s my husband in his pre-pubescent 12-year-old body. Riding a pre-pubescent BULL.

Did you really look close? I couldn’t believe this was lurking in our family tree:

Notice the truck-driver-looking man in the background? My father-in-law. Something to look forward to as my husband ages. Yeehaw (said unenthusiastically).

My hubby looked over his shoulder, making sure I watched him leave the room and said, “It’s not a costume.” This made my heart thud. Maybe I should be glad he was seeking out his western roots. I decided to do a little research of my own and followed the cowboy . . .

to be continued.