Bidness first again: that Authorpalooza on Saturday at the Barnes and Noble in Sandy's South Towne Center, from 1-4. I have to chuckle about the event. I assured Emily Showgren at Cedar Fort that I would be at any and all events requested, but ONLY if it's not snowing at Soldier Summit. At 7,700 feet and with a little snow and wind action, it looks like Everest. When Emily e-mailed me yesterday, she mentioned that it looked like good weather at the Summit. Hope she's right, because I plan to be at the B&N as scheduled.
I'll probably drive over listening - and singing along - to cowboy music. I'm not a country/western fan - wait, I take that back. For some weird reason that I have never understood, I listened to Country Music Television during the year I was writing my thesis. I'd get home from class and work, turn on CMT, and start writing. For another weird reason, I wrote that sucker in long hand. Don't know why. Well, maybe I do. Taking time, slow page by slow page, meant a good thesis. I haven't listened to CMT since, though. (Want to know the world's greatest pick up line among historians? "Hey, I read your thesis." No joke. Someone told me that. He's still a friend.)
But I do like cowboy music. My favorite singers are Michael Martin Murphey and Ian Tyson. MMM came to my attention recently. Last fall, he did a benefit concert in Angel Fire, New Mexico, for a Catholic school, I believe. My son Sam owns the Sunset Grille at Angel Fire, and told me that MMM was going to have dinner at his restaurant. As it turns out, he didn't, but I had sent Sam a copy of Here's to the Ladies: Stories ofthe Frontier Army, for Mr. Murphey. A little while later, Sam told me that MMM's hostess started reading the book, and gave it to him reluctantly. MMM very kindly autographed a CD for me ("Lone Cowboy") and sent it to me via his hostess.
I was so pleased that I sent another copy of Here's to the Ladies, to the hostess, whose name I can't recall. Whereupon she sent me another MMM-autographed CD called "Cowboy Blues." (At least, I think that's the title. I'd go out to my van and take a look at the title, but it's about 19 degrees out right now and my house is warmer.)
I told my son to let me know when MMM is in Angel Fire again. I'll happily drive that 8 1/2 hours, just to hear him sing in person. I might make him some of my world-class Cowboy Cookies, which have a certain fame in National Park Service circles.
Lest you think I'm not sufficiently cultured, I also enjoy Puccini operas, Handel's stuff, and just about anything by Bela Bartok. But when I want to sing along, it's to Michael Martin Murphey and Ian Tyson, my favorite Canadian singin' stockman. The older folks among us - that would be moi - might remember him from his Ian and Sylvia, folksinging days.
I like Murphey's song, "Vanishing Breed." It has a closing line, something about: "We're not vanishing. We're just hard to see from the Interstate." That's what I like, too. I-70 is 60 miles to the south and east, while I-15 is some 60 miles north and west. Perfect.
Hope I'm not boring you with this, but I have another favorite cowboy, besides Mr. Paul Otto. I knew him as Mr. Kaiser. He was a cowboy in Cody, Wyoming, my dad's home town, and a friend of my grandparents. Mr. Kaiser and his wife had settled down on a small farm just outside of town. I remember many a summer day when he'd ride his beautiful black horse to my grandparent's house, and tap on Grandma's kitchen window. She'd open it, and he'd lean in and hand her a quart of cream.
The Christmas I was four, Dad was in Thailand during the Korean War, and we were living with the grandparents in Cody. One of my Christmas presents was a little farm. There was a cowboy figure about two inches high. I named him Mr. Kaiser, and kept him for years. Yep. I love my cowboys, starting with Mr. Kaiser.