Monday, September 29, 2008

The social event of the season

Forgive me readers, for I have sinned. It has been two days since my last post. But I have a good excuse, really I do. Saturday marked the social event of the season out in these parts, so I was busy. Busy trashing my kitchen trying to replicate Pioneer Woman's Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeño Thingies.

There's a reason you don't see any cooking posts on this blog. I'm a kitchen slob. Just head on over to PW's site if you want to learn how to make them...and how they're supposed to look when you're done...unlike mine. 'Nuff said. But they tasted oh so good!

With my appetizer in hand, I headed on over to Frank's ranch for the big shindig. This is an annual event that has occured the last Saturday of September for as long as anyone can remember. Frank throws himself and his buddy Juan a big old birthday party.

This is Frank, standing in front of his windmill. I was hesitant to take my camera to the party, fearing the neighbors might think I'm even weirder than they thought already. But Frank seized upon the opportunity and wanted his picture taken at all the scenic spots on his property. Who was I to argue?

The decor at this party is not your standard disco ball and crepe paper.

Frank's and Juan's friends come from all over the state to enjoy the festivities. Many even bring their RVs and stay the weekend. Everybody puts on their dress boots and a clean pair of Wranglers, and they catch up on all the doin's for the past 12 months.

Kids are welcome, and there is plenty for them to do. Like exploring the umpteen antique vehicles that have accumulated on the ranch since time began.

My neighbor K, who has totally embraced her cowgirl lifestyle, looks forward to Frank's party more than all the adults put together, as there are dozens of new kids to play with.

You know the party is gonna be good when they haul in a flatbed trailer for the buffet table. And then, when the roasters come out filled with Daisy's Pinto Beans, Elma's Carne Adovada, and Mae's Posole, well, it just can't get any better. Here, Daisy and Frank's son, Lester, are carefully calculating how many roasters can get plugged into one power strip without causing a statewide blackout.

Everyone is always so happy to see each other at these gatherings. And no, the bottle of wine in the one woman's arm has nothing to do with that.

This is Cowboy Keith, my neighbor and K's dad. He was our designated driver.

This is neighbor Sue – K's mom – with birthday boy Frank. Keep track of all these relations because it's about to get complicated. Sue is Keith's wife. Frank's ex-wife Joanne (not pictured) was also at the party, as was his other ex-wife Joanne (also not pictured). How many people do you know with two ex-wives with the same name? Who is still cordial enough with both of them to invite them to his annual birthday party? Joanne #1 and Joanne #2 aren't so cordial with each other, but still. Frank has quite the reputation as a ladies' man.

Meanwhile, while Sue was being cordial with Frank, her daughter was being cordial with her new friend.

And the other birthday boy, Juan, was being cordial with his wife Daisy. I love it how couples can still be cordial after 60-some years. I believe this year marked Juan's 81st birthday and Frank's 78th.

Juan and Frank have spent a lifetime joshing with each other. My all-time favorite memory of them is when I was heading out one evening in my truck. It was about sundown, and I saw four men on horseback coming toward me on the road. I got closer and saw it was Juan, Frank, and two of their peers, all heading back to Juan's place after moving a herd of cows to a new pasture. I hope I'm still riding horses when I get to be their age.

I was losing the light and took a few more pictures of Frank before I put my camera away. The music was starting and it's hard to two-step with a camera hanging around your neck, you know.


  1. of my fathers three marriages two of the women have the same name... and this past week my dad and step mom number 2 went to visit my grandmother who is suffering from dementia ... Grandma said to my step mom, "so your name is Jeannie huh?" "you sure dont look like Laurie's mom!" WHOOPS sorry jeannie its not grandmas fault that her memories are failing her and she is only recalling things from 30 years or more ago....

    Looks like a wonderful party Happy Birthday to Frank and Juan!

  2. Oh Yeehhhh! With all the cordiality going on around there, just sit me down, and set me up with my own cordial (the liquid kind, not the ones with the gooey cherry centers)! hehe

    Did you get to ride over to the party in cowgirl style on Hank or Lyle?

    It's a good thing you chose to take those jalapeno popper things over there, instead of my fried oreos. You wouldn't want to be known around those parts, as the gal who helped clog up Frank and Juan's arteries....and ended the long history of all those fun parties. :)


  3. Oh, it reminds me of the pie suppers we went to when I was growing up...

  4. Oh, you make me want to be a cow girl!

    Your life is straight out of a scene in "Baby Boom." I love that movie.

    I've always wanted a veterinarian like that!

    To kiss me like that...

    Do you know the movie I mean? Where her plummer sings "Moonlight in Vermont" at the big social get-together?

  5. Sounds like a GOOD time. When you didn't post I was afraid the wicked tarantula had got ya!!

  6. Absolutely DELIGHTFUL story! I love parties like these. Sounds (and looks) like a good time was had by all. Even the Joannes. :-)

  7. I love the roasters full of happiness all lined up. I also love real cowboys. Fun party.
    My husband stuffs peppers with shrimp before the bacon belts them in. I like Devils on Horseback which are Prunes (!) wrapped in bacon and baked like PW did. What doesn't go with bacon!?

  8. That sounds like FUN!! I gotta ask....did you two step with Frank?

  9. Great. My kind of folks. Betty makes Jalapeno Poppers and they are so good.

    I knew a guy who said he had three ex-wives and they ALL had the same name - plaintiff.

    I read a story in American Cowboy about seven years ago and it had a notice about a woman who died from a fall from her horse. She was 103 years old. That's the way I want to go.

    Thanks so much for sharing.


  10. OMG, I REALLY have to move to the country. This is my idea of a party! My favourite photos are the windmill & steer skull shots. The one of little Miss K bringing a shy smile out of her new best friend was VERY sweet, as well. What a blast! I've missed you, however, it's completely understandable. All is forgiven. Welcome back.

  11. LOL....I JUST read Dan's post. Plaintiff...snort...I LOVE your sense of humour, dude!

  12. Oh, that party looked like everyone was having so much fun! Wish I were there, too!

  13. This was the best thing I have read all day. Those old guys celebrating like that is so fun and I love the way you have documented it. I love that last photo of Frank...what a hoot!

  14. OOh, I SO want to live near you! Is there any room for a displaced winemaker? They're making fabulous wine there in NM (just check out Gruet if you don't believe me! Just as good as the French stuff!)

    Thanks for the post - it takes a lot for this lurker to pop out from under my rock!

  15. Ain't those jalapeno thingies great?!! We love them.

  16. Wow, that is a true NM western cowgirl/cowboy party! I love the pictures you took to capture the event and the way you edited them, gave them a nice vintage western feel!
    I wish I had a group of old-timers like that to hang out with!

  17. excellent pictures! I love that! Love those kind of get togethers too, they are the best. The food sounds DIVINE!