The Houston Rodeo Hoopla...
There's been so much rodeo talk in local news, I figured I might as well go along with it. But in truth, there is something sweet and nostalgic about cowboys and horses and it seems to delight The Quilt Group each year.
Hats and Bandanas
I promise I don't force these hats and bandanas on anyone. Why is it that everyone is always so willing to go along with this silliness? I think it's because we all grew up, longing to live a little bit of that life we saw in the Western films or TV. I know I did.
Breaking the Ice
Costumes and props break the ice, but we hardly need to with Libby and Harriet. Harriet laughed about her husband paying her NOT to sing...back in the day. Libby replied to Harriet's comment with a gentle bonk on the head with a soft stick horse!
What did cowboys do around the fire?
We imagined after a meal of chili or stew, a few cowboys might entertain themselves with some jokes or games. Someone suggested fighting?? We also decided there probably would have been some singing. It took only a suggestion and the whole group was swaying and singing Home on the Range. Libby reminded us that the cowboys probably told pretty good stories!
I brought this picture of my mom when she was a young girl, dressed up with her kitty. I retold a story of Mom's that used to make me cringe.
I'm not sure if it was my mom's first riding experience, but she was clearly untrained when she fell from the horse and held tightly to the reins as she was dragged.
The Group cringed right along with me when I told the part about the old farmer who owned the horse, asking my mom to cup her bleeding hands in front of her. "We'll fix that right up with some al-kee-hol!" I twanged the same way my mother used to when she pantomimed pouring the stinging liquid over her cuts.
I shared my own childhood dream.
A bandana and snow boots was the best I could do, back in my diaper days. But when I got a little older, I wanted a real cowboy suit. I told the Quilt Group that I remembered lying on the grass one summer evening and looking up at the first star to make a wish...for a full cowboy outfit. The whole group chimed in, remembering those words..."Star light, star bright..." It was as if they were trying to help me earn that wish! I think the picture on the right shows I didn't get the most top notch outfit. But, at least I look pleased in the photo.
One Story Leads to Another
And then more stories began to come from the group.
Rita's granddaughter recently got a temporary job working at the rodeo. Harriet remembered riding horses at a stable near Memorial Park. Libby got off on a subject of skillet cooking...as on an open fire. And Vivian said she was raised on a farm, so cows and horses weren't a bit unusual to her. And I so wish I had collected some good stories from my dear my mother-in-law, who owned these tiny spurs that belonged to her when she was a child.
What I learned:
Moments of nostalgia come and go. After I packed and headed towards the door, I noticed a few members of my group moving to other areas and activities. Sadly, one dear friend was fretting over finding her way home and another seemed suddenly confused by a missing sweater. How could these be the same folks who were laughing and singing moments ago? "Capture the moments when you find them." I reminded myself. I wish I could have lassoed them all up and kept them sitting around the campfire forever!
For 20+ years children have called it the Magic Quilt. They've danced and pretended all over these colorful squares. I've dragged it to schools, shelters and studios where children have climbed on top to hear Magic Quilt Stories and to act them out.