OutWest Blog Archives for July 2018

July 26, 2018 MARY KAYE and COWBOYS-A DOCUMENTARY PORTRAIT Featured Guests on Equestrian Legacy Radio

We are rebroadcasting 5 of our favorite shows this summer and this week is one of them! Catch this week's rebroadcast at www.equestrianlegacy.net.

The countdown to National Day of the Cowboy, July 28, 2018 continues! To celebrate and honor this special day, enjoy a rebroadcast of our tribute to the Cowboy originally broadcast July 27, 2017. Join host Gary Holt and Western Horseman Magazine's Jennifer Denison was they welcome guests MARY KAYE and BUD FORCE, Producer of Cowboys-A Documentary Portrait.

CAMPFIRE CAFE - 12:00-1:00 pm (CST)
SADDLE UP AMERICA - 2:00-3:00 pm (CST)

CAMPFIRE CAFE Welcomes Wrangler Award Winner, MARY KAYE

MARY KAYE is a high quality vocal act and her voice literally takes over the air waves! When you can, see her perform live. Her show is true "Live Entertainment!" The audience's is captured with her award winning three octave vocals, amazing musical dexterity, singing well loved classics along with award winning originals, a magnetic stage presence, beautiful finger style guitar playing, interesting song introductions, and a healthy dash of humor thrown in. 

With multiple albums to her name as well as a collection of standards she can perform for hours and not repeat herself. Mary Kaye's music crosses many boundaries and has won her many faithful fans. Standing ovations are typical at the end of her performances!

Mary Kaye was a Featured Performer of the SCVTV Presents The OutWest Concert Series. Click these links and enjoy her live performances.

April 2017: Mary Kaye and Joe Herrington
                   Queen of the Prairie and Sage of the Prairie

November 2012: An Evening With Mary Kaye
                            Special Guests Gency Brown, Robby Bausch

September 2011: An Evening with Mary Kaye
                             With the Cross Town Cowboys

September 2010: An Evening with Mary Kaye and Richard Lee Cody

About this film - here is a recent description from the film's FACEBOOK Page

The identity or idea of the "cowboy" can vary wildly depending on people's preconceived notions about who this person is. Who exactly is this iconic American figure (and who is it not)? 

In the world of “cowboying,” there are common subcategories including family ranch or small-outfit working cowboys, feedlot cowboys and even rodeo cowboys. While each of these groups work directly with livestock in some form or fashion, "Cowboys - A Documentary Portrait" focuses solely on the lives of big-outfit working ranch cowboys. 

We might refer to this type of cowboy as the closest descendant – in a professional sense – of the trail-driving cowboys of the 1800s. Big-outfit cowboys live and work on extremely large, open-range ranches that often operate on several hundred thousand to more than one million acres of land. These ranches generally run a full crew of cowboys, ranging from 10 to 15 people, who live either at the ranch's bunkhouse or in remote cow camps. While the nature of the profession includes plenty of solitude by default, the cowboys regularly work together. Photo below courtesy of Cowboy-A Documentary Portrait

EQUESTRIAN LEGACY RADIO is heard around the world. Hosts Gary Holt and OutWest's Bobbi Jean Bell share their passion for Western and Equestrian Lifestyle with their featured guests: musicians and equestrians. Listen on your Mobile Device and Streaming Live Online and On Demand and all Podcasts at www.equestrianlegacy.net

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Mary Etta Morse & The 25th Anniversary of the Movie TOMBSTONE

This is Mary Etta Morse with my latest column for the OutWest Scout. I sat down with OutWest's "BJ" this week and we chatted about one of her favorite movies, TOMBSTONE. I'm posing with the Director's Cut DVD of the film including a replica of Wyatt Earp's illustration of Tombstone as it was on October 26, 1881.

ME (Mary Etta): It's fun to sit down and chat with you! I've got a few questions. First, I know your name is Bobbi Jean Bell, but that's such a mouthful! Did you have a favorite nickname growing up?
Bobbi Jean (BJ): Hey there, Mary Etta, I've been looking forward to this time together. I did have a couple nicknames growing up - a good friend of the family saw me in my cowgirl outfit when I was probably 7 or 8 years old, I was wearing my brother's Roy Rogers gun and holster set, and he named me "Slim Jim." And my Granddad affectionately called me BJ, which I always liked.

ME: "BJ" - that's so darned cute! And you can call me "Etta" - it's short, just like me!
Ok, let's get down to business! This Saturday, July 28, is the annual NATIONAL DAY OF THE COWBOY. Since many of us only know about the cowboy through movies - have you got a favorite?

BJ: Growing up, we didn't watch a lot of TV but Westerns were often the show of choice. GUNSMOKE and BONANZA were two favorites. (My Dad got to know actor Jim Arness during the few months Arness attended Beloit College - he always like to remind us of that during the opening titles of GUNSMOKE and I had the privilege of meeting Mr. Arness during my years at the Autry Museum). For the purposes of today's conversation, let's talk about...TOMBSTONE!

ME: Yes! One of my favorites too...that cast has some of the most handsome men! Sam Elliott is my favorite - what a voice! It starred Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer and Dana Delany. Why do you like this movie?
BJ: I remember the anticipation around it's opening. I was in my second year as a volunteer and docent at the Autry Museum and we were all excited! Visitors always wanted to talk about Tombstone's history and it's infamous shoot out. Common questions we were asked involved details of the historical event and the well known names: Wyatt, Virgil, and Morgan Earp, Doc Holliday, Johnny Behan, Curly Bill, the Clantons, the McLaurys, Frank Stillwell and others. And, let's not forget the ladies - Big Nose Kate, Mattie Blaylock, Allie Earp, and Josephine Marcus,

To prepare for tours and meeting the public I studied up reading everything I could get my hands on beginning with Stuart Lake's popular myth making book WYATT EARP: FRONTIER MARSHAL which was published in 1931, shortly after Wyatt's death in 1929. It's a great place to start, especially to understand how and why Wyatt and his brothers became iconic characters for the mythmakers of the West. But, to really understand you've got to read lots more!

Since 1993 a plethora of terrific books have been published about Tombstone - its mining history, the characters, the gunfight itself, and the lives of the participants after Tombstone. There's even a Wyatt and Josie Cookbook! One of the most interesting is Anne Kirschner's LADY AT THE O.K. CORRAL:THE TRUE STORY OF JOSEPHINE MARCUS EARP. A fascinating read, Kirschner follows Josie's and Wyatt's adventuresome years together across the West, Southwest, and into Alaska. They experience feast and famine, high life and tent living - in some ways their life AFTER Tombstone is more compelling and engaging than the days when they first met. 

ME: Memories of seeing the film for the first time?
BJ: 2018 marks its 25th Anniversary!
It opened on December 24, 1993, Christmas Eve Day. I remember thinking it was odd to have a film with such a violent story open over the Christmas Holiday - but that wasn't going to keep us away. We went on Christmas Day. I was surprised that it was a sold out house. Even with all the hype, Westerns just didn't seem to pack houses then. My husband, Jim, was a big fan of the West so he was happy to be there. I was eager to see how the director, George P. Cosmatos, would frame the story. Would he be true to history? Or extend the myth? We sat deep in our seats and were ready for the ride.

ME: So, what did you think?
BJ: The wedding scene was a shocker. It doesn't get mentioned much in the articles and reviews of the film. Of course, like all films, the true events that happened over a number of months were condensed into a shorter time span. Val Kilmer's Doc Holliday was brillant and so memorable. All his scenes quickly became my favorite - especially the ones between Doc Holliday and Johnny Ringo - one upping each other in Latin, Ringo gun spinning and Doc cup twirling. Delightful!

ME: Doc had a lot of lines that are now famous. Like, "I'm Your Huckleberry." I like that. To me, it means "I'm the right person for the job." LOL! Can you imagine saying that while interviewing for a job?
BJ: The script is filled with memorable one liners that flow with the action brilliantly. Most are delivered by Doc with the camera catching his pasty skin, moustache, and captivating eyes. Wyatt shares a few. Do you recall the scene at the train station? Wyatt is after Frank Stillwell, and vengeance will have its day. "You called down the thunder, well now you've got it. Tell 'em the law's coming. You tell 'em I'm coming and hell's coming with me."

This train station scene is right out of the history books. He gets his man that day, Frank Stillwell. At the time of the movie, the firearm Wyatt used to kill Stillwell was on display at the Autry in an exhibition case with other artifacts relating the Tombstone's history. Standing at that case, sharing the stories behind the artifacts with visitors continues to be memorable for me. I often wondered what that firearm would tell us, if it could only talk! Another important piece on display was the handmade drawing Wyatt made in 1919 that was a map of the area including streets and buildings that were part of the October 26, 1881 event.

ME: Another favorite line of mine is delivered by Doc to Billy Clanton (played by Thomas Hayden Church - always loved him in the TV series "Wings). Billy comments that Doc is so drunk he's probably "seeing double." It's Doc's witty, spontaneous reply that makes us smile in our seats even though we know trouble is brewing. "I have two guns, one for each of you."
BJ: (Laughing) Yes, that's a favorite of mine too. The first time we experienced these lines we were so surprised, I think. If you've read a lot, or seen other films, at least up to this point, there was very little humor in the story or the portrayal of the characters. Unless you're enjoying a movie like "Blazing Saddles" the West isn't a place for comedy. Yet, this reminds us that these were flesh and blood men who could express humor. The more the film progressed, the more I was able to let go of the true history I knew and relaxed enjoying the pure drama and humor of the film. Great script, superb acting. It holds up to the test of time, as enjoyable today as it was in 1993. 

ME: Doc uses the term "daisy" a couple of times, as in "You'll be a daisy if you do!" said right after the shoot out. Do you know the reference?
BJ: The phrase "pushing up daisies" was popular in the time period and was a reference to death. Upon dying the body returns to the ground and ultimately provides nutrients for flowers. "You'll be a daisy if you do" is quite a threat, isn't it? In other words, "Take me on and be prepared to meet your maker."

ME: Is there a favorite quote of yours - perhaps less well known?
BJ: Yes. Again, delivered by Doc Holliday and one that speaks volumes down the centuries. It's as true today as it was when spoken in 1993 with reference to an earlier time.
"Is there a more dangerous man than one who knows he is bound for death sooner than later?" What a profound thought. Stated by Doc, it clearly explains his fearlessness in the face of death. Today's headlines scream of tragedies caused by the suicide bomber, the terrorist, the zealot. Yet, who wouldn't want a friend with the same intense loyalty like Doc's for Wyatt on your side?

And...there are 2 references to "room service" in the film. If you are a fan of the romance that blossoms between Wyatt and Josie...well, enough said!

ME: In the studying you've done, is there anything about this iconic moment in history that surprised you?
BJ: Many things! 
1. Visiting Tombstone first hand, walking into the actual buildings that still exist and the museums there, along with armchair reading led to a new understanding of the time and place. At the Autry, there's a large framed document showing all the mining claims. Mining hardly makes an appearance in Tombstone movies, yet it was the main industry. Thousands of residents were living in canvas tents, on top of each other, and the stamp mills were running constantly. I can only imagine what it was like to live in that environment - constant loud noise from the mining operations and the challenges of living so close to others. Mining was not for the feint of heart, it was hard work under dangerous conditions. I wonder what impact the noise had on people's nerves.

2. Today, we all know the basic story and the names of the main characters. References abound in cartoons, comics, ads, monologues, etc. I assumed that these men were as well known in their own time as they are today. Not true! Although the newspaper, The Tombstone Epitaph, reported the 1881 Gunfight of the O.K. Corral events, most of the populace didn't have a clue who the Earps and Holliday were. John Clum, Epitaph editor, tended to side with the Earps and business owners. Competing newspaper, Tombstone Nugget, took the opposite side supporting rural interests along with the Clantons and McLaurys. News of the funeral for Tom and Frank McLaury and Billy Clanton was headline news and was very well attended. Again, until the funeral was promoted few residents were aware of the conflict between the Earps and the so called Cowboys.

3. The historical Johnny Ringo is a fascinating character, an equal to Doc. At 14, while traveling by wagon from Wyoming to to California with his family, he witnessed the death of his father, Martin Ringo. Martin stepped off the wagon and his shotgun accidentally discharged, entering the side of his face and exiting the top of his head. Today, when studying what motivates a person's behavior we look at their childhood - I've often wondered how that event shaped Johnny's life and outlook.

4. At the end of the movie, Robert Mitchum as narrator, shares the basic facts of what happens to the major characters. We learn that Wyatt died in 1929 in Los Angeles and "among the pall bearers at his funeral were early Western movie stars William S. Hart, and Tom Mix. Tom Mix wept." In 2009 Jim and I opened our first OutWest Shop location in Old Town Newhall, CA. just a few doors up the street from two bungalows that were used by Tom Mix as dressing rooms while filming in Newhall. More importantly, we were within walking distance of the home of William S. Hart - a place Josie visited several times after Wyatt's death. I was privileged to be on an active member of the board of the Friends of Hart Park and learned more of Bill Hart's history and his longtime friendship with Wyatt and Josie. Below is a photo of his livingroom where he entertained regularly, showed films to his often famous guests, and displayed many of his cherished Native American baskets and rug collection as well as Charlie Russell sculptures and artwork.

ME: In this movie, the "Cowboys" weren't the good guys, were they? How has the image of the Cowboy changed over time?
BJ: What an excellent question and a great subject for another conversation!
You are correct, Etta. The term "Cowboy" has been feared and revered, ridiculed and honored, bad guy and good guy over time. In this film, the Cowboys wear red sashes and are the "bad guys" - brutish rustlers without redeeming value of any kind. They run up against the "good guys" who are stylish dressed in contemporary 1880's business attire and arrive in Tombstone as entrepreneurs. These rough Cowboys are no match for the fast acting, gunslinging, fearless men who believe they are on the right side.

ME: Are there events happening this year to commemorate the 25th Anniversary?
BJ: Tombstone hosted a very fun event just a couple weekends ago, 25th Reunion and Freedom Days.

ME: Recommended reading?
BJ: Here's a quick list of some of my favorites:
Peter Sherayko's a personal friend, he was "Texas Jack" in the cast and was involved with the choice of guns and gear used in the film. His book, TOMBSTONE: GUNS & GEAR is a must have for the serious collector as well as fans of the film.

Newspaper - Tombstone Epitaph
Peter Sherayko - Tombstone: Guns and Gear
Nicholas R.Cataldo - The Earp Clan: The Southern California Years
Casey Tefertiller - Wyatt Earp: The Life Behind The Legend
Paula Mitchell Marks - And Die In The West: The Story of the O.K. Corral Gunfight
Ann Kirschner - Lady At The O.K. Corral: The True Story of Josephine Marcus Earp
Bob Boze Bell - The Life and Illustrated Times of Wyatt Earp
Bob Boze Bell - The Life and Illustrated Times of Doc Holliday
Bob Boze Bell- Classic Gunfights, Vol II: Blaze Away!
John Clum - It All Happened in Tombstone

ME: Thanks for sitting down with me, BJ! This was fun!
BJ: It's always fun to find ways to connect the past to the present, isn't it? Watching the film again was so enjoyable. I noticed things I didn't see all the other times...the close ups on eyes and lips must have taken its inspiration from Sergio Leone's famous gunfight in "The Good, The Bad and the Ugly." He was a revolutionary filmmaker and has influenced many directors. So many details I picked up this time!

Note: All the Old West style distressed wooden signs are handmade and available to order. Just click the sign for its link to the website. To see our entire Old West Sign Collection click here.

MARY ETTA (ETTA) MORSE writes for the OUTWEST SCOUT, the blog of OutWest Shop.
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July 19, 2018 TOM HIATT and ELK MOUNTAIN RANCH Featured Guests on Equestrian Legacy Radio

We are rebroadcasting 5 of our favorite shows this summer and this week is one of them! Catch this week's rebroadcast at www.equestrianlegacy.net.

TOM HIATT was a featured guest on CAMPFIRE CAFE June 30, 2016 and our time with him was fun and engaging. We feature his Western music talents as a songwriter and performer. The second hour, on SADDLE UP AMERICA, we enjoy learn about ELK MOUNTAIN DUDE RANCH in Colorado with owner TOM MURPHEY.

Tom Hiatt can truly be called a “Son of the West” because Arizona, Texas, California, Alaska and Kansas have all been called “home.” The magnificent landscapes and the people who live in them fill the stories in the ballads Tom writes and sings: working cowboys, historic legendary characters, changes in the modern West and more.

Outwest Tom Hiatt 062316
Tom’s warm, emotion filled voice has enthralled people from Montana to Arizona, from the Pacific to the Atlantic and all areas in between. He has appeared with other popular cowboy singers and poets such as Ian Tyson, Chris LeDoux, Waddie Mitchell, The Sons of the San Joaquin, Sourdough Slim and Don Edwards at many cowboy poetry and music festivals throughout the country. More noteworthy appearances include, the Autry Museum, the Kamloops Cowboy Festival, the Carson City Rendezvous, the Tombstone Western Music Festival, the Lone Pine Museum of Western Film History and the Western Music Association’s Showcase and Awards Show.

Voted one of the “Top 5” acts in western music, Tom was nominated for Entertainer of the Year, Male Performer of the Year, and Songwriter of the Year by the WMA. His original song “Bronc to Breakfast” won the Academy of Western Artists “Will Rogers Cowboy Award” for Best Western Song of 2011 and he was nominated for Best Western Male Artist for 2015 by the AWA.

Tom Hiatt was featured twice in the SCVTV Presents The OutWest Concert SeriesClick the Date to enjoy his concert:
June 23, 2016 An Evening with Tom Hiatt
April 20, 2012 An Evening with Tom Hiatt and the Sundown Riders
Sundown Riders are two exceptional performers - Bruce Huntington and Ken Wilcox

Remotely located in the heart of the Rockies, adjacent to the Browns Canyon National Monument. ELK MOUNTAIN DUDE RANCH is secluded within the San Isabel National Forest near Buena Vista, Colorado. A pleasant two hour drive from Denver or Colorado Springs brings you to the heart of the Rockies. A 10-mile dirt road leads to our premier Colorado dude ranch. 

The Elk Mountain Dude Ranch experience is a one-week adventure encompassing the best of Colorado at very reasonable, all-inclusive vacation prices. Days at our Colorado dude ranch are filled with horseback riding, white water rafting, hiking, riflery, fishing, mountain biking and other activities set against a backdrop of unending vistas. It’s the ultimate in traditional western vacations – perfect for families, couples, singles and small groups. Cozy and comfortable cabins provide your home away from home.  Our accommodations are spotlessly clean with high quality bedding and tasteful western décor.  

EQUESTRIAN LEGACY RADIO is Heard Around the World. Hosts Gary Holt and OutWest's Bobbi Jean Bell share their passion for Western and Equestrian Lifestyle with their featured guests: musicians and equestrians. Listen on your Mobile Device and Streaming Live Online and OnDemand and all Podcasts at www.equestrianlegacy.net

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July 19, 2018 The Writer's Block Radio Show Interviews Author TOSCA LEE

New York Times Best Selling Author TOSCA LEE joins the hosts of The Writer's Block Radio Show on LA TALK Radio to discuss her masterful thriller THE PROGENY.

What if .... you had a secret so deep, powerful, and painful that you couldn't live with it and decided the only way to continue living was to have it erased it from your memory? 
What if...erasing that memory erased all memory and you discovered you didn't know who to trust? 
What if...you discovered that the memory, afterall, was necessary for survival and you had to relearn your past?
What if...as you relearned your past you discovered that you were a direct descendant of a merciless, sadistic, serial killer who died more than 400 years ago?

If you... enjoy getting lost in stories with roots in the historic past and fast forward to today you'll want this book. 
If you ...hunger for a series that introduces engaging characters caught in a terrifying web of deceit following clues found in ancient symbols, church glass windows, and crumbling documents with sketchy handwriting to find their way to safety you'll want this book.

Are you familiar with the infamous Countess Elizabeth Bathory De Ecsed? Paste her name into any web browser and be prepared to be horrified by the crimes attibuted to her! A woman of immense wealth, power, and beauty her sadistic escapades are the stuff of legend. Or...was she truly guilty of the 650 murders of young women which she was accused? THE PROGENY follows the complex lives of her descendants into modern day. Empowered with special skills and talents, the Progeny spend their lives hiding from the Scions whose whole purpose in life is to eradicate them. 

This is an adventure that starts on page one and keeps going to the very end. It is unrelentless in its speed, criss crossing nations, cities, cathedrals, monasteries, and the Underground. What starts in a quiet Maine lakeside retreat ends in the Fransican Monastery on the isle of Košljun in Punat Bay. And, that's just Book One! The story continues in Book Two - FIRSTBORN.

About The Writer's Block Radio Show:
Call in and speak with our guests! 818-602-4929
7/19/2018 Program #158 with Author TOSCA LEE (L)
Hosts: Author Jim Christina, OutWest's Bobbi Jean Bell, Author Bob Brill
Listen Live
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July 12, 2018 JENNIFER LIND Featured Guest on CAMPFIRE CAFE

Join hosts Gary Holt and OutWest's Bobbi Jean Bell for this week's "Campfire Cafe" and "Saddle Up America" online radio broadcasts.

Today on CAMPFIRE CAFE our special guest is JENNIFER LIND. This California girl brings the West home, where ever home is, with her beautiful stories in song. A singer/songwriter and member of the New Christy Minstrels you'll enjoy meeting Jennifer. Enjoy a live performance of Jennifer Lind with the California Cowboy Band, part of the SCVTV Presents The OutWest Concert Series. (see photo below, with OutWest's Bobbi Jean and Jim Bell)

At 1:00pm (CST) Directly following Campfire Cafe, ROBERT "TRAILMEISTER" EVERSOLE, an expert in back country trail riding joins us on SADDLE UP AMERICA. Robert will bring us tales and tips to help every trail rider get the most out of their horseback riding adventure where ever you ride.

EQUESTRIAN LEGACY RADIO is Heard Around the World on your Mobile Device and Streaming Live Online and OnDemand and all Podcasts at www.equestrianlegacy.net

REBROADCAST from May 2016

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July 12, 2018 The Writer's Block Radio Show Interviews Author PHILIP DONLAY

Author PHILIP DONLAY joins us this week on the Writer's Block Radio Show, broadcast online on LA TALK RADIO. This will be Donlay's third appearance on the show, and I'm excited to catch up with this prolific writer - author of the "Donovan Nash Novel" series.

His latest, fast moving, page turning thriller is SPEED THE DAWN. The title is inspired by this prayer:

"As the brightness and clarity of the day fades, we ask you, Lord, to keep us safe until morning. In the depth of night, we pray that you will show us the path with your everlasting light. As always, Lord, we trust in you to protect us from danger, and in your wisdom, we pray that you’ll speed the dawn. Amen."

Each of the books in this series features central characters, Donovan Nash and his wife Dr. Lauren McKenna. What a special couple they are! I don't want to give away any of the back story to this series...just read them and let Donlay spin the stories!

Here's a synopsis of SPEED THE DAWN, as it appears on the author's website:
Hundreds of white-hot meteor fragments plunge toward Earth near Monterey Bay, California. Huge fires ignite the tinder-dry landscape and, as the sun sets, the power grid collapses and the fires grow, illuminating a nightmare created in hell itself. Donovan Nash realizes he is trapped.

Injured and growing desperate, his options dwindling, Donovan fights to keep himself and a small band of survivors alive until dawn, when they can make one last attempt to escape the inferno.

Meanwhile, Donovan's wife, Dr. Lauren McKenna, working with the Pentagon as well as the Forest Service, envisions a bold approach to stop the fire from spreading all the way to the Bay Area and the seven million residents living there. She's terrified that, if not executed perfectly, her plan could cause the death of thousands of people—including Donovan.

Interviews with Philip Donlay:
July 12, 2018 - SPEED THE DAWN
February 16, 2017 - SECONDS TO MIDNIGHT
October 13, 2016 - PEGASUS DOWN

About The Writer's Block Radio Show:
Call in and speak with our guests! 818-602-4929
7/12/2018 Program #157 -Author Philip Donlay
Hosts: Author Jim Christina, OutWest's Bobbi Jean Bell, Author Bob Brill
Listen live 7:00-7:50pm (PST) 
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Abraham Hatfield Muses on His "Leftover Firecracker"

When I ponder the history and significance of Independence Day, July 4th, my mind considers the importance of July 5th too. Perhaps it is not as meaningful on a national level, but it is in my personal history. My Grandad was born on July 5th, and because he was expected to arrive about the same time as the fireworks of July 4th, his mother (my Great-Grandma) always called him her "leftover firecracker." 

My Grandad was born Robert Charles, but friends and family always called him RC, as it was shorter and to the point. The only time I ever heard him called Robert Charles was if my Grandma was a tad perturbed over something he did, or didn't do, and that was a rare occasion indeed. RC and July 4th went together well as he liked parades, patriotic music, good food and family time. Having a birthday the following day just allowed the celebration to continue. 

No one makes a pitcher of fresh squeezed lemonade like my Grandad. I watched him, and it appeared simple enough. Just cut the lemons, roll them around between the palms, then squeeze them between your fingers and let the fresh juices flow into a pitcher of ice cold water. Lastly, place the lemons into the pitcher. My attempts to replicate his easy recipe are feeble ones. Must have been some magic in the oils of his palm and fingers that did not pass on to me. 

And potato salad...what is it about potato salad that makes my mouth water at the very mention of its name? There are many versions, and I have enjoyed a wide variety at pot lucks, church suppers, and neighborhood gatherings but none compare to my Grandma's. Grandad was always in the kitchen, hoping to be the "taster" throughout the process. And, there was always a big enough batch to get us through the 5th. I often thought, an additional day in the refrigerator made it even tastier and always looked forward to it being part of Grandad's birthday meal.

And Brats on the grill...what Grandad could do with Brats on the grill...enough said.

And strawberries...it is not a summer celebration without strawberries. Strawberries and ice cream, strawberry shortcake, strawberry meringues (that was a real treat Grandma made, weather permitting). Yes, we always had strawberries on the 4th AND the 5th. And, do not even get me going on corn on the cob!

And music...my Grandad loved music of all kinds. Brass bands, Irish pipe bands, Gilbert & Sullivan, Sons of the Pioneers, and Lawrence Welk were favorites. On July 4th our wake up call was the 1812 Overture at full volume. Oh, the magnificence of it played loudly for all the neighbors to hear! Fireworks and the 1812 Overture are ideal partners, I was reminded of that while enjoying PBS "Capitol Fourth" last night. Whenever I hear that piece of music memories of my Grandad are near at hand.

Holidays spark memories. The first July 4th and July 5th that passed without him were very difficult. The parade, good eats and drinks, and music were still there but he was absent. Today, I still miss him like I do every day, but I am filled with the glow of his big, warm, loving spirit as I write these memories. He is right here, beside me, just as he always was.

Happy Birthday, to my "leftover firecracker," Grandad RC!

ABRAHAM HATFIELD writes for the OutWest Scout, the blog of OutWest Shop. Follow him!
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Abraham Hatfield Honors the Fourth of July

"We are in the very midst of a revolution," wrote John Adams, "the most complete, unexpected, and remarkable of any in the histoy of nations."
 --quote from David McCullough's Pultizer Prize winning title, "1776"

I read this book when it was first published, in 2005. I found it stirring, intense, and powerful. An avid reader and "armchair historian" I have long been a student of our country's history and have been fascinated by our origin events.

Today, we honor and celebrate the very start of our nation with pomp and circumstance including parades, fireworks, and family gatherings. John Adams predicted as much. I am not a fan of "July 4th Sales" and other attempts to put a commercial spin on the day - but that is probably for another blog.

I am Abraham Hatfield and the roots of my family history go back to the Revolutionary War - one family member fought valiantly and bravely and was awarded a tract of farmland in Ohio as payment for his years of service. Other members of my family tree fought in the Blue uniform during the Civil War - some did not come home, one languished in Libby Prison and came home at 60 pounds.

Please take a moment today, during your celebrations, to remember those who have paid the price for the freedom we enjoy today. And, give thanks for those that continue to serve and protect us. Yes, we have Memorial Day and Veterans Day to honor those that serve but let us not forget that our roots began with a dream of our founders who put their lives on the line and fought with bravery for a vision of a nation we call home today. 

Like Mary Etta Morse, I am new to this writing game but find myself intruigued and enthusiastic by the invitation of the editor of the OutWest Scout, OutWest's own Miss Bobbi Jean, to share my thoughts and such. Part II my July 4th column continues tomorrow, July 5th. Hope you will join me.

ABRAHAM HATFIELD writes for the OutWest Scout, the blog of OutWest. Follow him!
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