April 2012 - Vol 4, Issue 4
Reminiscences of a friend of Rose Ortega,
during her later years
By Linda Grimm
Remembering Rose is pure delight, for she was an amazing lady. Her total love and devotion to Luis was life long, and was still quite clear when we spent time with her, during many visits, near the end of her life. Even though Luis had been gone for several years, his legacy was still important to her. Indeed, it was the focus of her life.
Rose grew up on a farm in Northern Oregon with one sister and two brothers. She often told us stories of her early days on the farm and some of the silly things she did. One time she climbed up the silo on the barn. Getting up too high, she became so afraid, she could not get down. Her father had to climb up and rescue her, and lectured her to her never to do it again. He need not have bothered, as she was so scared she had no intention of repeating that mistake.
Rose went off to college to become a physical education teacher. One day a dear friend asked if she would like to accompany her on a trip to visit friends in Santa Barbara, CA. While there, she met a handsome cowboy named Luis Ortega
, who braided rawhide into reins and hackamores and other useful things. While trying to impress this pretty little lady, Luis tried to show off the intricate braiding he did. Rose's comment was, "Oh, that's nothing. I can do that." Taken aback, Luis cut some strings, showed her a basic braid just one time, and said, "See if you can do this."
So, Rose went home, taking along the strings and soon sent back to Luis her finished work. As they say, the rest is history. They soon became engaged, and married in 1936.
I remember one day asking Rose why they had no children. This is what she told me, "As a young child, my mother was the local midwife. Because I was the oldest girl, she took me along with her in the summer, when we were not in school. I did like to go because I would often have other children to play with at the neighboring farm. One time, my mother ran into great trouble helping a lady deliver her baby.The screams from the poor woman echoed all over the farm. It just went on and on, and it seemed like forever. Finally word came from the house that the baby and mother had both died. It was just so sad. My mother was heartsick and I was terrified. I swore then that I would never have children and I never did!" It seemed Luis was fine with this as well.
During their long marriage, the couple did little else but create rawhide horse gear and take it to all the major horse shows in California, from Del Mar to the Cow Palace. They had their booth and would sell the items they had spent all winter making. Traveling to these shows was actually a working vacation for them as they got a chance to visit with all their many friends. They would come to shows in Santa Barbara and Ventura and stay with their good friend Kay Haley. They had a fabulous time and Kay would arrange to have exhibits in local museums. She also hosted gatherings where Luis would discuss the history and making of rawhide and Kay would talk about Edward Borein, the famed western artist who gave Luis his start in selling his fine rawhide work.
The later years of Luis and Rose remained rewarding and interesting. Luis was given an award by the National Endowment for the Arts and they traveled to Washington DC to accept that honor. Then Luis was inducted into the National Cowboy Hall of Fame
in Oklahoma City. Dear little Rose, in her late seventies, frail and in poor health, packed up their Lincoln and motored
(as she put it) them from Paradise, CA to Oklahoma City. By this time Luis, in his early nineties, was quite infirm and could barely get in and out of the car, but Rose would somehow get him in and out, and with sheer determination made the round trip, so Luis could be there for the presentation of this distinguished honor. This was, for Rose, the culmination of the long journey they had made together. It was the important national recognition, which she always felt was his due.
To say she was amazing is truly an understatement. This tiny lady, herself suffering from illness, did everything in her power to make Luis realize his dream and she certainly did just that. Imagine - all those years, she took care of the house, did all the bookkeeping, both business and personal, and responded to the voluminous correspondence. She helped write Luis's articles and books, proofreading and correcting. Her life's work was Luis. One day she said to us - and I will never forget the sound of her voice, and the love and devotion that flowed from her, "I just praise the Lord that I could help the man I love fulfill his dream."
Top - Luis and Rose getting ready for Santa Barbara Fiesta, circa 1936. Bottom - Rose and Luis at home in Paradise, California.
You can reach author Linda Grimm
|Did You Know?|
|1. Louisa Ann Swain, a seventy-year-old woman, became the first woman in America to vote in a public election at Laramie, Wyoming on September 6, 1870.
2. Cibachromeis a process by which a photographic print is made directly from a color transparency. Noted for rich color, brilliant clarity and unprecedented archival quality for color for color prints. Also called Ilfochrome.3.
is the person acknowledged within the Native American community as the one who verbally passes on the historical and cultural beliefs. Helen Cordero, Conchiti Pueblo, was the first to depict a storyteller, surrounded by children in clay. Cordero's "Storyteller" is on display at the Museum of International folk Art in Santa Fe.
| Empty Saddle |
Beloved dealer, former Santa Fe (Whitehawk) show promoter
High Noon Family Dealer
Santa Fe and Morning Star
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| High Noon Music Box|
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|Linda's Feed Bag|
Baked Breakfast Cups
Surprise the kids or grandkids!
These little egg cups are quick and easily adapt to what you have on hand. Try using the ingredients listed below, but you can substitute almost anything (healthy) in your refrigerator. Suggestions: turkey bacon, sautéed onions, sweet peppers. You can also add a round of toasted bread on the bottom of each cup (use a glass to cut the shape).
Or make 12 and eat the rest during the week.
Ok, I'm getting carried away here. Please see the recipe below:
6 eggs, well beaten (figuring 1 beaten egg per cup - you may want to scramble each individually)
6 tsp cream or milk
6 tsp chives or onion, chopped
4 strips bacon, cooked, crumbled
6 tsp hot pepper cheese. If you use regular cheese, try adding a dash of chili powder. But easy does it!
6 cup muffin pan
Spray the muffin pan with cooking spray. To each cup add 1 scrambled egg and 1 tsp of each of your other ingredients
Bake in a pre-heated 350° F oven (or over an open fire while camping) for 10 to 15 minutes or until eggs are set to your liking.
Takes total of 30 minutes to make breakfast fun!!!!
Help us "Put on the Feed Bag!" Appetize us with your favorite cowboy cuisine. Send us a recipe or culinary creation - keeping the traditions of the American West alive is about the great food too! From ribs to rhubarb, campfire food to a great bowl of chili - we Wild West epicureans want to know.
Submissions welcome at SmokeSignals@highnoon.com.
|What High Noon Can Do For You|
|Our Inner Cowgirl|
The Cowboy Connection
by Jayne Skeff
"I'll be celebrating my 35th wedding anniversary next month," said Vangie. The story behind how she and her husband even got together in the first place is testament to the fact that she is so passionate, so fun and lives her life to the fullest. For over 20 years, Vangie and husband Jerry have owned Cowboy Connection in Livingston (MT) so when she started the interview, mentioning she was from Southern California, it begged the question, "How did you end up in Montana?" And now the story begins to unfold...
"I was a beach bum living in L A and Jerry owned several used car dealerships in the Valley - he was a Valley boy." Well Vangie wasn't really a beach bum at all. She in fact was a financial analyst for Rockwell International in Seal Beach working on the first Space Shuttle Program. Okay, back to how they got hitched...
Vangie, the single "beach bum" ended up meeting and dating her (now) husband's best friend for quite a while. Along the way, she and Jerry got to know each other really well and the four would frequently double date. They all had a great time. "One morning, you know how it is, I woke up and realized I didn't want to date his best friend anymore so I broke it off and moved on with my life. After several months, I thought it would be fun to get in touch with him and we made plans to get together for dinner." Just two old friends who enjoyed each other's company. "We met for dinner out in the Valley (of course) and we talked non-stop about everything, laughing and having a great time. Then, at the end of dinner, Jerry got down on one knee and proposed!" Completely blindsided but something telling her that this was as right as right could be, she said "YES!" OMG! "What a shock," she recalls. "I had no idea. My head was spinning on my drive back to the beach but I knew this was exactly what I wanted to do. We were the best of friends and that's what it's all about."
Now shortly after they got engaged, Vangie spotted a 1976 vanilla Corvette that she just loved. Talk about a man in love who just happened to be in the car dealership biz. Lo and behold, not long after, a young military man needed to sell his 1967 vanilla Corvette and Jerry snapped it up in an instant. As he tells the story, at their wedding, he dangled the keys in front of Vangie to make sure she said, "I do!" What a fun couple.
They stayed in LA for a few years then decided to take two years off and hit the road in their first motor home. "We spent two years traveling the country and just loved it. We're both runners and hikers and we hiked and ran the West Coast from top to bottom. It was fabulous." But what they also began doing in their travels is collecting. "We are both history buffs and love the West and cowboys and old Western movies."
When they returned to L A, motor home laden with their newly found treasures and promptly installed into their house, they decided to check out a dealership in Northern California to possibly buy. They had a realtor come by to look at their house to list and he said, "You have got to get rid of all of this stuff - there's too much in here to even show the house." So, on a recommendation, they did their first gun show in Sacramento. They had amassed quite a collection by now and their first venture into shows went great - well, sort of. As Vangie recalls, "My husband sold 47 objects but bought 50 and still had profits in his pocket!" That was it, they would become Western antique dealers on the show circuit and they just loved it and still do today. "Slowly, collecting and dealing just took over our lives," says Vangie.
Along their many cross-country travels, they both fell in love with Montana - the openness, the wild animals roaming the countryside - everything about it. They decided to leave California for good, move to Livingston to begin a whole new life there. For the first few years, they traveled collecting and selling at shows. Then they decided to open a store in Livingston, the perfect building became available and The Cowboy Connection opened its doors. "It's been wonderful having the shop and now we have two buildings on Main Street." We love seeing the people that come back year after year - they've become like our family." They still do several shows each year, traveling in their motor home (it's a newer one) and they've been doing High Noon since the second year.
When Vangie is not on the road doing shows, she loves to take her Paint out in the backcountry for rides because she is still an avid hiker and loves to fish and hunt big game. Passing through Livingston? Make sure you stop at The Cowboy Connection at 110 South Main Street and enjoy Angie's wonderful, sparkling personality!
The Cowboy Connection www.thecowboyconnection.com
|Roaming Range Reporter|
by Paul Thompson
It was close to 30 years ago, he had a real name, but I don't remember what it was. I started calling him Strawberry because I thought that he was a strawberry roan, but I found out later that he was an appaloosa from the Nez Perce in Idaho. He wasn't really mine; a young Ute boy owned him and that kid got into some bad trouble and had to go to prison - so I was really just horse sittin'. That kid had a sister who had no husband but she did have a little boy who was born with a club foot. She dearly loved her little boy. That little Indian boy loved horses and he especially loved Ol' Berry. Every now and again I would saddle up Ol' Berry and ride over to their place and take that little boy for a ride - sometimes, we'd go for ice cream. That little crippled boy sure did love those rides. He got to askin' if he could ride Ol' Berry so I would set him up on my big old Oklahoma Roper and lead him around their yard.
It came to me one day and I set out to the pawn shops and the feed stores to get a wee saddle for that little boy. It took several weeks, but I finally found one. I would saddle up Ol' Berry, tie the wee saddle on behind and go to see the boy. We'd go for our regular ride then I'd take my saddle off of Ol' Berry and put up the wee saddle. At first I would lead him around, but then he got to where he could ride around the yard by himself. That little boy was about as happy as I've ever seen a young one - that little boy, club foot and all, learned to ride in that wee saddle.
I talked all I could to the folks in the Indian community and to the law. I wrote letters and got lots of other folks to write letters and we got the young man paroled. While I was busy doing all that, I got the locals to raise enough money for the little boy to get the surgery that would fix his little foot.
When the young man was released from prison, he came back to the La Platas just long enough to get what he most loved in this world: his girl friend and their baby, his sister and her little boy, and Ol' Berry.
Author Paul Thompson lives on a small ranch in southwest Colorado; about seven miles south of Bayfield, CO. He spends his time between here and a larger place in Montana working as a Management Consultant, primarily in hazardous material remediation. He is, by the way, VERY active in Tough Enough To Wear Pink
sponsored by Wrangler
for the greater awareness and research into Breast Cancer. He started writing "cowboy poetry" to his "Pink" ladies - who have lost one or usually both breast to the surgeon's knife, their once beautiful hair to the chemo treatments, and their once soft, tender skin turned tough as dry leather by the radiation treatments. "If my small way with words brings even one moment of joy or eases the suffering of just one person then I have done a good day's work." You can reach Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org
|A Little Cowboy Poetry|
This month, we present cowboy poetry by Jeff Roll...
When the phone rings at 5:30 A.M. you have a premonition it cant' be good.
Ronnie, a mutual acquaintance, informed me that Joe was gone.
I didn't try to hold back tears.
I needed them.
Joe Rivera has passed on.
You may remember Joe as a tough negotiator over some highly prized artifact.
I remember him as a friend.
I remember his kindness and generosity.
I remember what now turns out to be too little time we spent together.
I will miss him beyond belief.
After you read this do yourself a favor and take the time to do something you enjoy.
Do me a favor and wish Joe Rivera Godspeed.
Amigo mio. Jeff Rolljerancho@cybermesa.com
Reel Cowboys of Western Cinema
A Century of Silver Screen Heroes on Horseback
By Gary Eugene Brown
For those of us who grew up in the 30s, 40s and 50s, cowboy movie stars were often heroes we wanted to emulate...at least us boys. Sure, Babe Ruth, Charles Lindbergh, Jack Dempsey and Sammy Baugh were worthy role models (minus certain off field antics). However, there was something special about those knights on horseback who rode across the screen on their trusty steeds to save the rancher's daughter from a steely eyed banker with foreclosure papers in his vest pocket or to halt a range war between the nesters and the cattlemen.
This is the first installment of a continuing series in which I will share a little background on who those western leading men were (in chronological order) in an attempt to keep their memories alive. Since there were over 100 leading men in cowboy movies from Broncho Billy Anderson to Jeff Bridges, who starred in B Oaters to A Westerns, the list had to be pared down considerably. As such, the following thirty stalwarts are those who, in my opinion, made a major contribution to the genre and/or had an interesting tale to tell. As a disclaimer, if your hero is not one of those featured, don't hold it against the kind folks at High Noon's Smoke Signals
. I even had to exclude some of my own favorites.
WILLIAM S HART
William Surrey Hart was born in Newburgh, NY in 1864. His biography My Life East and West
, begins when he was a small boy in Oswego, IL, where his father ran a flower mill along the Fox River. Bill later accompanied his father on his travels among the Plains Indians in the Dakota Territory where his dad taught them how to establish flower mills. This gave the youngster an opportunity to learn firsthand about the culture of the Lakota and to walk the boardwalks of cattle towns where cowboys reigned. Bill returned to the east coast where he became a world class Race Walker. However, his career interest was to become an actor. He had an opportunity to star in the original production of Ben Hur
and a countless number of Shakespearean plays. The first attempts at making westerns by people who did not know their subject matter was appalling to Bill Hart. After all he had been among the real cowboys in Kansas' cow towns. He once remarked after seeing a two reel, so-called western, that the film actor who portrayed the Sheriff looked more like a cross between a "Wisconsin woodchopper and a Gloucester fisherman." This prompted Bill to call his former roommate Thomas Ince, who was making motion pictures in the new town of Hollywood, and plead with him to allow him to make westerns. In turn, Bill Hart went to the West Coast in 1914 and began making 2 reel films (approx. 20 min.) for Thomas Ince and The New York Motion Picture Company. He soon progressed to making 5 and 7 reel films and eventually became a director with his own production company.
William S Hart went on to become the first major western cinema star and made over 60 films between 1914 and 1925. At the height of his career, he was as popular as the royalty of Tinsel town which included Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford as King and Queen and Charley Chaplain as the Court Jester. Bill's films were serious attempts to portray the West the way it really was at least in Bill's opinion. He was not as flamboyant as Tom Mix and kept his private life to himself. The story lines of his films often began with Bill being a two gun outlaw, who had a mother, sister or pretty school marm who prayed for him to change his evil ways and by the end of the fourth reel; he had turned over a new leaf and began to seek redemption. Bill Hart was also credited with being the first cowboy star to give costar billing to his horse Fritz, a 13 hand Tobiano Paint. His home is the same as it was when he died in 1946. The Santa Clarita, CA museum/historic home which contain a great collection of western art, is open to the public, as Bill deeded the 200 acre ranch to the County of Los Angeles.
The most notable films of his storied career that have survived that are available on DVD/Video are: Hells Hinges
; which evidently influenced Clint Eastwood's High Plains Drifter; The Toll Gate
. The latter film, a first class A production, released in 1925, caused a financial burden for Bill who bucked the studio system by distributing his own movie. William Fox and others, controlled the production, distribution and showing of films in their own theaters. The film was rereleased in the late 30s with a prologue added by Hart. This was the first time the public had an opportunity to hear the former Shakespearean actor turned cowboy hero speak. He told the story of Tumbleweeds
- The Oklahoma Land Rush and then closed with an emotional, final adieu to his many fans that had spent their nickels to watch his movies as children and now were adults with children of their own. He shared from the heart how much he enjoyed the making of western films..."Oh, the thrill of it all!" and then took off his Montana peaked, sombrero and closed with "Adios Amigos, God bless you all, each and every one." He bowed, turned and walked off into eternity.For further information: William S Hart, Projecting the American West
, written by Ronald L. Davis, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, OK, 2003
You Tube has the 8 minute moving prologue: "William S Hart, Farewell to the Screen"
GARY E BROWN
Gary's career centered in law enforcement. He began in the Garden Grove Police Department, Carpinteria Police Department, then became Police Chief of Monterey, California. Along the way he served as Special Agent with NCSI and other important law enforcement agencies. He is published in subjects centered in administration, leadership and executive development, been recipient of the prestigious Joe Malloy award, and part of the management study for the City of Santa Cruz. Gary resides with his wife in Visalia, CA. They have 3 sons, 4 grandchildren and two horses. He serves on the Board of Directors for Happy Trails Therapeutic Riding Academy and promotes cowboy poetry and music concerts. When he grows up Gary wants to be a cowboy.
|Send us your stories...|
NOW Until May 27, 2012 Cowgirls with a Camera Wickenburg, AZ
NOW Until September 2, 2012 Bolo Tie Exhibit at the Heard Museum Phoenix, AZ
NOW Thru November 2012 Many Mexicos: Vista de la Frontera Tucson, AZ
April 12-15, 2012 Columbia River Cowboy Gathering Kennewick, WA
April 13, 2012 Desert Rose Society Event-National Cowgirl Museum Ft. Worth, TX
April 19-22, 2012 Old Settler's Music Festival Austin, TX
April 19-29, 2012 Fiesta San Antonio San Antonio, TX
April 20-22, 2012 2012 Cowboy Culture Celebration Dublin, TX
April 26-28, 2012 Gathering of the Nations Powwow Albuquerque, NM
April 26-29, 2012 Genoa Cowboy Poetry & Music Festival Genoa, NV
May 10-12, 2012 Western Heritage Classic Event Abilene, TX
May 12 - July 1, 2012 Howard Terpning: Tribute to Plains People Exhibit Los Angeles, CA
May 18 - October 2, 2012 100 Years, 100 Ranchers Exhibit Wickenburg, AZ
May 19, 2012 An Evening with the Cowboys Santa Barbara, CA
May 22-27, 2012 Bishop Mule Days Bishop, CA
May 25-26, 2012 John Wayne Birthday Celebration Winterset, IA
May 28-29, 2012 21st Annual Chuck Wagon Gathering & Cowboy Festival Oklahoma City, OK
May 31 - June 2, 2012 A Gathering of Guns at the Memphis Film Festival Olive Branch, MS
June 8-9, 2012 Prix de West Invitational Art Exhibit Oklahoma City, OK
June 8-10, 2012 Red Earth Native American Cultural Festival Oklahoma City, OK
June 16-17, 2012 Plains Indian Museum Powwow Cody, WY
June 22-24, 2012 Brian Lebel's Old West Show & Auction Denver, CO
June 28 - July 4, 2012 Prescott Frontier Days Prescott, AZ
July 19-22, 2012 California Rodeo Salinas Salinas, CA
July 28, 2012 Day of the Cowboy & Cowgirl at the Autry Los Angeles, CA
August 3-5, 2012 The Great Southwestern Antique Show Albuquerque, NM
August 9-11, 2012 29th Annual Antique Ethnographic Art Show Santa Fe, NM
August 12-14, 2012 34th Annual Antique Indian Art Show Santa Fe, NM
August 16-18, 2012 15th Annual National Cowboy Poetry Rodeo Kanab, UT
September 19-22, 2012 Rendezvous Royal Cody, WY
October 6-7, 2012 Will James Society 20th Gather Elko, NV
October 19, 2012 Buckaroo Bash Indianapolis, IN
October 25-28, 2012 10th Annual Southeastern Cowboy Festival and Symposium Cartersville, GA
Send event submissions to SmokeSignals@highnoon.com
Don't Fret About the Future - Invest in the Past!
Smoke Signals blows your way from High Noon Western Americana of Los Angeles, CA, producers of
the High Noon Antique Show & Auction held each January in Mesa (Phoenix), Arizona since 1991.
Our magazine was founded in 2010 from our desire to share thoughts and facts with and from our High Noon family. We write about what we know (cowboy and Indian artifacts), highlight dealers and collectors, their thoughts and memories. We also love to feed our readers with great recipes. We offer free western music, a look at factoids intrinsic to our interests, give you insight into the newest books and tell you what is going on across the United States.
And hopefully we educate along the way.
Linda Kohn Sherwood, Editor
Send us a Smoke Signal
Smoke Signals is for and about all of the wonderful people in our High Noon family. If you have news you want to share, hot tips on what's going on in the Western Americana world or just a suggestion of something you'd like to see us cover, send us an email at email@example.com
Chief Publisher: High Noon Western Americana
Chief Editor: Linda Kohn Sherwood
Chief Art Director: Robin Ireland, Ireland Graphic Design
Chief Graphic Designer: Curtis Hill, Art Direction Services
Chief Writer: Jayne Skeff, JSLA Media Solutions