December 2012 - Vol 4, Issue 12
Six Gun Myths and Bowlegged Reality
By Don Hedgpeth
This is part of a chapter from the book
Traildust, which featured exceptional art of Jim Reynolds. The book was published by Greenwich Workshop Press in 1997
The story of the West is a tale of triumph and tragedy with a full cast of characters, both heroes and villains, in the best tradition of classical drama. One figure stands out more starkly than all the others, idealized and immortal in our collective consciousness: the cowboy. He is a symbol; of the idea of the West, both real and imagined, forever riding wild and free across a prairie dreamscape.
Romantic fascination swirls around the cowboy and makes it difficult for us to see him clearly. Cowboy reality, both historical and contemporary, has been overwhelmed by a mythological haze of gunsmoke and traildust. The truth is hard to get at and is not what it once had been - when, in fact, it never really was.
The genesis of the America cowboy traces back through time and across a broad ocean to Spain. Conquistadors, haughty and brave, introduced cattle and horses to the New World when they landed on the shores of Mexico early in the sixteenth century. The Indians of Mexico became the first American cowboys. They adapted Spanish techniques of livestock management to new and diverse environments. Open-range cattle raising became an economic cornerstone of the Spanish colonial empire, spreading throughout Mexico and into American Southwest, particularly California and Texas.
The flavor and style of Spain were retained in the horse-back heritage of California. But in Texas, Hispanic vaqueros and Anglo cowboys developed their own way of doing things in response to the hard charter of the country. Texas cowboys, Texas horses and Texas cattle set the style for the Western livestock industry on the Great Plains east of the Rocky Mountains, from the Rio Grande north to the Canadian border.
The cowboy's golden age began in the dark days following the Civil War. As railroads built westward, shipping points were established in rough and rowdy Kansas cowtowns like Dodge City and Abilene. Millons of Texas cattle followed the old trader's track called Chisholm Trail northward across the Red River and on through the Indian Territory to the Kansas railheads...food for war-weary, beef-hungry nation.
|Featured Photography by Myron Beck|
The photo this month is by Myron Beck
Through his photos, award winning photographer Myron Beck (Los Angeles, CA) inspires us to dream and embrace the beauty that surrounds us in the people we see, the environments in which we thrive and the diverse cultures that enrich our lives. www.myronbeck.com
|Did You Know?|
|1. Keep your powder dry
, the frontiersman's equivalent of "Be prepared," "Stay on your toes," or "Expect the unexpected," this saying has its origin in the days of muzzleloading firearms. Having your supply of gunpowder get wet was one of the worst things that could befall you. It meant that you no longer had a means of defending yourself, putting meat on the table, or earning your livelihood.
A circular, usually dome-shaped dwelling of certain North American Indians, the earth lodge
was made of posts and beams covered variously with branches, grass, sod, or earth and having a central opening in the roof, a tamped earth floor, and frequently a vestibule.
3. Wyatt Earp once operated saloon in Nome, Alaska. In the late 1890s U.S. Marshal Albert Lowe slapped an intoxicated Earp and took his gun away after Wyatt threatened to demonstrate how guns were handled "down Arizona way."
| Empty Saddle |
All is well this month.
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|Linda's Feed Bag|
Cajun Chocolate Bread Pudding
Lisa Seidel of Cody, Wyoming, mother of Kelly and Bridget (Miss Cody Stampede 2012), wife of artisan Keith Seidel, and all-around sweetheart of High Noon brings us a special recipe this month. It initially came from her neighbor Dawn, who passed it to Bill at the Mayor's Inn, then to Lisa (Lisa promises it's the best fall and winter dessert recipe. It freezes well so she makes 2 in case of a Dessert Emergency). And now it is being passed on to you, our High Noon/Smoke Signals readers. Enjoy!
Makes 9 to 12 Servings
For the Pudding:
1 qt half and half
3/4 cups sugar
5 large eggs
3-1/2 tsp vanilla
1-1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp nutmeg
9 cups fresh french bread cut into 1 inch cubes (1 lb loaf)
1 cup milk chocolate chips
For the Topping:
4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) lightly salted butter, at room temp
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp brandy
For the whiskey sauce:
2 Tbsp Jack Black Whiskey
4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) lightly salted butter
1-1/2 cups whipping cream
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp cayenne pepper
For the Pudding: Pre-heat oven to 325°. Combine half and half, sugar, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl. Beat by hand for 3 minutes.
Add bread cubes to half and half mixture. Let soak for 30 minutes, tossing occasionally. Mix in the chocolate chips. Spoon the bread mixture into a greased 10 inch cake pan, preferably a spring form pan. If using a spring form pan, set it on a pizza pan or cookie sheet as it will leak some of the liquid.
For the Topping: Beat butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add sugar, brandy and egg. Beat at medium speed for 1 minute. Scrape down the bowl and beat at high speed for 1 minute. Pour topping over bread. Bake in preheated oven for 1-1/2 hours. Let cool about 15 minutes.
For Whiskey sauce: Combine sauce ingredients in a saucepan. Simmer for 4 minutes, whisking occasionally.
To Serve: Cut into serving size pieces. Top with whiskey sauce. Serve warm. Enjoy! Think of Lisa!
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.
|High Noon Western Americana Collectors Weekend|
|A Message from Paul Thompson|
By Paul Thompson
Thought that I'd stop by and see the old cowboy - see how he was doin', if he needed anything, and wish him a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I'll never forget what I saw in his living room....
He's alone at the ranch this Christmas; no friends, no family - seems everyone has passed on or moved on. He thought: "why bother" - no tree, no lights, no decorations, no cards, no presents - "not what Christmas is about anyway"....
He was headed to town when he stopped to watch a huge tumbleweed blowing across the pasture. He heard through the blowing wind, he saw clearly, he then knew just what he should do. He waded through the snow to the tumbleweed, gathered it, and as gentle as his big, scarred hands could manage he placed it in the back of the old truck. Why not take it to the house, set it up, put lights on it....
He thought that he might hang a pair of thigh-highs on the branches and wish for Santa to "fill his stockings" - it gets powerful lonesome at the ranch. Again he heard, he saw, he knew - instead, he wrote a few prayers, a line or two of verse - tied them to the branches with red and green ribbons, each with hopes, wishes, and dreams for all of you to be gifted with God's greatest blessings...
Thought I'd share Cowboy's Christmas with you - Feliz Navidad - Bless you and all those whom you love.
|Who's Who at High Noon|
the Techno-Cowboy behind High Noon
You likely never wonder what really goes on behind the scenes throughout the year at the office of High Noon but there's a whole team of folks that keep this operation running, twelve months a year 'cause that's what it takes to create the High Noon Show and Auction each January.
Not surprising, at the core of High Noon is a network of computers that just has to keep running or disaster will strike. Yes, even Danny Verrier is allowed to commandeer one, so having the top techno dude at our beck and call is really important.
High Noon's Doc Holiday is cowboy hat, buckle, and boot wearing computer maestro Louis Katz, owner and founder of Technolene. Born and raised in LA, Louis comments with a laugh, "I love the whole Western thing but I'm a poser for sure."
Louis started out as a graphic designer but after one too many prima donna art directors telling him things like, "I don't like purple," he was done and decided he would parlay his knowledge to the other side of the computer. Not the screen side, but the backside and the inside are where he has made his mark for the past ten years. "Having been on the other side of the computer as a user for many years, I'm much more sympathetic and understanding of the problems that companies and individuals face with their systems." He, like the rest of us, have had to endure the condescending remarks and attitudes of computer techs who make you want to throw your laptop at their head. Louis has great bedside manner which, coupled with his exceptional technical know-how, is the key to his endearing and successful relationships with all of his clients, including High Noon.
He started out working exclusively with MACs but, as his clients grew and asked him for help with their PCs, he just couldn't say "no." So now he's an expert on both sides of the spectrum and finds PCs to have a whole lot more problems - which is good for his business, he says with a laugh.
Louis has been High Noon's consultant going on about eight years now and has seen some rather interesting situations in the office. "I recall several years ago, one of the High Noon computers actually had a ghost in it, I'm sure of it. Maybe an old cowboy was just messing with us but we rebuilt from scratch, an entire G5 because that ghost was still in there doing some really weird things. High Noon sold the thing and he's not been back..."
Louis really enjoys working with his clients on a close basis and takes great pride in being there for you, keeping you current on ideas for new systems, software, always with an eye for enhancing your business. His clients range from small to large, including LA's largest Ducati dealership where there is a combination of Apples and PCs. But, at the root, he really enjoys working with small businesses and taking ownership in their success.
He handles everything from new system installations of all sizes, networking and back-up systems. You name it, he can do. And he's totally cool and fun, too!
So, when he's not being a cowboy-techno-doctor, who is Louis Katz? Well, he is the official photographer for his 11 year old son's Cub Scout troop and parent group at his school. He, along with his beautiful wife, love to take weird little desert exploration trips to funky old towns and ghost towns, and they've found some real gems.
So, if you're in need of a top-notch computer guy, we can honestly say, Louis is your man. Few of us can know what he knows or do what he does. We're spending our time buying, selling and trading the Western stuff so we'll leave the techno side to Louis and know he'll take good care of us!
Technolene - Computers. Simplified.
|In the News|
|Roaming Range Reporter|
of Kettle Falls, Washington
has been selected for
Horsehair Hitcher of the Year
by the Academy of Western Artists.
The awards ceremony will be held in
Fort Worth on February 2, 2013. High Noon congratulates Shoni on this wonderful award!!!!
Photo: Shoni and Ron Maulding
Reel Cowboys of Western Cinema
A Century of Silver Screen Heroes on Horseback
No. 9 in the series
By Gary Eugene Brown
When the theater lights dimmed and the picture show began, the boys and girls were thrilled when he came riding across the screen, hell bent for leather, on his famous steed. According to the late, western film historian Buck Rainey, he "was one of the greatest movie cowboys to ever set a saddle." The featured star was an All American hero, easy going, "aw shucks" bashful type around women, was most respectful of the opposite sex, always willing to risk his life to help those in need, avoided anything stronger than sarsaparilla, never uttered a swear word and was a most agreeable sort of guy. However, that was his on screen persona. Sadly, in the opinion of those who worked with him on location, when the director yelled "cut", he was just the opposite....a one eyed Jack. He was the one and only
Vevey, Indiana was the birthplace of Kenneth Olin Maynard, not Mission Texas, as studio publicists claimed. Born on July 21, 1895, he had three younger sisters and a kid brother Kermit. Ken's father owned a small construction company. Not a lot of information is known about his youth, however it is reported Ken was somewhat incorrigible, demonstrated by his running off at age 12 to join the circus. His father caught up with him and brought him back in tow with a firm grip on his ear. The wanderlust however was not dampened, so at age 16, Ken, this time with his parents' permission, joined a traveling carnival. Early studio publicity releases noted that he joined the Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show
in 1911, which is highly suspect as the great showman's farewell tour began in 1910. Supposedly, Ken also was with the Ringling Brothers Circus
for a season. Also, he was reported to have won the title of World's All Around Cowboy at the Pendleton Round Up in 1920. However, according to Boyd Magers of Western Clippings
, there are no records of him having done so; evidently another publicist's pipe dream or something perhaps that Ken perpetuated on his own. However, one thing for sure, Ken was a great trick rider who learned his craft well in one of the smaller Wild West shows of the day (1913 - 1922).
|Send us your stories...|
NOW Thru February 17, 2013 Family Traditions: The Art of John, Terri Kelly & Bill Moyers
NOW Thru February 17, 2013 Through Navajo Eyes Prescott, AZ
December 6-15, 2012 National Rodeo Finals Las Vegas, NV
December 6-16, 2012 Country Christmas Las Vegas, NV
December 7-9, 2012 24th Annual Cowboy Christmas Poetry Gathering Wickenburg, AZ
January 23, 2013 7th Annual Cowboy Collectors Gathering Prescott, AZ
January 26-27, 2013 High Noon Western Americana Antique Show & Auction Mesa, AZ
Feburary 2013 Buffalo Bill's Birthday Celebration Cody, WY
February 2, 2013 The Story of Joe De Yong - Presentation by Bill Reynolds Santa Barbara, CA
February 7-14, 2013 San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo San Antonio, TX
February 8-10, 2013 21st Annual Cochise Cowboy Poetry and Music Gathering Sierra Vista, AZ
February 14-17, 2013 Spirit of the West Cowboy Gathering Ellensburg, WA
February 21-24, 2013 13th Annual Saddle Up Pigeon Forge, TN
February 25 - March 17, 2013 Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo Houston, AZ
February 25 - August 25, 2013 Dreams & Visions: The American West and the Legacy of Imagination Tulsa OK
March 9-10, 2013 Antiques, Objects & Art L.A. Glendale, CA
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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