Getter Done Gals


Saturday, May 29, 2010


 by Julie Carter

Haircuts don't generally make national news, but when Willie Nelson's braids hit the cutting room floor this week, newsfeeds went rampant with the report.
His fans have come to expect a touch of eccentricity from the legendary crooner, but he pulled off a shocker this time.
However, there is a generation of followers who find it somewhat humorous because we recall when Willie's hair was banker-short and shoe-black dark, and he wore a suit and tie to the stage. Tell that to a Willie fan under the age of 40 and a resounding "Nooooo, never," is their response.
Of course at the time, gas was 25-cents a gallon and America was giving birth to the decade of the "hippie."
He was only 7 when he wrote his first song, "Family Bible" and sold it for $50. Turning 77 last month, Willie can again say "Funny how time slips away," another of the many songs he wrote that someone else made famous. In that same time period, he penned Faron Young's "Hello Walls" and Patsy Cline's rendition of "Crazy."
His gritty, roadhouse sound didn't fit into the traditional Nashville music style in the 1960s and it wasn't until he ditched Tennessee for Texas in the '70s, that his unique brand of outlaw country music took off.
Wearing a little more hair, looking somewhat like the Beatles-gone-to-Austin, Willie launched album after album defining himself in both lyric and title, like "Shotgun Willie" and "The Red Headed Stranger."
In a decade when Glen Campbell and Bobby Goldsboro were crooning the softer side of life, Willie, along with the like-minded and hard-partying Waylon Jennings, made an indelible mark on the Austin music scene.
He took it by storm when he teamed up with Waylon Jennings, Jessie Colter and Tompall Glaser for the Outlaw albums, answering a call to a honky-tonk era that had crossed over the rural-urban boundaries and shouted for some boot-stompin', whiskey-drinkin' music.
In the '80s, Willie sought to recreate that success by making more albums with industry greats.
The "Honeysuckle Rose" sound track album for the movie of the same name was a rowdy rendition of Willie's life "On the Road Again."
Willie and his down-home Texas buddies, including Western-swing fiddle legend Johnny Gimble, songwriter Hank Cochran and the sultry songbird Emmy Lou Harris gave the album a good-timin' vibe that has people, still today, humming the signature song every time they pull out on the highway.
Willie cranked out al-bums with Waylon Jennings, Ray Price, Roger Miller, Faron Young, Hank Snow, Webb Pierce and Kris Kristofferson.
With Merle Haggard in the "Pancho and Lefty" album, the duo gave musical notes to their bad-boy personas with a series of boozer-loser ballads that packed a wallop right up to the "Reasons To Quit" and "No Reason To Quit" double play.
Dubbed the "supergroup" of them all was The Highwaymen, Willie's 10-year gig with Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash. These four legends of outlaw country music recorded three major label albums and a number one hit penned by Kristofferson, called, of course, "Highwayman".
Willie has written more than 2,500 songs and recorded hundreds of albums. Aside from his brilliance as a song writer and musician, he's funny and charming with a charisma that emanates from the very core of his powerful and oftentimes rebellious nature.
From the 1985 Farm Aid benefit concerts that raised money for American farmers, to the Willie-Aid album, "Who'll Buy My Memories?" made to help him pay off his IRS debts, to his confession of smoking pot before his appearance on "The Larry King Show", Willie continued to perpetuate his personification of the country rebel.
Gray, grizzled and without the signature braids, Willie's unmistakable voice, the one that Nashville turned its back on a half a century ago, is still without equal in its uni-quely "just Willie" way.
The evolution of Willie. You don't have to be a Willie Nelson fan to recognize the legend in his story.
But it seems now, that it was only yesterday
Gee, ain't it funny, how time slips away.
Julie can be reached for comment at

Friday, May 21, 2010


by Julie Carter
Long ago, the silver screen warped the image of the cowboy in the minds of the general public. Western wear catalogs and country music singers haven't helped much with the real picture of the cowboy.
No, Virginia, cowboys don't dress like Buffalo Bill.
In lives dictated by work, wind and weather, not necessarily in that order, function trumps fashion every time.
Cowboys and their female counterparts dress to get the work done and wear as many of the necessary tools of the trade as possible.
One of those necessary tools is a knife. These are used daily to cut hay strings, change the minds and attitudes of bulls, cut the rattles off a dead snake, perform tack repairs and traditionally, give the fingernails a trim.
For decades, the pocket knife, sleek in form, was transported by simply slipping it into a front jean pocket for safekeeping.
As it became more of a tool than just a blade for cutting, knives were worn in a scabbard or sheath in a surprising variety of places: attached to the belt, vertical above their back pocket, horizontally on the belt, in a cross draw position in the front or simply in the pocket of their leggings.
Scabbards can be a personal fashion statement. Often adept at leather work, rawhide stitching, knot tying and tooling, cowboys' workday knives are usually cased in sturdy proof of their skill.
Their Sunday-go-to-meeting knife scabbards may even have tooling to match their saddles and gear.
Knives come in a variety of personal choice brands. We're not talking Swiss Army here - these knives are as practical as the cowboys who wear them.
You see everything from working knives to seasonal hunting knives to the finest Damascus steel, fancy inlaid-handled knife for church.
Special folding knives made popular by the ropers come with a clip to hold them in a back pocket for quick access in the case of a tangled endangerment. Sometimes it is necessary to cut a perfectly good rope to save the life of a roper or the leg of a horse.
Panhandle punchers who receive load after load of 400-weight steers and bulls swear that in Louisiana knives are used exclusively for peeling pecans because 99 percent of the male cattle that come from that area are still bulls.
"Steer" is apparently not a Cajun word.
Ranch cowboys are forever using their knives at cattle working time and a measure of pride is taken in just how sharp their knife is, frequently drawing blood just to prove the point as they lightly graze it across their forearm shaving a few hairs as it goes.
However, clean and sanitary is optional. It's not unusual for cowboys to castrate calves all morning and use the same knife to cut their meat at the meal afterward.
Careful ranch wives make sure there is a clean knife strategically placed by the cake plate.
Not often thought of but definitely one historical use of a knife is in horse trading.
Many traders whittle during the often lengthy discussions involved in the bartering.
I'm told that if the trade is going the trader's way, his knife will pull the whittle toward him.
If the trade is going the other way, slivers are driven off the piece of wood toward the buyer.
That's a good point to know. Probably Buffalo Bill was the first to establish that principle.
Julie can be reached for comment at Visit her website at .

Sunday, May 16, 2010


by Julie Carter

The hallmark of a cowboy is long days, stupid stunts and never forgetting the story. Laughing at themselves is one of the things they do best.
The agitated cowboy was kicking up dust with his boot while he was paced a small circle, recalling the day with disgust.
His bride had promised to deliver a barn cat to a friend in need of one and his job was to catch it and put it in the pet carrier. No step for stepper, he thought.
The feline was overdue to have a new batch of kittens and the cowboy was sure her cumbersome load would slow her enough for him to get ahold of her and as he promised, carefully place her in the cage that would deliver her to the other side of the county.
As far as he was concerned, a good cat was a long-gone cat.
The noise from the barn was a mixture of snarls, screeches and cussing, all of which came from the cowboy and only some of which came from the cat.
Crashing, banging and at last, the barn door flew open and a flash of fur gave meaning to "running like a scalded cat."
Moments later the cowboy wandered into the daylight wearing a dazed look with his hat sitting slightly askew.
He examined the blood running down his arm and with a cautious hand felt of the claw marks across his face.
"I've been to a hundred county fairs and a goat roping or two," he said, "but I ain't never been as humiliated as I am right now. I've been bit, scratched, hissed at, run over and outsmarted by a cat too stupid not to get pregnant every time she passes by a tomcat."
His degradation plummeted to rock-bottom when his bride came from behind the house still in her bathrobe and slippers, carrying the cat, petting and cooing goodbyes to her as she tucked her inside the carrier.
Where's your horse
The cowboy was day working the area ranches and not one for wasting any daylight, he decided he was up for a little fun when he heard there was a team roping in town that night.
With his horse already in the trailer, he headed to the arena just as thunderheads opened up. Even after entries were taken, the downpour continued so the roping was cancelled. The cowboys got their entry fee money back for another day.
Cash in their pockets and time on their hands is always an ingredient for cowboy mischief.
The Prairie Dog, a local watering hole, filled up fast with the rejects from the rained-out roping. Some lively fun was "fixin' to commence."
Blayke walked in still wearing his chaps and spurs from the day's work. The barmaid, a new hire, was a little on the lippy side and not particularly well-versed in cowboys.
As Blayke headed to the bar, she shouted across the room, "Well cowboy, where's your horse?"
He answered, "Out in the trailer."
"Yea, right!" she said with obvious doubt based on the ignorance she had about cowboys.
"You'll believe me when I ride him around the bar," Blayke said.
"That'll be the day," she naively challenged.
That's all it took. Blayke walked out the door and directly to his trailer, unloaded his bay cowpony and headed back to the bar.
He had to tie his stirrups up so the horse could fit through the door but once inside he let them down again, and stepped up into the saddle.
He began loping slow figure eights around the pool tables while the barmaid stood dumbfounded, mouth open in shock and shaking her head.
The yee-haws from the cowboys leaning on the bar only encouraged the show.
With a glance toward the dance floor, Blayke's intentions were apparent. Some-one handed him a beer as he passed by and the barmaid grabbed a Polaroid camera.
She snapped a picture just as Blayke spun his mount around the floor with his beer held high as if to toast the crowd.
The photo was pinned to the wall for all to see, even years later.
It was documented proof that there isn't much you can challenge a cowboy with that he won't make his best, if unwise, effort to try to meet.
Julie, witness to and part of many unwise cowboy moments, can be reached for comment at


by Julie Carter

The plan all along is to get old, but it happens to some folks faster than others.
Cowboys pretty much across the board fit into that category.
The life of cowboy is hard on the physical body.
It doesn't seem to hurt their mind much, but one could argue that if they had much of a mind to begin with, they'd have another vocation.
Perhaps a career that offered better hours and monetary rewards.
A life of having horses pound you into the ground, cows run you over and assortment of other wrecks involving gates, pickups and trailers have cowboys feeling serious aches and pains at an early age.
And that's just from the work part of the job.
The horseplay that goes on endlessly is as frequently the culprit for injury and subsequent lifetime handicaps.
The body is just not made to bend the wrong way as many times as cowboying can make that happen.
Looking older than they are and feeling twice as old happens sooner than usual if the vocation involves the word cowboy.
Bowlegs are a visible symptom of a much worse problem.
Those knobby knees in the middle of that bow are a never ending source of pain, agony and frustration.
An old-in-miles but not-in-years cowboy with knees that had seen Olympic-quality abuse wrote this about the situation:
Where ever you go either you walk or ride.
You use your knees with every stride.
Your stride gets short and the trail gets long.
It sure is hell when your knees are gone.
You jump right off but when you land,
Sometimes your mouth gets full of sand.
You can't stand up and it hurts to crawl.
You ain't no good on the ground at all.
You can't run your horse with any ease,
'Cause of the real bad hurtin' in your knees.
But don't you worry about that ol' pard,
The cowboy life was always hard.
With today's technology, more and more cowboys are signing up for the "spare parts" surgery. Usually these guys need the new knees long before the doctors think it's advisable.
The new parts come with life-span that leaves the cowboy needing a second replacement even before he is eligible for social security.
In an effort to avoid that and to buy a little time, they hobble around dragging a leg, thinking everything they see looks like it needs to be set on, and giving the anti-inflammatory drug business a dramatic sales boost.
At the branding corral, they look for a place to sit and rest where they don't have to be tailed back up when it is time to go back to work.
The grunts and moans you hear is just them trying to get their foot in the stirrup and get back on their horse.
No longer is there any shame in using a log, rock or trailer fender to make that easier.
They find it acceptably easier to the let the young buttons do the work even if it takes longer than it should.
With no apology, they discover a new found fondness for shorter horses and slower women.
And those old cowboys that are recreational ropers?
The secret to their quick catch is simply because their shoulders won't hold up past a few quick swings of the loop.
It can be noted that most of the senior roping events start early in the morning. It's paramount that they get their shot at roping for the money before their pills start to wear off.
This getting' old ain't for sissies.
Julie, somewhat long in the tooth herself, can be reached for comment at Visit my website at


by Julie Carter

Dear Moms and Dads,
I want to thank you for your great kids. I am blessed to be able to share with you in their successes as their final days in high school bring the accolades they have earned.
"Our" babies are about to graduate.
I sit at each end-of-the-year ceremony and watch them with tears in my eyes and pride busting out all over, just as you do.
For eight years I've followed them around to sporting events, FFA, 4-H, county fair, rodeo, academic showcases with my camera in hand and note pad ready.
They were 10 years old and about to embark on their fifth grade adventure when I started this journey of documenting them for the "county news" section of the newspaper.
They were shorter, chubbier, tinier, ganglier with freckles and bad hair cuts or wild pony tails and braces. They giggled and snorted over nothing and traveled in pairs and trios of silliness.
The first couple of years they ducked my camera and were shy about it most of the time.
When that was over they followed me like ducklings wanting to know if I'd put them in the paper and they delighted in antics that might get them there.
Those kids in the outer county schools soon became part of my life. I watched them grow and mature.
I watched their personalities take shape and the foundations of their adulthood form one block at a time.
Teachers, coaches, family and friends all added another block, year by year ... building the child that would become the adult to be sent out the door this May.
I know great kids don't just happen. They are created, encouraged, admonished, nurtured, guided and directed.
They take a step forward and fall back two. They are caught, lifted, nudged and pushed toward a standard of excellence set before them.
Sometimes they rebel, argue, give up on themselves and think the world hates them. They are irritated by their parents who have got to be the stupidest people in the world, not to mention so archaic in all they know about anything.
They vow to never, ever be like them when they grow up.
They are sure that the system that held them captive for 13 years was pointless. They plan their escape with an attitude of "I'll show you I don't need you to tell me what to do every day."
Which is pretty much the point, but most of them haven't figured that out just yet.
I love those kids, all of them. I feel so very much part of the lives I have documented in word and picture. I've been there for their set backs and their victories. I've watched them work hard and gain great ground in so many places.
I hold such hope in the future when I see the great young men and women they have so quickly grown to be.
I am proud with and for you, the parents, who sacrificed, hoped, prayed and worked through each stage of their life to bring them to this portal of the future.
I thank you for allowing me into their lives and into yours.
Your children are a gift, not just to you, but to the world that is about to become their challenge. You've done your job and done it well.
As you take your hands off them and let them fly, together we will watch them take wing into the next phase of their lives. Summer will dry the tears that mark this traditional transition.
With great anticipation, I will turn and look behind me at those budding young adults that will follow these into next year.
Each one is stretching and striding to find their place in the mighty footsteps left behind by this class of 2010.
Julie can be reached for comment at


by Julie Carter
For once, it is good I'm as old as I am, or my parents would have criminal records.
Last week I heard a word of caution about possible legal ramifications of paddling your child. What I need warned about is my frequent temptation to paddle other people's children, oh say, while standing in line at the grocery store.
Don't call or write me about child abuse statistics. That's not what I'm talking about here.
I grew up in the periphery of the pioneer years when most families still believed that to spare the rod was to spoil the child. With that as a measure, I assure you I wasn't spoiled nor were my siblings.
That wasn't the only thing about life that current regulatory agencies, planning commissions and zoning laws would never have allowed.
We had an outhouse! Yes, the hole-in-the-ground, wood shed-over-the-top, splinters-in-your-hiney outhouse. And furthermore, you had to walk across a little plank bridge over an irrigation ditch with rushing ice-cold water to get to it. It was truly down the garden path.
There were no EPA and Hazmat permits posted at the outhouse and there was no code enforcement or engineering on the bridge.
We ate hunks of smoked ham that came directly from hanging in the rafters of the smokehouse and washed it down with cold, raw milk. We ate eggs fresh from the chicken's effort and processed our own meats that included pork, beef, assorted fowl, trout and venison of various kinds.
We had open-air fires and slept in flood plains as we camped along the creek, again without permit and worse yet, without adult supervision. (Mother's x-ray, telephoto vision not withstanding as she kept an eye on us from the ranch house on the hill.)
We rode horses with reckless abandon. We shoveled out barns and weeded gardens fertilized with the byproduct. We assisted dad with veterinarian jobs that involved blood, bodily fluids and sharp objects.
Child labor laws were just that. If you were a child and big enough, you labored.
We climbed hills, rocks, trees, haystacks and barns. We used ropes, boards, canvas, blankets and anything we could find to create forts and cabins for our imaginary games.
Since the beginning of time, children had been made to work along side their parents. The government would eventfully regulate that and more, but in our neck of the woods, child protective services existed only in the form of my grandmother.
She established her credentials as such on many occasions. For example, my brother who was maybe 3, and I, the older, wiser sister at 5, decided to leave home and walk to grandma's house a couple miles away.
My parents watched us amble up the road and out of sight. My dad, before following discreetly behind, phoned my grandmother and told her we were on the way and to watch for us. He instructed that when we arrived, she was to "paddle our butts and send us back home."
Of course, that didn't happen. She gave us milk and homemade cookies and then drove us back home.
My parents' have a perfect criminal record. We four siblings survived childhood under those deplorable, dangerous conditions. I recall only the occasional need for stitches and no broken bones.
We were all reasonably civilized when integrated into polite society. My brother Lon even learned to keep his shoes on and not leave them lying in the field. Bruce and I finally gave up running off and trying to lose him in the hills. Like a pound puppy, he always found his way home.
I may have breached the mental cruelty laws when at the age of 8, I dressed my baby brother Jim like a girl to soothe my disappointment that he was not born a sister. Instead of seeking therapy for him, my parents sent him to Army boot camp when he was old enough, which to him was preferable to working for my Dad. So it turned out fine.
I'm thankful for a childhood without many rules except those enforced by my dad's leather strap.
The freedom of living with nature's laws next to those of God and my parents, created a generation of self-sufficient, dependable, hard-working adults who don't expect life to be delivered to them.
I'm thinking that is the process that should have been written into law.
Julie can be reached for comment at See her two books on her website at