Getter Done Gals


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Cowboy loving ways

Cowboy loving ways
Cowgirl Sass & Savvy by Julie Carter

They weren't newlyweds by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, just days after this birthday event I'm going to tell you about, they celebrated their 35th anniversary. 

Keeping that in mind, this tale will give a glimpse of the depth of love and tolerance honed over that period of longevity.

It was his bride's birthday and since her favorite thing was to go somewhere and see something notable, preferably historical, he offered a blank check in the "travel" department. 

"Where would you like to go?" he asked, knowing she understood that didn't include destinations that required travel agents or airports.

She wasn't caught off guard with the request but truly didn't have a burning desire to visit anywhere in particular. So he decided for her. Also not a surprise.

"We'll go to East Texas," he announced helpfully. "Pick a town in East Texas."

The only town she could think of was Jefferson, selected because it had a rich history and would not require six months of travel time.

They loaded up and headed east, getting as far as Fort Worth. It was lunch time and since Joe T. Garcia's is, according to her, the best place in the world to eat, they stopped and did just that. 

A $7 margarita for the birthday girl, reportedly with plenty of kick to it, sufficed as dessert and they soon were back on the road.

"Any place in Fort Worth you'd like to see?" he asked her. 

She remembered the Fort Worth Water Gardens downtown and suggested that she would like to see that again.

"It is truly beautiful," she recalled. "A waterfall, a river, a stream, a pond, a cascade and anything else you can imagine doing with water.

It takes up an entire city block and you walk around in it and look at all the ways that water is distributed. It is fascinating."

Aiming to please, the cowboy headed the pickup that way. 

He drove around the block a half dozen times looking for a place to park and finding none, he quickly lost interest in this particular destination.

His bride heard it coming as much as saw it. Knowing that when he's about to turn to a "silver-tongued devil," the timbre of his voice changes. So she takes a deep seat because what is next is always a "suggestion."

"You know baby, you have this wonderful memory, actually an amazing memory," he said with a glib smoothness to his words. "Since you have already seen this water display once before, how about you just remember it."

Parking problem solved, the loving couple is once again headed east.

"The east side of Fort Worth does not need seeing," she recalls. "The good news is that it was still daylight and we were relatively safe as long as we kept moving."

The redeeming factor for the trip through the seedier side of Fort Worth was summed up by the birthday girl.

Always looking for the positive aspect of things she said, "If we hadn't gone that way, I would never have known where the Bloody Knuckles Bar was."

Realizing that by now they were way in the hell on the other side of Fort Worth, they finally located the freeway. At first opportunity, they got back on it and began driving at freeway speeds to escape the adventure of the Bloody Knuckles neighborhood.

True to country-folk navigation, they ended up on the west side of Fort Worth again, at about the same point of arrival earlier in the day.

Taking matters into his own hands, the cowboy decided they'd just go on home. If he didn't tarry too long, he could still rope that evening.

Being married to a cowboy for 35 years will teach a gal how to say with a straight face, "It was a wonderful birthday."

Julie can be reached for comment at Visit her website at

Sunday, September 12, 2010


By Julie Carter

In my book, fall is about as perfect a season of the year as any of the four.

It is the time when all things that make cowboys, rednecks and assorted combinations thereof the very happiest.
At the ranch, it's payday time. Cattle buyers resurrect from out of nowhere and all eyes, ears and cell phones are on the markets.
Whether the crop is yearlings or fresh-weaned calves, every year is a new episode of "let's make a deal."
The blooms on everything green, nurtured by summer rains and sunshine, are at their peak of beauty.
Flowers abound both in the yards and thanks to the rains this year, also in the fields and on the hillsides.
While your cowboy might not be big on posies, I guarantee you he's happy with the tall grass and practically gleeful over the fat cattle lying in that grass, bellies full and hides licked slick.
The camouflage corps have their binoculars focused and their weapons of choice tuned while they dream dreams of the perfect hunting season(s).
Let a hint of crisp slip into the morning air and hunters everywhere trade in their hammocks and barbeque tools for game calls and camping gear.
Cattle trucks start rolling down the highways between the ranches and the wheat fields or feedlots.
Every small-town café has a parking lot periodically filled with flatbed pickups pulling stock trailers along with other pickups loaded with 4-wheelers, coolers and all the trappings of a Cabela's made-to-order hunting camp.
Here in the Southwest, throw in the smell of roasting green chiles to complete the fall ambiance and life is just about as perfect as you can get it.
If that isn't enough to paint a picture of the best of the year, add to the mix some pre-season football that seamlessly morphs into a regular season of high school, college and professional games.
Whether football is your "thing" or not, the onslaught of sports-mania permeates the air, unsurpassed by anything including politics.
Neighbors helping neighbors to get all the fall cattle work done is a jewel in the crown of ranching.
Calendars are full of marks on dates for the ranch up the road, the ranch down the road and another one an hour or so away.
Those days will be dedicated to the time-honored custom of "neighboring" -- where the work and the fun, and there is always some of that, is shared with folks that know you'll be there when they need an extra man, horse and help.
Now is the time for all good men ... and horses, dogs, kids and ranch wives ... to rise to the call of long hours, dusty corrals, sunrises that bless the "waiting on daylight" mornings, rattling trailers, ready ropes, the smell of sage and cedar, hot coffee poured from a campfire pot and the camaraderie of cowboys working a vocation they wouldn't trade for anything.
The life is not all that glamorous or romantic, but it does have an intangible something that anchors men's souls to the land.
Whether they own it or hire on to be part of it, it transforms an occupation into a belonging and an existence into a passion for living.
Julie, steeped in fall nostalgia, can be reached for comment at


by Julie Carter

Back in 1975, a man named Tim Leatherman was traveling through Europe on a shoestring budget in a cranky car with leaky pipes.
It was during this trying time he birthed the idea of pocket survival tool. That tool today is known simply as a "Leatherman."
By 1977 the tool had taken on a rough form and in 1980 "Mr. Crunch" was patented.
Through the '90s and with more than 200 employees, new and better designs were released setting the standard in the all-purpose pocket tool industry.
For those of you that are still in the dark ages, the Leatherman tool is a fold up tool that incorporates all the following tools in one handy frame: Needle-nose pliers, regular pliers, wire cutters, hard-wire cutters, clip-point knife, serrated knife, diamond-coated file, wood saw, scissors, extra small screwdriver, small screwdriver, medium screwdriver, large screwdriver, Phillips screwdriver, can / bottle opener, wire stripper and lanyard attachment.
In the West, the land of "real men carry pocket knives", the Leatherman phenomenon was at first slow to catch on. A Leatherman was deemed pretty pricey for a pair of pliers, and "I already have a good knife" made it easy to blow off the multipurpose handy for anything tool.
The tool would sometimes show up under the tree for a Christmas gift and promptly end up in the drawer next to the initial embroidered hankies and ugly boxers.
In the meantime, the world knew something we didn't. Other tool companies began manufacturing acceptable, affordable imitations of the revered original. Gerber, Seber, Sears and an assortment of companies not proud enough to even put their name on the tool, flooded the market in every shape size and color.
Someone even put a teensy version on a key chain, handy for nose picking and nail cleaning.
Then it happened. Some "real" man dared to show up in the branding corral with one of the versions of that "fad" on his belt, neatly snapped in a little case.
He used it to pull cactus out of a horse's leg and change the needles on a vaccine gun. He loaned it to a kid to use for a cooking utensil while they cooked calf fries on the branding iron burner. He twisted and tightened the wire on a gate that was doubling as a hinge. He tightened a screw in the emasculators and popped open the lids on an assortment of things.
That amazing day of demonstration opened the eyes and the dresser drawers of those "real men with pocket knives." No longer did they break the good blades on their high dollar pocket knives prying and digging with them.
No longer did they have to stick their heads under the seat of the pickup breathing unmentionable kinds of dust to find that pair of pliers or a wrench they knew was there somewhere.
Today it's standard equipment on more belts than not. The women wear them or carry them in their purse. You will see the daintiest and most delicate of well-coiffed, finely garbed ladies slip a Leatherman from their fine leather purse and go to work with the tool like she'd been doing it forever.
The list of uses is as varied as the number of tools all hooked up into that one handy dandy tool.
There are stories of lives being saved, babies being birthed and legendary feats all because of a Leatherman.
Tomorrow when you strap yours on your hip, know it just might go down in history next to Smith and Wesson.
Julie can be reached from comment at


By: Julie Carter

Name your event - football, basketball, baseball, track, rodeo, livestock shows and the occasional beauty pageant or bake-off - and if it involves kids, you will find their parents embarrassing them.
I'm not talking without knowledge. I am a parent and I had parents. We have all been embarrassed about or by each other at one time or another.
Fortunately, it wasn't ever because of our behavior at a competition event.
My folks were not shouters, screamers or blame assigners. To this day, I'm grateful for their dignified rooting for the home team at ball games and other public possibilities for a display parental pride.
There were then, and still are now, plenty of others willing to take up the slack in the "make a fool of yourself" department.
As school administrations buckle down for another year of pushing academic excellence along with their individual attempts at molding our children into productive citizens, I fortify myself for the "bleacher coaches" that haunt every sporting event.
Even from the sidelines, where I move up and down the periphery of the event to photograph it, I cringe at the level of crude audacity some parents find necessary to use to promote a team.
There doesn't seem to be a magic formula to make adults act like adults, let alone expect them to rein themselves in enough to not mortify their child while he or she is competing. You know who you are.
Call me an advocate for your children because they are stuck with you, I am not. For those that insist on assigning themselves the task of re-educating coaches and referees, I will suggest that a healthy dose of chill pills be your prescription of choice along with frequent deep breaths of restraint.
The sigh of relief you hear will be from your child (and the guy sitting next to you).
The sparkling smile you are flashed from the floor or field will be signatory of the gratitude from a very relieved child.
As a side note, if the guy next to you smiles like that, he probably hopes you aren't going to eat that hot dog you set down so you could jump and holler. He'd actually, really like to eat it.
We are the examples for tomorrow's leaders. Think about that when you shuffle to the top of the bleachers this weekend to take in some sun, canned nachos and a hometown, home team ball game, high school rodeo or volley ball game.
It matters not if your athlete wears a cowboy hat and swings a rope, or is suited up in layers of red, blue, black or orange synthetics snugged over plastic armor with a football under his arm; they will do the best that they can possibly do at any given moment.
Ask no more of them, because your incessant rants at the referees, judges, and coaches etc., will not make the difference.
No one will be harder on your athlete than they will be on themselves, so please, don't pour your toxic terseness on the scene and expect it to manifest victory just because you called it so.
Your relationship with your child is a team sport. Save yourself from yourself and let your teenager find the joy of the competition without fear eating out the pit of his stomach knowing he may have to watch his parent be escorted from the game by security personnel.
If this admonition made you angry, then it was for you.
Julie can be reached for comment at, or at the next high school football game.


Cowgirl Sass & Savvy by Julie Carter
I let my cowpony pick his own path through the deadfall as we worked our way down a steep slope toward the cattle at the bottom of the canyon.
It was late summer at the ranch, but in this high mountain pasture signs of fall were already creeping through the aspens. Their heart-shaped leaves were wearing tones of gold as they shimmered and fluttered in the afternoon breeze, true to their "quaking" name.
The incline became arduous, and if I'd been older or wiser, I might have thought I should be fearful. The loose leaves that had fallen on the ground and the slick black soil still wet from a rain the night before complicated the already precarious descent.
The downed timber lay every which way like a game of Pick-up Sticks gone bad. In my youthful oblivion, I whistled a tune while the big bay methodically navigated his way through the quakies.
When the angle of the terrain forced him to slide, he worked athletically to keep his butt up under him in an equine sort of squat. He never wavered in his determination to get where we needed to go.
He knew there were cattle at the bottom, the same as I did. Sometimes the "cow" in cowhorse is an instinct more powerful than self-preservation.
Gathering yearlings for fall shipping was an adventure with my Dad. Especially so in this pasture, as it involved some overnight camping in an old log cabin complete with lanterns, wood-stove cooking and fresh trout from the creek.
Waking early to saddle when the dew was still heavy and the sun was just making it's first shadows in the long canyon was the stuff of Zane Grey and old Western movies.
On this day, I was to learn a lesson that would serve me all my life. Before I realized what had happened, Bay and I were at the bottom of small crater-like hole near the base of the ridge.
We had literally traversed our way right into a trap. The sharply inclined sides of the crater were littered with fallen trees, an undergrowth of shrubbery and turf that was slick and nothing short of treacherous. Coming down that maze of obstacles was one thing, going back up looked impossible.
Immediately, I realized two things. No one knew exactly where I was, so help may not come anytime soon. And, I could walk out of there, but that meant leaving my horse, an option I wasn't ready to consider.
For a while, I hollered for help, feeling more than just a little foolish. I sat quietly for another long while, hoping to hear any noise that would indicate that maybe Dad had found me, if he was looking. I wasn't even sure about that.
It was several hours later before my horse's head snapped to attention, his ears forward and he rumbled out a low nicker of a greeting.
I could hear timber cracking and brush popping as someone hollered at the cattle I could hear running through the trees. So I hollered a little myself, and in response, my brother and my dad were soon peering at me over the edge of the hole.
My Dad quickly assessed my dilemma while my brother started to offer some smart-alecky comment before my Dad could send him on after the cattle. It was obvious my Dad was trying not to laugh at me and obviously refraining, perhaps knowing I was already feeling pretty stupid.
Looking back, I know there were days we were more trouble to him than we were help, and this was quite possibly one of them.
Not one for explaining much, he told me to get off my horse and tie his reins around his neck. I did, and then he told me to climb on out of the hole. I didn't want to, but obeyed, thinking I was leaving Bay there to die and it was my fault.
When I got to the top, my dad turned his horse and began to ride away. He told me to follow him afoot. I was mortified that he'd just ride off like that, but knew better than to argue.
My bay gelding decided there was no way he was going to get left behind. He began an Olympian effort to pull himself up the slope, over the logs, and in spite of the mud. There were dreadful noises of grunts, groans and crashes. I turned to see what was happening just as he appeared at the rim of the hole. Apparently, just like my Dad knew he would.
The lesson? What seems hopeless isn't remedied by trying to holler up a solution. Some well-placed wisdom flavored with a touch of obedience could possibly offer a successful resolution.
Dad's are pretty smart that way.