Saturday, April 27, 2013

Shake On KC

I have to admit that I have become a fan of Food Network's Pioneer Woman. I even bought the cookbook.  I can put up with Ree Drummond's constant perkiness because of her great photography and the cute cowboys, cowboy children, horses and cattle. But this blog is not about PW.

The other day I was waiting for PW to come on and had the watch the last few minutes of Paula Deen (not a fan).  She was making some kind of shake with this slightly overweight middle-aged or more guy.  Here he is.  Do you recognize him?

That my friends is the legendary Harry Wayne Casey.  Never heard of him?  How about KC and the Sunshine Band?  Yeah.  When I had a stint as a deejay at a small market radio station that played block format (country in the morning, easy listening in the afternoon, and R & B at night...bad format), KC was the only white guy cool enough to make it to the top of the R & B chart.

Remember, Shake your Booty, Get Down Tonight, Boogie Shoes?

(Photo from
Well, he and Paula made KC's Shake Shake to go along with Grilled Portobello Mushroom Burger with Dill Mustard sauce.

After seeing this episode, I checked and he is still out there.  After '70s music came back in style, he reformed The Sunshine Band and hit the road doing some 200 gigs a year.  KC even performed on American Idol in 2009.

That's all great. But don't let my music guys show up on cooking shows. The next thing you know the music icons of my fun days will be doing Polident commercials or pushing reverse mortgages.

The kicker—after Paula tasted the Shake, she shut her eyes, licked her lips, and said, "That's the way I like it, uh-huh uh- huh."


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Dust Bowl very real to Dandridge family

Last night I watched the encore showing of Ken Burns' Dust Bowl on PBS It is really hard for me to watch. In the early 1920s my grandaddy (Cathey S. Dandridge) packed his family of three boys and a scared wife into an old model T and moved them from Tate County to West Texas and finally to New Mexico.  A WWI veteran, Grandaddy had been diagnosed with tuberculosis and was sent to live in a drier climate.  Little did they know that they were entering a region of the country that would experience one of the worst man-made environmental disasters ever—The Dust Bowl.

The Dust Bowl, photo from Ken Burns' documentary

This year my Daddy has been gone for 15 years. It's hard to believe. He was a master storyteller, and many times recounted tales of their time out West. After watching this wonderful documentary, I did so want to ask him questions—about the 100-mile cattle drives, about the dreaded dust, about life in the dugout house, and so much more.

The Dandridges, L to r, Hayley, Ollie May Dupuy Dandridge,
Cathey S. Dandridge, Ed and Jim.

He spoke often about driving cattle, plowing the dry earth, living under the ground on dirt floors.  Daddy recalled that when the dust came, they shut the windows as tight as they could, but when it left, there was dust between the sheets of the bed, in the cabinets, between stacked dished, and in your hair and mouth.

It all sounded pretty dismal. But I think, to him, it was the adventure of a lifetime. When he and his family returned to Tate County after he graduated from high school in Dora, NM, be brought those Western traditions and the culture of the region back with him.

Cattle are driven to a watering tank at Singleton Ranch in Pride, Texas.

A horseman until his death in 1998, he learned from Cathey relatives out West, observing the handling of horses and cattle, making cowboy gear. I think he even brought back some of that Cowboy Independence with him.

It's a stretch of the imagination to realize that these experiences happened to someone just one generation away.  I'm thankful everyday that my children all were around to know him, to hear his stories, to learn to ride—the cowboy way. We all miss him, but what a cultural inheritance he left us!

Hayley Dandridge driving the team and plowing the dry New Mexico dirt.
He must have been about 11 years old at the time.

Much later back in Tate County on Queen.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Brock's River Witch enchants me

It's book review time!  I haven't done one in a while because I haven't been able to sit still long enough to read one.  Rarely am I captivated in the first lines of a book.  I surely was in Kimberly Brock's debut book, The River Witch.

This work has all things Southern—mystical traditions, complicated family relationships, combined with a mesmerizing story.  The natural flow of this storyline comes easy for Brock, who is a storyteller as well as a writer.

I think the thing that captured my attention most was the sound of the book. I love it when I hear a sound track running through my mind as I read a book. In this case, the main character who is searching for healing, both physical and mental, keep coming back to the music of her Granny—the music of her childhood.  That music is the beautiful Southern Sacred Harp Singing.

If you've never heard it, you should do some research on the tradition.  I can't tell you more without spoiling the story.  Take a look at this trailer for the book and then see what you think.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Cleaning Out the Closet

I think I may have written a blog before about how my children have left me with the memories of their childhoods in the form of letter jackets, horse equipment, photos, you name it.  I made one final attempt to clean out Olivia's closet before it was ransacked by the grandchildren.  I, too, had a hard time throwing out some of her things.  So, I made a quilt.

She had taken the blue ribbons from her horse show days and left me with some of the lesser places. We fought hard for some of those reds and yellows.  So, they made a block against one of her bandanas.

The same held true for the collars from her English shirts. If they look dirty, they aren't, just permanently stained. For those of you who don't show horses, just imagine putting on a prom dress and being told to go out in an arena of sand and dust and not get dirty.  Hard to do.  These collars are wearing second-hand dirt since we got them at a consignment shop in Germantown that carried English tack.  She wore them when she was about 12 or so.  Same goes for the pockets.

The quilt is not comprised of only riding apparel. You must know that this girl is a T-shirt hoarder. So I got the rejects.  They were still neat shirts—4-H Regional Show (well, that's more horse stuff), a handkerchief from her mission trip with World Changers at church, T-shirts from her senior proms, a junior high Blue Mountain basketball shirt.

She's probably not thrilled that I'm sharing all this.  MORAL OF STORY:  If you leave it here long enough, it will end up in a quilt.