Have you ever had a young dream settle behind you like dust on a country road? Often the dream never surfaces as reality takes precedence over making a living and paying the bills. For one Texan a job transfer stirred up a dusty dream.
1934 – 2006
Don Walser was born in Brownfield, Texas and grew up playing country western music and formed his own small band at age sixteen. He even opened for Buddy Holly later. While rock and roll was taking off, he choose to stay in the Texas Panhandle to raise a family instead of going to Nashville to pursue a career in music. He worked as a mechanic and then as an auditor for the National Guard while he continued to play his music locally with a band he had formed. A job transfer by the National Guard to Austin, Texas in 1984 brought his dreams closer
With Austin as a substitute for Nashville, Walser continued with his music in a city known for its progressive country style of music and for showcasing new talent. Ten years later at the age of sixty he retired from the National Guard and devoted his time to his real passion.
A recording contract soon came his way and he gained a wider audience. Walser played and sang mainly the old country and western songs and could yodel like the best of the old-timers. Surprisingly, he recorded with the Kronos Quartet; his rendition of “Rose Marie” with them is incredible. A reviewer in Playboy dubbed him “the Pavarotti of the Plains.” Many awards came to him and his Pure Texas Band; his music was featured in several movies. He played at the Grand Ole Opry and the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts. His last video was “Hot Rod Mercury.”
In 2003 he retired from performing due to health issues. He died in 2006 of complications from diabetes.
Check out his magnificent version of “Danny Boy.” Is your dream dusty?
Point Cabrillo Light Station
Perhaps because I live on the coast I enjoy visiting lighthouses. On a trip to northern California last fall we visited Point Cabrillo Light Station near Fort Bragg. Today it is a state park. The grounds contain a restored lighthouse keeper’s home and several guest houses set back a bit from the lighthouse itself. Nature trails allow visitors to experience the natural beauty of the rugged Pacific coastline in safety.
The website describes its history this way:
“Although Point Cabrillo was surveyed by the U. S. Lighthouse Service in 1873, construction of the Light Station didn’t begin until after the 1906 earthquake. The demand for lumber to rebuild San Francisco meant that maritime commerce on the north coast was at an all time high and a Lighthouse was critical to the safety of the ships and their valuable cargo. Construction of the Light Station began in 1908, and the lens was illuminated for the first time on June 10,1909, under head keeper Wilhelm Baumgartner.”
Our visit was at late afternoon. Near the lighthouse keeper’s home a large white tent was set up in preparation for a wedding. The tent had a wooden floor and tables laden with white flowers. In front a bar had been set up so that guests could take a drink with them as they strolled down to where the ceremony was to be held near the edge of the bluff . White chairs were lined up for the guests. A cello and violin duo would provide the music. The setting sun would make a dramatic background for the nuptials. This was a wedding California-style.
As we were walking away from our tour of the lighthouse, a couple from the wedding party approached us. The man asked Husband if he would take a photo of them. As Husband took the camera the couple moved closer together and tilted their wine glasses in classic style. The late sun and old lighthouse made a unique backdrop for this striking couple. He was tall, trim and dark in his black pin-striped double-vested suit and cowboy boots. Her long blonde hair fell just right as did her short draped skirt that was accented casually with a wide silver belt; cowboy boots completed the polished western look. Think J. R. and Sue Ellen Ewing. They might be from Texas, I thought.
Husband returned the camera and the man expressed his thanks. In my best Texas tourist accent I said, “Where are you all from?”
“New York,” he replied with a smile as they walked away with the California sun highlighting their wine.
Coastline behind the Point Cabrillo Light Station
D. H. Lawrence (from Wikipedia)
“I got the blues thinking of the future, so I left off and made some marmalade.
It’s amazing how it cheers one up to shred oranges and scrub the floor.”
It is hard to imagine the author of “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” cutting up oranges or scrubbing a floor, but I do agree that getting busy at something – any mindless task – gets the mind off of one’s troubles.
What do you do when you get the blues?
Photo by Husband
I enjoy posts that feature recipes and provide step by step photos of the process. I never thought I would include a recipe in one of my posts, but just for fun I decided to share this one to celebrate Independence Day. Last July 4 one of my neighbors brought a sample over in a lovely bag decorated in red, white and blue. They are great by themselves or with a little cheese. Warning! They are addictive if you like it hot!
TEXAS FIRE CRACKERS
3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 (1 oz.) envelope ranch dressing mix
1 1/2 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes (more or less to taste)
1/2 (16.5 oz.) package multigrain saltine crackers
Put the olive oil, garlic powder, black pepper, ranch dressing mix and crushed red pepper in a 1-gallon plastic zip lock bag. Seal and shake and smooth to mix olive oil and dry ingredients. Place crackers in bag and seal. Gently turn the bag over to cover the crackers with mix and let sit for about an hour. Repeat several times until crackers are well-coated. Allow to sit overnight. Remove crackers and enjoy.
Have a safe 4th of July celebration!