Thursday, November 29, 2007

Yummy, Yummy, Yummy...

Later this morning, Ben Welch drove down from Austin to work at the rescue ranch, with Tony and John, but before going to work—he came to the trailer and surprised me!

He came inside the trailer—toting his old duffle bag?

“Hi, Ben,” I said. “What’s in the duffle bag?”

“Hi, Nance,” Ben said. “I brought you and Tony some early Christmas presents. Check it out.”

I unzipped Ben’s duffle bag and nearly fell over at what I saw! Ben’s bag was full of Pear Bread loaves, that he and his partner, Miles, had baked at Miles And Miles of Chocolate! “Oh my gosh, is all of this for me?” I asked.

“I brought them for you and Tony, and Kinky. Take as many as you like, and feel free to give them away to your friends.”

I thought I had died and gone to heaven, because their Pear Bread with crystalized Ginger, is the best Pear Bread in the whole wide world,—and I love it—just ask Tony! I pulled out seven loaves, and put one loaf in the refrigerator, and then put the other six into the freezer. “Oh, Ben, thank you and Miles so much!”

Ben smiled. “You’re welcome, Nance. If you need anymore just let me know. I’ll bring y’all some blocks of chocolate, the next time I come down to work. I need to get outside. See you at lunch.” Then Ben grabbed his half-full duffle bag, zipped it up, and left the trailer.

For lunch, we ate John’s and my secret recipe, “Surf and Turf,” and then we ate Pear Bread for dessert, with Blue Bell Vanilla ice cream! And, I am finishing off the loaf as I type!

If you want to try their chocolate or Pear Bread, please check out:
I promise you will love it!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Trailer Trash

Yesterday, after blogging, Tony and I went outside to load up “The Magnificent Seven.” We loaded up Rufus first, then Ginger Rogers, Pepperoni, Dobie Gillis, Greta Garbo, and Luke and Owen Wilson—in less than twenty minutes, and then we took off for Kerrville, to hook up with Kinky, and our good friends, Catherine and David Berry of Happy Dog Adoptions.

The twenty-two mile drive was peaceful and uneventful, because Pepperoni serenaded us the entire trip. When we arrived at The Acapulco Restaurant, we found Kinky, Catherine and David inside, waiting for us. After a round of hugs and handshakes, we went outside to introduce the dogs to the Berrys, and to transfer them from our van to their gigantic blue bus.

The hand over was easy and fun, but the goodbyes to those beautiful dogs was a little hard on me, but that’s usual—just ask Tony and Kinky. Before David and Catherine left, she told us that on their drive down to Kerrville, their bus’s power steering had gone out, and from Fredericksburg on, David had to help her turn the steeringwheel—fortunately, after making the turn in Fredericksburg—there was only one more to make and it was into The Acapulco Restaurant’s parking lot!

After hearing the bad news about their big, blue bus, we wished them a safe trip home and then on the count of three—we all drove away in different directions. Catherine and David with “The Magnificent” headed north, Kinky headed south and we headed to HEB—to get gas for the van, and to pick up a few groceries.

While Tony fueled our white van, I shopped in the grocery store for a few essentials. On my way out of the store, I ran into my dear friend, Sandy Wolfmueller! Unfortunately, Sandy had some bad news. Her father was in the Sid Peterson Hospital, and he had been in there for three days. Sandy told me that she and Jon were exhausted, and the doctors were very concerned about her father. Bless her heart, Sandy had just buried her mother back in August, and I knew what she was going through, so I said a few words to her, and then gave her a big hug in the parking lot.

When Tony and I arrived back at the rescue ranch—Kinky had called, and left a message for me to please call him as soon as possible—so, I did.

“Hi, Kinky,” I said. “We just got home.”

“Hi, Nance,” he said, “can you please come over here? I need to talk to you.”

“I’m on my way,” I said. “I’ll be over there in five minutes.” Kinky had me worried.

When I arrived at Kinky’s, all he wanted was for me to play a game of pool with him. He told me that I had really improved my pool skills earlier, and he wanted to give me a few more tips—and he did.
I played the game much better, but “The Hummingbird Man”—won again!

As soon as I was back at the trailer, the phone rang, and it was Catherine. She told me that on their way back to Buchanan Dam, the brakes locked up on the bus, and when they got home—the brakes were literally smoking! She told me that they had gotten home on a wing and a prayer. She then had some great news—Rufus and Ginger Rogers had already been adopted! And, the rest of the dogs were all doing great!

I knew that Rufus had a home already waiting for him up there, but Ginger Rogers, too?

“Nancy,” Catherine said. “We hadn’t even been home twenty minutes, when Audra arrived to adopt Rufus, but when she saw David playing with Ginger, she asked me if she could adopt her, too! She told me that she had always loved Chows, even though, Ginger was a mix, and I told her yes!”

“Catherine, that is fantastic news!” I said. “You have just made me so happy!”

“I know,” Catherine said. “Me, too. Will you call Kinky and tell him the good news?”

“No,” I replied. “I think you should. I want him to hear the good news from you, first. He’ll love hearing it!”

“Okay, I’ll call him right now. Bye”


Ten minutes later, I phoned Kinky. And, he was estatic with Catherine’s great news, too!

This morning, “the secret deal” went down at 8:00 sharp, in Medina! All I can say right now is: It took us four hours to accomplish our mission, everyone at the rescue ranch is very happy, and Tony’s and my backs are killing us, right now. And, I really want to thank Charlie and Ellen Cooper, John Kemmerly, Aaron, and Blake Kesterson! We couldn’t have done it without y’all!

Now, I must go, to put a sack of frozen peas on Tony’s and my backs. And, the Cardinal, the wannabe woodpecker—is still pecking! Tomorrow, after we rest, Tony is going to cover up the bedroom window. Trailer Trash—Here We Come!

P.S. Last night, KSAT played the interview with Kinky and about our rescue ranch. They edited out the part where I said, "Euthanize the boyfriend."

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

We Did It!

Blowin' In The Wind!

First off, my excuse for not writing in the past few days is: Tony and I spent our free hours—putting stamps on 3,500 envelopes, in preparation for the Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch holiday card. And, as soon as Herring Printing calls to let us know it’s ready, then we’ll be spending the rest of our free time—stuffing, sealing and sending them out to our friends and supporters!

I also want to give a Cardinal update! Yes, that beautiful, male Cardinal, is still outside our bedroom window, sitting on the windowsill—pecking nonstop! I think Cindy Ruffino’s comment is right about it seeing it’s reflection, and trying to protect his territory. I guess, we will have to hang a blanket or something outside to cover the window for a while. I really don’t want to do that, because our twenty-four year old trailer is ugly enough on the outside, and knowing that a blanket or sheet will be outside flapping in the wind, brings to mind that common, old expression—trailer trash. But, thankfully, it will be blowing in the wind—in our backyard, which is basically—out of sight!

Yesterday, our ranch had several visitors, and Kinky, Tony and I spent most of the day, outside with them. It didn’t bother me at all, because it was a beautiful, warm, sunshiny day and the company was great.

This morning, I spent the morning preparing the adoption forms for seven of our Super Dogs, that are being adopted at 4:00 today! Our good friends, Catherine and David, up near Buchanan Dam, are meeting Kinky, Tony and me at the Acapulco Restaurant—to pick up the seven lucky dogs! They will then take “The Magnificent Seven” to their “Happy Dog Adoptions” center to be adopted out to super homes! And, we love it! And, “The Magnificent Seven” are Owen and Luke Wilson, Greta Garbo, Pepperoni, Dobie Gillis, Rufus and Ginger Rogers!

This morning after doing their paperwork, Kinky called and invited me over for a cup of coffee. We discussed the four upcoming bonefits planned for January—“The Legends and Strays Tour” staring Steve Fromholz, Kinky and Little Jewford, the soon to be announced raffle, and the ‘secret deal’ happening tomorrow morning at eight o’clock sharp—in Medina! (I can’t tell anyone until January—sorry.)

While shooting a game of pool with Kinky, I was losing like I always do, until ‘The Hummingbird Man’—gave me a few tips to improve my game. At that point, I had sunk one stripe, and he only had two solids to go. I heeded his advice, and sunk three balls in a row! I was on a roll—until he sunk the eight ball and won!

Pretty soon, Tony and I have to load ‘The Magnificent Seven” and head for Kerrville, so I had better sign off.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Glass Is Always Greener!

This morning my older, twin brother, Ronnie, called me—we’re fifteen months apart, and I love him so much!

“Good morning, Nance,” Ron said. “I was just calling to say hi. What’s been going on down there?”

“Hi Ron,” I said. “A lot has been going on this morning! At 4:30, this morning, Tony had just gotten out of bed to let Mama and Abbie go out to the backyard. And, as soon as Tony, opened the backdoor—lightning hit so close to the trailer—that Tony said he could feel the percussions from it, and there was a momentary white-out, too!”

“You’re kidding me!” Ronnie said.

“When that bolt of lightning hit, I literally sat straight up in bed! It was really scary.”

“I’ll bet it was!” Ronnie said. “Hold on Nance, let me tell Nita. Nita, Nancy’s and Tony’s trailer almost got hit by lightning this morning! Yes, really! I’m back, Nance.”

“Tell, Nita,” I said. “That the only thing I hate about living in my trailer—is lightning storms, because trailers are like giant, ugly, lightning rods—just begging to be hit. And we’re sitting up here on this hill!”

Ron repeated it back to my sister-in-law. “What else is going on?” Ron asked.

“After the thunderstorm passed,” I said. “Tony went to Medina to drink some coffee with his friends, and I took care of some paperwork, when out of nowhere, the dogs and I hear this tapping sound coming from our bedroom. So, I went back to the bedroom with the dogs to see what it was.”

“What was it?” Ronnie asked. “A raccoon?”

“Nope,” I answered. “A beautiful male, Cardinal was sitting outside on the windowsill—pecking on the glass! And, I have no idea why.”

“That’s weird,” Ronnie commented.

“Kinky told me that it was probably pecking at some bugs,” I said. “It’s been out there for over five hours, and Tony took a picture of it. What’s going on with y’all?”

Ron laughs. “Well, last night, I was on the 10:00 o’clock news.”


“Nita’s brother Jeff, and his son, Jeff, were in Austin yesterday, and we decided to meet them at a bar and drink a beer with them.”

“Did you have a wreck?” I asked.

“No, No, No, Nance, nothing like that, ”Ron said. “Nita, Katelyn, Callie and I all went to the bar to see them. While we were there, a camera crew, KXAN, showed up to do a story about the cost of hops going up, and the owner of the bar, asked me if the camera crew could interview me, to ask me how I felt about the rising cost of beer. I didn’t really want to do it, but having drank a beer, I told them okay. It was pretty funny.”

“Did you tell them that you brew beer, too? ”

“No, Nance.”

“Oh, I wish I could’ve seen it,” I said.

“You can,” Ronnie said. “Get on the internet and go to: then click on the button that reads: ‘Cost of Beer Production on the Rise.’ I’m there. It says, Ron Culbertson, beer drinker.”

Ronnie and I talked a little while longer, and then we said our goodbyes. I immediately got on the computer and watched the news report. I loved it! Then I went over to Kinky’s and showed it to him before he left to do a book signing, in Marble Falls. Kinky loved it, too! Then I came back home and showed it to Tony—same reaction! Check it out!

By the way, it is now 2:40 and the Cardinal is still pecking on the window. Please note the window is not dirty, the window is just steamed up!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Last night, I received a phone call from a dear friend of ours, Brian, because I had sent him an e, earlier in the day—wishing him a happy birthday and a happy turkey day. When Brian got my e, he phoned me on his new iPhone, from a remote location in Oregon, where he was attending a private bonfire with his sister, Marleen, and their nephew! He told me that the sun was setting, it was starting to snow, and watching the bonfire with the beautiful, majestic mountains surrounding them—was totally awesome! I had a nice visit with him and Marleen, and invited them to come down to see Kinky, Tony and me—as soon as possible! FYI: Brian is now 52 years old!

This morning was enjoyable, because we had several friends and neighbors come out to visit us, and it was a lot of fun visiting with them, and catching up with their latest news. To me, that’s what makes the holidays so special!

Around, 4:00 this afternoon, Tony and I went to Wolfmueller’s Books, so I could purchase a few more of my books, but more importantly, we went because we wanted to laugh, and we knew that Sandy, Jon and Mary Jo—could make that happen! And, they did!

When we entered their store, crowded with customers, I saw John standing on a tall ladder, in the middle of the store—trying to hang himself from the ceiling—in broad daylight!

“Hi, Cousin Nancy and Tony. How are y’all?” Jon said, calmly, from up above.

“Jon, what are you doing up there?” I asked. “Are you trying to hang yourself?”

“No,” Jon answered. “I’m just hanging up our Christmas decorations.”

“It’s his job,” Mary Jo said, from behind the counter. “Sandy and I won’t get on ladders.”

Sandy then came out of their office, waved at us, and then helped a customer find a book, before joining us.

The five of us had a fairly short visit, but as always—it was fun and filled with laughter. Hating to leave great company, but knowing that we needed to get back to the rescue ranch—we said our goodbyes and drove back to the ranch.

After checking the answering machine for new messages, I sat down at the kitchen table, and checked my e-mail. I had one new message, and it was from our dear and multi-talented friend—Taffi Rosen, who Kinky had introduced us to—years ago!

Besides being a great friend to all of us, Taffi Rosen is an award winning photographer, Television Producer, and Director. Her photography and video work has taken her around the world to capture the arts for “Bravo” and “Biography Canada”! Her work is flawless!

After her last visit to the ranch, she sent Tony and me, a collection of some of the finest photography that we have ever seen of—chickens! And, they are so beautiful, Tony and I have them safely locked up, in our safety deposit box at our bank!

Taffi had written to let us know that she has and is still working on a series for “Bravo! Canada” and “Biography” called, “In The Mind Of” about people, who are outstanding in their various careers, such as actors, politicians, spiritual leaders, TV personalities, musicians, and (this one is my favorite) authors, etc.!

So, I went to her: and started watching with amazement! The videos are about fantastic people, that I have never heard of (but, that doesn’t mean a whole lot) that are famous and doing incredibly great work!

Now, I must confess that I do know one of the people in Taffi’s video, “Corky Laing, Bla, Bla, Bla.” Corky is a dear, famous friend of Kinky’s and mine, and I would bet, that you have heard of him! He’s the incredible drummer for “Mountain,” and if that doesn’t ring a bell, how about—he wrote and plays in the song, “Mississippi Queen!”

Taffi’s videos that I watched, were on Gordie Brown, Evan Levy, and Corky’s. I loved them all, and learned a lot, and I hope all of y’all will check them out.

I’ll be giving a test tomorrow.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

There's A Full Moon Rising!

Happy Thanksgiving Day to everyone! This Thanksgiving Day was so great! In fact, it has become my favorite Thanksgiving Day of all— and we’re counting fifty-six of them!

This morning, at 6:00, the lights came on inside our trailer and Tony and I knew exactly what we had to do. First off, Tony fed our personal dogs, while I cooked us breakfast. Following breakfast, Tony went outside to the barn, and then a few minutes later, he returned with sacks, full of people food—that we were going to cook for our rescued dogs today!

We soon had every pot that I own, on the stovetop cooking up the mixed vegetables: corn, peas, green beans, carrots and lima beans! While the veggies cooked, Tony went back to the barn and returned with four giant feed buckets, a high-powered electric drill, and a heavy duty orange extension cord. We were now ready for Carol and John to arrive, so they could help us prepare and serve our Utopian dogs annual Thanksgiving Dinner!

Carol showed up first, and within a minute, of her arrival—she had all of us laughing about her latest antics! While I was making coffee, a fan of Kinky’s from Dallas, that we know, started calling about every five minutes or so, and hanging up everytime the answering machine went into action. Carol was in disbelief!

Tony and I explained to Carol, that the young woman has a really bad crush on Kinky, and she calls us four or five times everyday—she always leaves a short message on the first call of the day, but after that she just calls and hangs up, and she does the same thing to Kinky, too. Carol was shocked, even though we explained that we were all used to it, and it didn’t bother us at all.

“She usually starts calling us,” I said, as the phone rang, “around five-thirty or six in the morning. She started at 6:30 this morning.”

“It’s her, again” Tony said, as he glanced at our caller I.D.

“She gets a little more active during full moons,” I explained. “And, we’re under one right now.”

“Carol,” I said. “She is a very nice young woman, and every other year, she takes a bus from Dallas, we pick her up at the Kerrville bus station, and bring her to the rescue ranch for a few days, and then we put her back on the bus—to Big ‘D’.”

“How long have you known her?” Carol asked.

“How long, Tony?” I asked.

“At least seven or eight years,” Tony said, as the phone rang, again.

“Is it her?” Carol asked.

“Nope,” Tony said, “It’s Kinky. Do you want to talk to him?”

“Yes,” I said, as I picked up the phone. “Hi, Kinky!”

“Good morning, Nance,” Kinky said. “How are you this morning?”

“I’m fine,” I answered. “Has Angie been calling you this morning?”

“Yes,” Kinky said. “She woke me up this morning, and has probably called and hung up at least eight or nine times. She’s on a roll.”

“We’re up to seven, so far,” I said. “It’s because of the full moon.”

“When are we feeding the dogs?” Kinky asked.

“Nine-thirty,” I said. “If everything goes right.”

“Okay, I’ll be there,” Kinky said. “See you in a little while.”

“John’s here,” Tony said, as he looked out the front door. “Morning, John—come on in.”

“Morning everyone,” John said, as he took his jacket off.

We all said our hellos to John.

“Let’s fix the dinner!” I said. “John and Carol, will y’all first divide those five dozen eggs into the three buckets, while I start draining the vegetables.”

John and Carol began cracking the eggs and Tony helped by bringing them full cartons and removing the empty ones.

“The eggs are cracked,” John stated. “Now what?”

“Please, divide that jar of crushed garlic into the three buckets,” I said.

“All of it?” Carol asked.

“Yes,” I said. “The dogs love it!”

“Okay,” Carol said. “Garlic's done. What’s next?”

“Let me add some dry dog food,” Tony said. “Then y’all divide the three bags of cheese”

Tony then grabbed the giant, electric hand drill, and inserted the long paddle mixer. “Stand back,” he said, as he turned on the drill.

Carol and John’s jaw dropped, as they stood, and watched the powerful paddles mix the dinner ingredients. After Tony had mixed all three of the buckets, they added more dry dog food, twelve packages of ground turkey, four large sacks of dry turkey stuffing and then hot water. Then Tony let Carol and John take turns mixing the half-full buckets.

When they had every bucket mixed, we added the steaming hot vegetables—making the buckets nearly full. After they mixed in the vegetables—we were ready to go outside to serve the dogs their warm, tasty meal. When we walked out the front door, it was nine-thirty, and Kinky had just pulled up in his car—to help us!

I self-appointed myself—the official photographer, and followed the gang as they served up the delicious turkey dinners to fifty-seven grateful dogs!

It was a blast watching the dogs wolf-down their dinners as fast as they could. It was as if they had never eaten food before! And yes, they all got second servings, ate all of their vegetables, and licked their pans clean! Kinky loved feeding them, as did Carol, John and Tony! And, I loved seeing all of those happy dogs with tails wagging!

Yes, this was, by far, my best Thanksgiving Day. Thank you Tony, Carol, John and Kinky.

To view all 12 pictures, please click older posts at the bottom of this page.....

Monday, November 19, 2007

Rollin', Rollin', Rollin'...

Late in the morning, Tony left for Medina to mail some letters for me, John and Carol were taking dogs for walks, and I was inside the trailer doing some paperwork, when the dogs cranked up outside. I figured the dogs were barking, because Carol and John were either coming in or going out with dogs. I figured wrong.

A little while later, John and Carol came up to the trailer to tell me that Randy Travis had gotten out and had killed a chicken and possibly some chicks! They told me that they were down at the creek with Chase and Sheba when they heard the dogs howling, so they hurried back, but it was too late. Feathers were everywhere!

“I put Randy up,” John said. “In less than a minute, after walking away—he jumped out again! I don’t understand it.”

“I’ll bet Randy jumped out, when Tony left for Medina,” I said. “I don’t know what we are going to do about Randy?”

“I have a great chicken coop,” Carol said. “Why don’t we try to catch the chicks, and I’ll take them to my ranch?”

That sounded good to John and me, so the three of us took off to find the chicks. I suggested that we use our gigantic elephant net to catch them, but that wasn’t such a good idea—because the chicks could walk through the net.

Carol suggested that she go behind the barn and try to move them in our direction and she took off. Then the dogs started barking, because Randy had jumped out again. John went to put Randy back into his pen, and as soon as that task was completed, Moe Bandy, Randy’s brother, jumped out.

“They’re starting to move in your direction,” Carol said. “Is John heading back, yet?”

“Nope,” I answered. “He’s gone to put Bandy up.”

The ‘chick roundup’ was then put on temporary ‘standby.’

When John returned, I went around to the back of the barn to help Carol drive the chicks. Well, instead of helping—I started a fowl stampede! Tiny baby chicks were running as fast as their little chicken feet could run—towards John! “Look out, John!” I hollered. “They’re headed your way!”

And, as soon as those words had flown out of my mouth—and before John could say, “I’m ready! Bring ‘em on!” The chicks changed their little minds, and made an abrupt left turn, and headed off into the woods—to hide.

“I think they are too frightened for now,” Carol said. “Poor babies. I think we should let them rest and calm down.”

The three of us agreed to call off the chick roundup, for another day. Then the three of us discussed ideas on how to keep Randy in his pen.

Before Carol left to go home, I invited her to join Tony, John, Kinky and me, on Thanksgiving morning to help cook and serve the dog’s—annual Thanksgiving Dinner. She was delighted to be asked, and told us that she wouldn’t miss it for the world!

After Carol drove away, John and Tony went to work on Randy’s pen. A few hours later, after completion—John went home, and Tony and I went to Kerrville to buy the dog’s Thursday’s trailer-cooked dinner.

It took two grocery carts to get everything that we needed for our dog’s dinner. We bought five dozen eggs, two giant quarts of olive oil, three bags of shredded cheddar cheese, four giant sacks of turkey stuffing, fifteen pounds of ground turkey, five— four pound sacks of mixed vegetables made up of: corn, peas, green beans, lima beans and carrots! And, three cases of canned dog food. And the only thing that I didn’t have to buy for the dinner, was crushed garlic, because we still have plenty left over from last year.

While Tony wrote the check, he told the cashier, “All of this is for our dog’s annual Thanksgiving Dinner.”

The older woman’s eyes got big, and she asked, “Can I come live at the rescue ranch?”

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Happy 61st Birthday, Cindy!

Today, November 18th is my sister, Cindy’s 61st Birthday! I can not believe that she is now sixty-one-years old, and I just turned fifty-six! In honor of her birthday, I’ve got a story to tell about us—when we were kids.

When I was about eight years old, Cindy made me mad about something, and I demanded that we divide our bedroom in half—and she let me!

I remember getting my Dad’s black electrical tape, and running tape across the double bed we shared and then onto the floor—all of the way to our closet! I was real proud of my handiwork, and Cindy even let me pick which side of the room I wanted.

I picked the side farthest from the doorway, because it was the side, which I also slept on the bed. When Cindy and I went into the hallway, that’s when I realized —I had made a bad choice.

My side of the bedroom was at least five feet away, and there was no way, that I could jump over Cindy’s side, because I was too short, I mean—height-challenged!

(I was so short at that time, my mom told me years later, after I had peaked at five-foot-two, that one of my aunt’s had once expressed concerns to my mom—‘that I might be a dwarf.’

I proved that aunt stupid—when they had the tryouts to be a munchkin in the ‘Wizard of Oz’ at Fort Worth’s theatre in-the-round—‘Casa Manana!’ I tried out for it, but didn’t get the part, because I was too tall!)

Cindy watched me try over and over again, to leap over her side of the room, to mine, but I failed miserably. When I finally realized that I couldn’t make the jump to my side of the room, and knowing that I would have to depend on my older brother, Ronnie, to carry me in or out of the bedroom— worried me. And, because of my bad choice—I would also never be able to get to my clothes in the drawers, because our dresser was on Cindy’s side, too. So, I cried.

Cindy felt sorry for me, so she offered a compromise—that I couldn’t refuse! She suggested that we only divide the bed, and let the floor be a free zone.

I accepted her offer, and quickly removed all of the tape from the carpet and the bedspread.

That night when we went to bed, my tall sister teased me, by sliding her foot over onto my side of the bed, and then announce it. I would scoot down to the foot of the bed, and kick her in the legs—until she was off of my property! I fought for my rights several times that night, before we finally fell to sleep—from exhaustion. The following day—we agreed to end our feud!

Looking back, Cindy and I have shared some of the best times, and the worse. And, I just want to say, thank you, Cindy, for being the greatest sister anyone could ask for! Happy 61st Birthday!

Love Always,
Sister Nancy

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Super Dogs!

Last Tuesday, June, one of our great volunteers, called me to tell me some news that she had heard about one of our adopted dogs, and it was all good. Then she told me that she had found and rescued two, young dogs, playing in a field—that had been dumped! She told me that they were extremely skinny—but as sweet as they could be, and she wanted to know if we could help her out with them. My answer was yes—even though, we are full!

It was decided, that she would take them over to Hoegemeyer’s, and drop them off for us, so they could be given medical exams, which includes: heart worm testing, spaying and neutering, and receiving all shots, etc.

Thursday afternoon, Susan, at the clinic, called to tell me that the two were ready to come to the rescue ranch! So, yesterday, following the Tree Top event, Ben, John and Tony moved dogs around, so there would be a pen—for the incoming.

At 9:30 this morning, John arrived with our two newly rescued dogs, and I couldn’t wait to meet them. I met John at the van and told him that I had already named them—W. C. Fields and Mae West, even though, I hadn’t seen them yet—so Susan and I could keep our records straight.

“Are they good dogs?” I asked.

“No,” John said, shaking his head. “They’re great dogs! You’re going to love them!”

When John opened the van’s door—I fell in love with them instantly! We quickly unloaded the happy dogs from their crate, and took them to the front yard of my writing cabin. As soon as we unleashed them—they ran, jumped and played like they were kids in Disneyland.! I couldn’t help but laugh, as I watched them joyfully, playing with each other.

Even though, the two are different colors and marked differently, we’re convinced that they are litter mates and are about five to six months old.

I am certain that they will be adopted out quickly, because they are so sweet, fun to be with, and just plain—Super Dogs!

Welcome, W.C. Fields and Mae West!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Tree Top Flyers!

Today has been great! First, John showed up and told us that he was fixing lunch for all of us! Then after Ben, John and Tony had fed the dogs and cleaned the pens—June Hartley, one of our great volunteers, came out to visit our dogs, and give out dog treats—and our dogs loved it!

At noon, the guys came to the trailer for lunch. John announced that he was fixing us his famous “Surf and Turf,” meal, and then he went to work in the kitchen. Twenty minutes later, he served us his delicious meal! I begged him for the recipe, and finally he gave it to me, as long as I would promise not to ever give it out. I promised him that I would never give it out to anyone—it was our secret!

Here is John Kemmerly’s and my secret recipe:

1 pound of Boar’s Head roastbeef—thinly sliced
1 large tub of gourmet Seafood Salad
1 bag of fresh whole wheat pita pocket bread
1 small onion—thinly sliced
1 tomato—diced

Directions: Heat pita-pocket bread at 350 degrees for about ten minutes. While that is happening, mix the onion and tomato into the salad. When the pita is perfectly warmed, remove from oven.
Fill the pocket with the salad mixture first and then top it off with the roast beef! And serve with a side order of Terra Exotic Vegetable Chips! I promise you’ll love it, but please don’t give out our recipe—it’s our little secret! And, don’t forget to turn off the oven!

During our lunch, we were trading funny stories and I said, “Ben, do you remember two years ago, right before Christmas, when your dad, (Rob Welch) came out and surprised us with a visit and gave us those toy helicopters?”

“What?” John asked.

“Yeah,” Ben said. “My dad was helping their church, and they had been given a huge box of about—two hundred of these plastic pull-string helicopters, and he was going to drop them off at the Medina Childrens Home—for stocking stuffers.”

“John,” I said. “Rob gave us about ten of those helicopters, too. And, we all went outside to try them out. Tony showed me how to use it, but I couldn’t keep mine from crashing—everytime that I launched it—but Tony, Ben and Daniel were good at it! In less than two minutes, the guys were launching them at each other, and one of them crashed into the back of my head, but it didn’t hurt me, because it was winding down, and coming in for a landing.”

“I think I still have mine,” Tony said. “I’ll be right back.”

“John,” Ben said. “They were really pretty cool.”

“Yeah, until Daniel shot one into my back at close range,” Tony said. “Here’s mine. I found it in the closet. Let’s go outside and launch it.”

“I think, I’m going to write a blog about this,” I said.

“I thought you were going to write about that mountain lion, Tony saw the other night, going up the mountain—behind the trailer?” John said. “Ben and I climbed all of the way up there yesterday—to check for tracks or signs—and we found some!”

“I can’t,” I said. “If my good friend, that’s coming down in January to celebrate his birthday, with his wife Karen, reads it—he might chicken out. And, I don’t want that to happen.”

“Wait,” John said. “You know how those big, black helicopters are always flying low over the ranch—why don’t we launch it and you take a picture of it, and then you tell everyone that today a low flying helicopter did a fly by?”

We went outside on the porch. “I wish I had some fishing line,” Ben said. “So I can hang it from the roof—to make it look like it’s flying.”

I went inside, grabbed a roll of Tony’s fishing line, and my sewing scissors, and then went outside and made Ben’s wish come true!

Ben pulled the line out and then cut it. Next, he tied it to Tony’s little helicopter, and then stood on the porch rail and carefully hung it from the roof. Then I proceeded to shoot at the toy from different angles.

After the shooting was over, the guys took down the helicopter, and launched it in the front yard for a few minutes, and I came inside to download the pictures, and use Photoshop to erase the fishing line from the pictures.

Around three o’clock, just before John was fixin’ to leave, he reassured me, that it was no trouble for him to pick up, and bring the two newly rescued dogs—with him in the morning.

Around five, Ben headed back to Austin with his two great dogs, Valerie and Penny, which he adopted from us—years ago. And, “T” and I came back to our—still clean trailer to rest.

Lunch Plate & Fly By!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


I wasn’t able to post a blog on Tuesday, because I had to spend my time yesterday more wisely—like cleaning the trailer, because this morning ABC’s affiliate, KSAT, out of San Antonio, came out to do a story about Kinky, Kinky Cigars, and to also see the rescue ranch. So, once again, I had to clean, until the trailer, which by the way is named “The Nellybelle,”—looked like Tony and I didn’t live here. Mission was accomplished early this morning—except for the flour—still stuck on the kitchen floor!

The crew interviewed Kinky for about an hour, over at the Lodge, and then Kinky and their cameraman arrived over here about 11:30 a.m. Tony, John and I were in the kitchen trading funny stories when the two arrived, and Tony went outside to see if all was okay.

A few minutes later, Tony returned to the trailer and announced, “Kinky just told me that the cameraman is going to shoot him and the dogs first, and then he wants you to come outside to be interviewed and shot.”

I was saddened by Tony’s news. The Nellybelle had been cleaned up—for nothing. And knowing full well, that by tomorrow morning—it would be obvious that we did live here—mildly depressed me.

Twenty minutes later, we were outside with Kinky introducing John,Tony, and me, to Robert Panlagua, KSAT’s friendly cameraman. After shaking hands, Robert put a wire and microphone on me, and then Kinky and I strolled past the dogs, in their pens, as the cameraman shot us.

When we reached Jedi’s pen with her two, yellow Lab mixes—we went inside to visit the dogs and to be interviewed. Kinky is fantastic in front of a camera, and to say the least—I’m not.

As Kinky played with the dogs—I was interviewed. The cameraman asked me many questions and I did pretty good until I was asked, “Do you get many calls from people wanting to bring you their dogs?”

“Yes, I do,” I said, as Kinky and John stood behind him, watching me with smiling faces. “I get about twenty calls a day from all over the country with people begging or trying to bribe me—to take their dogs or cats. Unfortunately, pets have become disposable items to many people. And, they all have excuses why they want to dump their pets.”

“Tell me,” Robert asked. “Which excuse is the most common?”

“The number one, most common excuse, I hear, is from a young woman who is crying, and begging me to take her dog, because her new boyfriend doesn’t like her dog, even though she loves her dog, and has had it for over eight years—is making her get rid of it!”

“What do you tell them?” Robert asked.

Looking straight into the camera lens, I said, “Euthanize the boyfriend.”

Kinky, John and the cameraman all started to laugh! “That’s a good one, Nance,” Kinky said, with John nodding in the background.

Feeling like I needed to explain myself, I continued, “I ask the young woman, where are you going to be two years from now—with a control freak like that? In two years, will he be giving you permission to go outside or telling you when you can talk on the phone? If he truly loves you, he would never ask you to do something like that. Please, take my advice and keep your dog—because your dog loves you, and knows what love is—and your boyfriend doesn’t have a clue.”

With that said, the interview lasted a few more minutes, and then I removed the wire and microphone, and handed it back to Robert, and then returned to The Nellybelle.

More of Antonio's Photos!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Adios—Huevos Rancheros!

Early this morning, I had to drive to Kerrville, to pick up Kinky, because he needed some repairs done to his car, which is known as ‘The Navigator.’ After picking him up from Mosty’s Auto Shop, he wanted to take me to breakfast. I wanted to go to The Save Inn, so he could try their delicious Sinker Omelet, but he wanted to go to his favorite breakfast place so he could eat Huevos Rancheros. We flipped a coin and he won the toss. That was a breakfast I will never eat there again.

Unlike The Save Inn, whose parking lot is always full—there was only one car parked outside the restaurant, when we pulled into the parking lot.

“Where should I park?” I teased. When we walked inside, there was a man sitting at a table for six—reading the Kerrville Daily Times.

When it was time to order, the lovely waitress, spoke broken english and had a hard time understanding our order. “We’ll have dos Huevos Rancheros—and uno to go for Antonio,” Kinky said, speaking softly and slowly. I didn’t dare add to the conversation because no one ever understands me—not even Tony.

Breakfast is served! When the young woman set our plates down, my eyes got big! You’ve got to be kidding me, I thought to myself. My two over medium eggs weren’t cooked at all, and were literally sloshing from one side of the plate to the other—covering the one strip of burnt bacon and watering down the refried beans.

With every fork that we lifted, raw egg dripped off our forks. I gave up, and wound up eating the tortilla chips, while Kinky used one of the three complimentary, flour tortillas to soak up the huevos.

When we had finished our gourmet breakfast, the waitress handed me Antonio’s styrofoam box and Kinky paid the tab. And, I had a real hard time thanking him for the meal. “Mucho Gracias, for breakfast, Kinky," I teased. "Next time we’re going to my place—The Save Inn—they know how to cook better Huevos Rancheros. Okay?”

“Let’s go to Wolfmuellers, and see Jon and Sandy,” Kinky said.

When we arrived at Sandy and Jon’s bookstore, a lively conversation commenced—with all of us taking turns making each other laugh. Then Grace Atwell, a friend to all of us, strolled into the store and the level of laughter was upped a notch!

Before Grace left the store, she purchased Kinky’s book, “The Christmas Pig,” and had him autograph it for her friend, Jennifer. After Kinky had signed away, he suggested that we all go back to Sandy and Jon’s office, and get on the internet, to watch one of the funniest youtube videos that I had shown him the day before. So, we all marched to the back of the store.

“Okay,” Sandy said. “What do I do?”

“Go to youtube. com,” I said.

“Okay, I’m there,” Sandy said. “Now what?”

“Type in Funny Anchorman,” I said.

We all huddled near the computer screen and watched this ex- anchorman explain why he got fired. The video is in a foreign language, which doesn’t matter, because what happens on his show cracks you up with laughter.

Sandy hit the start button and the five of us roared with laughter!

Following that, amazing Grace left, and then Kinky and I signed five copies of my book, bought two more of Spike Gillespie’s, “Naked Calendars” (Kinky’s picture is on the month of July, and is the funniest of all the other months.) Then we said our good byes to each other and headed over to Compton’s Air Conditioning, so Kinky could pay a bill.

When we found Compton’s, I stayed in the car, while Kinky went inside to pay his bill. A few minutes later, Kinky came to the car and asked me to come inside, so I could show them the Funny Anchorman. I went inside and within minutes everyone in the room was laughing their heads off!

When we left Compton’s parking lot, Kinky said, “Let’s go see Scott and Julia and show them the video!”

Scott and Julia Stehling are great friends of ours, and if you ever need a lawyer in Kerrville—he’s the Best! When we arrived, Kinky and I showed them the video and with the same results—we roared with laughter, and Scott told us he was going to add it to his favorites list.

Kinky got a phone call and went outside on the porch, so I visited with Julia and Scott, and then Scott gave me a grand tour of their office and his nearly completed hideaway! It was awesome! I turned a lighter shade of green, when I was out on his deck, because of envy, and because of the breakfast that I was trying to keep down, but he didn’t mention it—instead he gave me a book about one of his most famous trials called, “Gun Crazy” written by Hamilton Booker and Ann Gadds! And, Richard “Racehorse” Haynes even wrote a blurb on the back cover!

After Kinky’s ear began aching from talking so long, he ended the conversation and we headed back to the ranch. Along our journey, Kinky said, “You know Nance, I’ll bet that Sage and Dylan, Copper and Max would enjoy that video. I’m going to call them as soon as we get back.”

I hope all of you will check out that video. I am now making a point to watch it, when I first get up in the morning—because I think laughter is the best way to start my days—and we all need to laugh more!

After we had returned to the ranch, I dropped Kinky off at the Lodge, and then came home to check my e-mails. This one made me laugh and I want to share a part of it with you. Enjoy!

My good friend wrote:
Hi Nancy---

I've been on this weekend, but the natives have not been restless, and I've been able to catch up. You can actually see wood on my desk! Between your e-mails and your blog, I've got 3---count 'em---3 items to share.

1) Fear Factor (uncomfortably well-named). Thanks for the "reassurance" about the fire ants, scorpions, and wasps. Especially since I didn't even know about them. Weren't there 10 plagues in Exodus? Something like frogs, flies, and hail? CHILD'S PLAY compared to rattlesnakes, rabid porcupines, and wild hogs! But I have taken your advice to heart. I will face my fears, and I will "start packin' "---as soon as I can find that Orvis catalogue with the thigh-high boots!

My reply:
You are a great writer and very funny, in fact, I am sitting here laughing as I type. I am glad to know that you have a wooden desk and you can now see it—congrats! I am also pleased that you enjoyed reading my blog— 'Fear Factor,' and that you have decided to start packin'. I’m proud of you! And by the way, thigh high boots are really popular out here! Tony has some, and he is real proud of them. He got his on sale at Wal-Mart, and they haven't fallen apart yet! Keep your fingers crossed!

P.S. I tried to buy some of those boots for myself, but I couldn’t get them up past my knees—because I am weight-loss challenged! If you find any pink ones, that are expandable with elastic in them, please let me know!

My good friend wrote:
2) Your book. Just finished it this morning. I had to force myself to put it down every morning, or I'd be late for work. I was delighted to see that you like wine, but I have concluded that compared to you and Tony, I'm leading a very dull---but safe!---life up here in suburbia. Spouse's leg turning BLACK, and vicious deer going through puberty! Believe me, I'm fighting that Fear Factor!

My reply:
I am glad you made it through my book, and I am prepared to write an ‘excuse letter’ for you—if your patients request it. And yes, I love pink wine (Strawberry Hill—with a twisted orange slice.) Ben, who works out here part time, took some wine classes, a few years back, and one time when he and I were talking about wine, he corrected me when I mispronounced Merlot as: Merr- Lot (as in thanks a lot!) and that is why—I nearly flunked French in high school! My teacher, Mrs. French (no kidding, that was her real name) told me that she would pass me, and give me a ‘D’ (for dumb instead of an 'F' for fool) because she knew, I had studied hard and truly tried, but because of my thick Texas accent— she made me promise to never go to France, and I promised not to, and I’ve never gone over there!

My good friend wrote:
3) Your Boston Terriers. I don't know if I mentioned it on the phone that time, but our fifth dog is also a Boston Terrier, named Reuben (after my father). He never made it to my website because we just got him in September and he'll be in our Holiday Card. Karen will enjoy telling you the circumstances. (Not to brag, by the way, but Reuben is not as flatulent as was Yoda!)

The youtube link, Funny Anchorman. Thanks for passing that on, and I will click on it later tonight.

In vino, veritas!
Your friend

My reply:
That is so cool that y'all have a Boston Terrier, and I think Reuben is a great name for him, too. I can't wait to get y’all’s holiday card! And, as far as gaseous omissions, give the little guy some time and a lot of space. And, I recommend using Airwick—or wearing heavy perfume at all times.
You will love the video!

In wino, margaritas!
cousin nancy

And now, after writing this (h)uge blog, I must go return a few phone calls, but before signing off for tonight, I want to do a shout-out to my friend, Lori, over at the famous Cowboy Steak House. I enjoyed seeing you at the grocery store today, and please come out and bring The Nomads—for a visit! We love y’all!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Fated Love!

Back in April, 2007, Tony and I went to one of our veterinarian’s office, to check on one of our rescued dogs. The receptionist, took us back to the kennel area, and before we made it down the aisle to where our dog was recuperating—four, little, adorable Boston Terriers, approximately ten weeks old, caught my eye, because they were standing on their hind legs, leaning on the gate, and trying to get our attention!

Tony and I stopped in our tracks, and reached down to pet the cute little puppies. They were adorable—as are all puppies!

“Cousin Nancy and Tony,” The veterinarian said, walking up behind us. “I know you love Bostons, so take as many as you like. They need homes and they are free.”

“If it’s free—then it’s for me!” I said, quoting my good friend, Harley Belew’s line, which he uses often, when doing his morning radio show. “You’re kidding me? What’s the deal?”

“You and Tony,” the receptionist said. “saw these little pups come in, when you were in here last week. Remember that man brought them in, in a big shoe box?”

“Yes, I remember,” I said. “Remember Tony? The man walked into the lobby, and took them straight to an examination room, without even asking anyone at the front desk.”

Tony nodded yes.

“That’s because we knew he was coming. He had an emergency, and had called to tell us that the puppies were really sick and that he was bringing them in immediately!” The receptionist explained.

“So what happened? “So, why are they free? Didn’t he want them?” I asked.

“They had Parvo,” our veterinarian explained, “and they were near death. After I examined them, I told the man his puppies had Parvo, and asked him what he wanted me to do. He asks me how much it would cost to treat the pups, and when I told him, he said, ‘Forget it—just put them to sleep! And, then stormed out of the building.’”

“How horrible!” I said. “How could anyone be so cold hearted?”

“Cousin Nancy, when I went back to put them down—I couldn’t. When I looked at them, I had to do the right thing. I told those puppies, ‘I’m going to make you well’—and I did! But, before I could, I phoned the man and made him an offer that he couldn’t refuse! I told him that I would treat the pups at no cost to him, because I wanted to try to save them—and if he would agree to letting me have the pups, I promised him, that I would not sell the pups, but just find great homes for them. The man liked my offer and wished me luck. So which one do you want?”

“Nance,” Tony said, cautiously. “Are you sure we need another dog?”

“Yes! Which one do you want?” I asked.

“I want that one—the one with the spots,” Tony said.

“That’s great! What are you going to name him?” I asked.

Holding his little pup in his arms, Tony said, “Bosco. His name is Bosco.”

“Great name, Tony! Mine’s the little runt, but I don’t have a name for her yet!” I said, as I picked her up and gave her a kiss.

After checking on the dog that we had originally come in to see, we found that he was recuperating nicely, so we took our two, little bundles of joy— home.

The next day, I sent Spike an e-mail with pictures of our new little additions, and she asked me to please get her a female, because her wannabe Boston, was not going to be around much longer due to old age.

I called the receptionist and asked her if they still had the other two pups and her answer was—yes! She told me that the little male had just been adopted to a very nice family, but they still had the little female.

The next morning, I went and picked up the little female and two days later, Spike drove down from Austin and picked up her newest member of her family! Spike named her Rebound!

Two days later, I finally came up with Bunny’s name and the rest is history.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Synchronized Tire Dancing!

Tony just took this of our "Dynamic Duo!" His photography classes have really paid off!

Wolfmueller's Books Rules!

A couple of days ago, Tony and I dropped off Bunny and Bosco, two of our rescued pups, that we adopted, so they could be neutered and spayed at Hoegemeyer’s Animal Clinic. After that, we stopped by Wolfmueller’s Books to visit with Jon, Sandy and Mary Jo, before going home.

We love going to Wolfmueller’s because—we always wind up laughing, because each of them— have such a great sense of humor! If Sandy’s not making us laugh—then Jon or Mary Jo is!

On this fun visit, Sandy and Jon surprised me with an awesome, belated birthday gift! They gave me the newly published book by Bill Wittliff—"A Book of Photographs from Lonesome Dove," with a foreword by Larry McMurtry, and Introduction by Stephen Harrigan! And, I was beside myself!

I have been wanting to buy that book, ever since I had seen it on display at Wolfmueller’s Books last month. In fact, on that visit, I was planning on asking Jon and Sandy if they would let me put it in layaway, but before I could ask them—they presented me with the book! Thank you, Sandy and John! I love my present—and I promise that I’ll never loan it out!

Yesterday, Tony and I picked up Bunny and Bosco from Hoegemeyer’s, and brought them home. They were pretty groggy and only wanted to sleep, but this morning—we’re talking full recovery! Their spirits were high—ears up, tails wagging, and running faster than Rick’s boat rides!

I have to leave now, because Kinky called and has invited me to go on a walk, with him and the Friedmans, so we can discuss our upcoming Bonefit, and toss around some fundraising ideas!

Just Checking!

Tony took this picture this morning of Bunny checking out Bosco—checking out his basketball!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Fear Factor!

Last week, after returning from our great fishing trip, down on the coast, Randy Travis, a big, sweet, six-year old, wannabe bird dog—came up with a new bad habit! In the past, from time to time, usually during full moons—Randy would jump out of his pen and run around the ranch—creating havoc, but now he does it every morning, as soon as Tony leaves the ranch—to go to Medina, to drink coffee with his friends and the old timers.

Last Saturday, Tony and I were discussing Randy’s new form of entertainment, and came up with a solution that works! Since Sunday, Tony now takes Randy, and his roommate, Happy, to town with him every morning, and the dogs seem to really be enjoying it! At last, there is peace in the valley!

I received a very funny e the other day from a friend, that I haven’t heard from in a very long time, who has never been to Texas, and I want to share it with you.

Hi Nancy---I finally received your book from Barnes and Noble. I am reading a little bit every day as part of my morning ablutions. You write well and your memory for detail is impressive. No Alzheimer's there!

However, after reading about baby rattlesnakes, vicious wild hogs, porcupines, and fatal tractor-eating floods this city slicker is beginning to have second thoughts about coming down in January. Maybe I should celebrate my birthday someplace safer---like Fallujah!

My response:

Your note has me laughing as I type! In fact, I'm still laughing! Please don't be a scaredy cat—and do come to Texas! The rattlesnakes are gone for now, and they won't come back until May, the wild hogs are really neat and they only attack—to protect their babies, and the babies aren't due until April. As far as the porcupines go—they only come out at night—unless they're rabid—and if that's the case—they are harmless unless they bite you or you fall on one of them. We flooded last summer, and received over 40 inches of rain and we probably won't see water again— until March hopefully, and right now—we are in a drought, again. Personally, I think coming in January will be the safest time for a visit. (I am laughing, so hard right now—I just snorted!!!)

I hope that you will face your fears as I am! If I can go on a 28 hour vacation, ride over tall bridges and survive a ride on a ferryboat without getting seasick— I know you can come to Texas. Don’t worry—I’ll protect you! Just bring a big stick.

P.S. No kidding, January really is the best time to visit, because hunting season will be over and you don’t have to worry about getting shot, and the fire ants, scorpions and wasps will be in hibernation until March! So start packin’! Face your fears!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Happy Halloween! Part IV

When we arrived on the dock, Tony and John immediately baited their hooks—the fishing had commenced! Tony caught the first fish, then John, then Tony, then John—it was if they were taking turns. John, who has done a lot of saltwater fishing told me, “The fishing here is incredible! In the many years that I have fished on the Coast—I’ve never caught this many fish, so fast!”

With a big smile on his face, I could tell that Rick was pleased, that the guys were having so much fun. “It doesn’t get any better than this,” Rick said. “I’m going up to the house to cook us some breakfast. After Rick had excused himself, I took out my camera and started shooting the guys, the many different birds, the Lighthouse and ‘our house’—before calling Harley, up in Kerrville.

When it was time to make the call, I dialed the number. “Okay, everybody, it is now time to talk to everyone’s favorite morning person—Cousin Nancy, of the Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch! Good morning, Cousin Nancy,” Harley said. “How are you doing?”

“I’m fine, Harley,” I said. “Guess where I am?”

“I have no idea, Cousin Nancy” Harley answered. “Tell me.”

“I’m standing on a gigantic, dock with Tony and John, on a privately owned island, that has a Lighthouse on it—in the Gulf of Mexico! And, Tony and John are fishing, and they have nearly caught their limit on Red Fish and some kind of sea trout!”

“You’re kidding, me?” Harley said. “That sounds incredible! What happened? Did Kinky drive y’all crazy and y’all quit and ran away?”

“Nope,” I answered. “The three of us just decided to take a mini-vacation. In fact, we will be back at the rescue ranch, later this afternoon. Oh, my gosh! Tony just caught another big Red Fish and John just netted it for him! This is unbelievable!”

“That’s great! I wish I was there,” Harley said. “Now, Cousin Nancy, you know Randy and Lisa, over at ‘The Save Inn Restaurant,’ that sponsor this segment of the show, for you and the Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch—are now open in the evenings!”

“That is great news!” I said. “We need to all go over there real soon, and have dinner, when Kinky is in town. I can’t wait for him to try that ‘Sinker Omelet!’”

“Sounds good to me,” Harley said. “Cousin Nancy,who is the Harley Pet of the Week?”

I started laughing. “I don’t know, Harley?” I answered. “I forgot to check before we left yesterday. I knew I had forgotten something. Sorry about that.”

Then we both started laughing and then talked a little bit longer.

When the show was over—breakfast was ready! Rick had cooked up a big platter of bacon, homemade biscuits and the biggest omelet—that I have ever seen! The meal was delicious—we cleaned our plates.

Following breakfast, the guys went back to their fishing, while Andy and I washed dishes and cleaned up the kitchen. With that done—we joined the men on the dock, who were still busily catching fish. I asked Rick if I could use his rod and reel, so I could say that I had fished, too. Rick baited my hook and I made a few casts, but never caught a fish—which was actually fine with me, because I am not much of a fisherwoman. On my final cast, the line backlashed and all of the line was tangled up! I didn’t know that you were supposed to hold your thumb on the line when you cast—Rick’s reel was different from the little Zebco, that I own. After spending too much time trying to help me untangle the mess I’d created, I told Tony to get back to his fishing, and to let me work on the line.

Then John reels in a Blue Crab! John quickly unhooked the crab and set him free on the dock. I grabbed my camera and began following it—as it snapped—I snapped! And, fortunately, I was lucky to finally get a great picture of him! Then the cute, little crab, crawled away and went back into the water.

Knowing that we needed to get back to the rescue ranch, John started cleaning all of the keepers that they had caught, while Tony and I went to ‘our house’ to pack. While packing, Tony told me, “That was the best fishing I have ever done. I have never caught that many fish so fast! And, I know, we threw back at least half of the fish that we caught, because they weren’t big enough.”

After the guys had loaded the boat up with all of our luggage, Rick and Andy took us to shore. In the parking lot, we thanked Rick for taking his time—to show us a grand time! And, I will never forget that trip! I had a blast and so did John and Tony! Thank you Rick, Kelly and Pete and Andy! I love y’all! Now, it’s your turn to come visit us!

Late in the afternoon, we arrived at the rescue ranch to find that Ben had everything under control. And, I want to thank our team of friends: Mr. Cooper, Charlie and Ellen Cooper, Maribeth Couch and Ben Welch for taking good care of the ranch—so we could get away! I love them all!

The next day, at noon: Ben, John, Tony and I had a delicious fish fry!

End of a Short Story—Made Long!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Happy Halloween! Part III

When we arrived at the island, Rick invited all of us up to his house for drinks. It seems like all we did was laugh at each other’s one liners, and each other’s stories.

Pete nearly had us rolling on the floor when Kelly asked him to tell us where he had lived as a kid.

“For years,” Pete said, dryly, in his Arkansas accent. “Everybody thought I was pulling their leg, when I told them this, but, as God is my witness, this is unvarnished honesty in presentation of a fact. I was brought up between Toadsuck and Pickle's Gap—that's in Faulkner County, Arkansas. And, if you go to Googlemaps and put in both of those names, it will give you the thirteen mile instructions on how to drive there from the other place, and GoogleEarth will show you the aerial photo!”

(I'm still laughing at that!)

When our party had moved outside, onto the deck, I asked, “ Rick, how in the world, did you wind up here with this dream job?”

“Luck,” Rick answered. “Regina, my ex, and I had been invited down to Port Aransas by a friend of ours, who introduced us to the keeper of the Lighthouse. The Lighthouse keeper, then invited us to the island, and I fell in love with it. Before leaving the island, I said to myself, ‘I’m gonna live here—someday.’ It winds up a few years later, when our friend, called to tell us that he was going to quit being the keeper of the Lighthouse—he wanted to know if I wanted his job, because he would gladly put in a good word for me.”

“Tony,” I said, with everyone listening. “I’m gonna live here—someday. And, you’re coming with me!”

I had so much fun that night with all of those characters, and hated for the party to end. Before Rick drove Pete and Kelly back to the main island, we said our good nights and John, Tony and I went back to ‘our house.’

It was late. Tony was tired and he went to bed first—leaving John and me in the kitchen laughing about how much fun we had already had and the day's events. In less than ten minutes, John told me that he was calling it a night and going to bed, and he left the kitchen. I was fixin’ to leave as well, when John rushes back into the kitchen and says, “Nance, come here! You’re not going to believe this!”

I followed John into the study and he says, “Look at this!” And then he points to a picture on the wall.

“What, John” I asked. “I like that picture, too.”

“Look closer!” John says, with excitement in his voice. “See those drops on the pictures?”

I looked closer and said, “I see them! What in the world?”

“Nancy, they are everywhere! It’s like someone came in here and flipped water drops or something—while we were at the party! I think someone has been in here. It doesn’t make any sense to me. First, I thought, maybe it was me, because when I came back here I was opening a new bottle of water and thought that maybe the water had somehow spewed out, but it can’t be—it’s in every room!”

"John, I said, "but we were all together—all night."

"I know," John agreed, "but, I'm positive the drops were not here when we arrived. it just doesn't make any sense. "

Then John and I walked around the room and found the droplets of clear liquid on the pictures, the coffee table and then when we went into the next room—same deal! I got goosebumps! “John,” I whispered. “I don’t think it was someone—I think it was a ghost. I bet ‘our house’ is haunted. It was built back in 1919.”

"No, Nance," John said. "You really believe in ghosts? No way."

"I sure do," I answered. "I've seen a few, and trust me, they are harmless and nothing to get scared about."

So, not to wake Tony, John and I checked out every room in the house except for Tony’s and my bedroom. The droplets were everywhere except for the two bathrooms and the kitchen! At one point, I touched a drop that was on a picture, and smelled it. It had no smell. “John, I am not going to taste it—because it might be ectoplasm. Who knows? This is too weird. I've never seen anything like this. Do you think we should call Rick?”

Seconds after saying that—Rick appears at the front door and walks in. “I’m back,” Rick says, with a hearty laugh. “Let’s drink a beer.”

We grabbed some beers from the fridge, and stood in the kitchen, laughing about all of the fun that we had had that day. Then Rick says, “Let’s call Kinky to wish him a happy birthday!”

I found my cell phone and dialed Kinky’s number. “Hello, Hello, Hello?” Kinky rapidly fired.

“Kinky, I’m here with Rick and John and...”

The three of us broke out into song, and sang happy birthday to Kinky. Then Kinky tells me that he has a joke to tell us and asks me to repeat it back to John and Rick. Before saying yes, I handed the phone to Rick, but he hands it back to me.

I repeated Kinky’s words, sentence by sentence, but near the punch line, because the sentence was too long—I accidentally changed the wording and Kinky stopped me. I then handed the phone over to John so he could finish the joke, but John couldn’t hear Kinky, because Rick and I were laughing so hard in the background, so John hands the phone back to me, and I finished the joke, which was really funny. Then Rick took the phone and visited with Kinky for a few minutes before signing off.

Near the end of our beers, Rick looks over at the screened front door and calmly says, “Are you a ghost or what?”

The hair went up on the back of my neck, and I quickly shot John a look, before we both turned our heads and saw Andy standing on the front porch. Whew! What a relief I felt.

Andy came inside, and she sat down on the dining room table bench. The four of us visited a little bit longer, and then they went back to Rick’s house.

As soon as they were gone, John and I talked about the hair on the back of our necks standing up when Rick had said the ‘ghost’ word. We decided to call it a night and locked the place down— tighter than a drum.

Thursday morning, Tony woke me up at six, so I could drink some coffee before doing the Harley Show on ‘The Rose’ 104.9 in Kerrville at 7:45. When I came into the kitchen, Tony had a cup of coffee ready for me on the table. We sat on the front porch, drinking our coffee, as I filled him in on what went on after he had gone to bed. And, he seemed mildly interested about the mysterious droplets of whatever.

I needed to take a shower, so on my way to our bedroom, I noticed that there was all this condensation on the bedroom’s screened door and when I opened the screened door I saw that a fog had just rolled in.

When I emerged from the bedroom, Tony and John were drinking coffee with Rick in the dining room. “Good morning, everybody!” I said. “Rick, I love it here and I’m never going to leave. I slept like a log. I'm gonna live here—someday.”

“Good morning, Cousin Nancy. I came over to make sure you were awake so you could do the radio show,” Rick said, wearing that classic smile of his. “I was just telling the guys that I already have the bait waiting for them down on the dock, and breakfast will be ready in about forty minutes.

“Rick, you are the best host anyone could ever ask for! You are too much!" I said. "Looks like we’re fogged in. I noticed that there’s a lot of condensation on the bedroom’s screened door and there seems to be drops of water on the pictures.”

Rick laughed. “That’s because of the ceiling fans,” Rick answered. “Anytime that we have fog or high humidity out here, the ceiling fans more or less fling the moisture all over the walls. Look, see those drops on that picture?”

I leaned in, saw the familiar drops, and nodded, as I locked eyes with John briefly, before saying, “Wow! Condensation. Ceiling fans. Who’d a thunk?”

At seven o’clock, I grabbed a camera and my cell phone, and the four of us left ‘our house’ to go down to the dock to fish and to do a live broadcast from a remote island in the Gulf of Mexico—with a Lighthouse on it.

To be continued...

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Happy Halloween! — Part II

The sun was shining on us, as we made our way slowly through the harbor. I felt almost comfortable in the boat—until Rick cranked the engine and off we went at full speed ahead! I gripped Tony’s hand and held on to my hat for a good five minutes, before Rick’s hat blew off his head! Rick hollered, “Hat Overboard!” And, then turned the wheel sharply as we slowed down to look for his hat. When we located the helpless hat, bobbing in the wake, John grabbed a long pole with a huge hook on the end of it, and rescued the drowning cap! Rick was happy, Tony and John were happy that Rick was happy, and I was happy—not to be traveling at light speed, but that didn’t last real long. With wet hat on head, Rick, once again, revved the mighty engine and off we sped.

When we arrived at the dock of this privately owned island—John, Tony and I were in awe of its beauty! And, the Lighthouse was magnificent! Yes, it had a working Lighthouse on it, built in 1855, and Rick lived on the island, and was the official keeper of the Lighthouse. I couldn’t believe that I was standing on a dock looking up at a sixty-seven foot tall—working Lighthouse!

After the guys had unloaded our luggage from the wannabe-water-rocketship, Rick gave us a tour of the three houses built back in 1919.

First, we saw Rick’s house, which was absolutely beautiful, with tall ceilings, hardwood floors, and giant tall windows with storm shutters. He also introduced us to his cat, Goober Head—that loves the water, and will actually go into the water to catch fish! Rick showed us pictures of Goober Head standing in about ten inches of water—with a fish in its mouth!

We grabbed some beers, and then marched down the steep steps, took a right, and then walked the railed, and boarded planks to the second house, which was where we would be staying.

The second house was absolutely incredible! It had three bedrooms, a reading room, a huge kitchen and dining room, multiple fireplaces, and a beautifully hand carved, wrap around deck on it! In the few mansions that I’ve ever been in—this place beat them all—hands down!

Then Rick took us to the final house to show us the beautiful, hand carved, antique pool table, and poolroom!

When we arrived back to ‘our house,’ I said to Rick, “This sure beats our twenty-four-year old trailer—and it’s a Fleetwood!” Rick laughed, and left us to unpack our worldly goods—that didn’t take long.

After, going from room to room to admire the fine architecture, painting, pictures, etc.—I started taking pictures of ‘our house’—so I wouldn’t forget it.

Rick showed up, and told us to come with him—and we did. He took us down to the historical Lighthouse and invited us in for a tour. John was the only brave soul amongst us, and he climbed all of the way to the top, while Tony and I stared straight up at him.

After John had returned safely from the clouds, and his feet were firmly planted back on the island, Rick told us to grab the camera, and to meet him at the boat—he had something to show us! While Tony went to get a camera in ‘our house,’ I skeptically, racewalked—to the fastest boat on the planet! After we were all aboard—Captain Rick said, “Hold on!”

I grabbed Tony’s leg and held on for dear life, and then off we went—destination unknown! Within minutes we were racing beside a gigantic, orange colored, oil tanker, that was coming in to port! “Get your camera ready, Tony!” Our Captain ordered. “And, watch the front of that ship!”

How Tony was ever able to shoot any decent pictures, with me holding on to his leg, is beyond me, but he captured some beautiful shots of the dolphins swimming ahead of the tanker—joyfully, leaping high into the air—like a water dance! It was so beautiful watching them at play—I actually forgot about my fear—until we turned off and went back to the main island to check on the three boats!

While Rick went off to find his mechanic, on his yellow, Vespa scooter, John, Tony and I went to the only grocery store and bought a few groceries—beer. When we met up with Rick, he told us that Kelly got off of work at 7:30—so we had an hour to kill.

Rick drove us around the island and gave us a grand tour! Our last stop, was at Shorty’s Bar, an historical, sixty-year old bar, that was still family owned—and a must see for all tourists!

When we walked inside, everyone in the bar welcomed and waved to Rick—he was a local. Rick introduced us to everyone in the bar, and everyone was so nice and friendly. They made us feel welcomed and we enjoyed visiting with them.

The coolest thing in the bar were the thousands of ‘give me’ caps hanging from the ceiling! Seriously, there were over a thousand caps and they covered the entire ceiling! While we checked out the bar, Rick, who is absolutely hilarious, went over to the jukebox and slipped in some quarters. Before we knew it, a man using Elmer Fudd’s voice, began singing the song that Willie Nelson wrote—the one that made Patsy Cline famous—“Crazy!” We all got to laughing, and the more we listened—the more we couldn’t stop laughing! I am sure, that I lost a pound from laughing so hard—thanks Rick!

When we arrived at the boathouse, Kelly and Pete, and Rick’s friend, Andy, were already there—waiting for us! Rick opened up the Boathouse, and we went inside and boarded the boat and took off for the island. I guess because I had drank a beer, and was surrounded with great company—I forgot to hold on to Tony’s leg!

On the voyage back to the island, Kelly told us that she had just faced a fear of heights by going para-sailing, a few days ago! The way she told the story—she had all of us laughing so hard—that I had happy tears, and nearly threw my back out! This was by far, the best Halloween I have ever had!

When we arrived at the island...

To be continued...

Friday, November 2, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Oh my gosh! John, Tony and I had a great miniature-vacation! And, we want to thank Charlie and Ellen Cooper, Maribeth and Ben for baby-sitting the rescue ranch—so we could get away! And, thanks to Rick and Andy, and Pete and Kelly—it was nonstop fun and filled with laughter!

The three of us exited the rescue ranch around 10:30, Wednesday morning—aka—Halloween! Our first stop was Medina, to purchase a map and aspirin, so I wouldn’t have any heart attacks along the way. (I have always taken one aspirin every morning—just for protection, and I had run out.)

While Tony drove, John and I discussed our route, with him riding shotgun, in the front seat— reading the newly purchased map, and me in the backseat, holding my magnifying glass while trying to read my four-year old U.S. atlas. When...

Whoa! Tony and I just heard four shotgun blasts outside and our dogs are howling! We are going to go check it out and I will get back to this story as soon as we know what’s going on! It is 6:14 p.m.!

6:40 p.m—We’re back! We went over to Kinky’s Lodge, and it was just one of his friends, who’s a private eye trying out a new gun. On our return, we found that Randy Travis had jumped out of his pen and was doing meet and greets with all of the other dogs. Tony put him back into his pen and here, I now sit at the computer.

Okay, back to our adventure. John and I were in agreement about which route to take, but half-heartedly disagreed on the last hundred miles of our journey. He wanted to take the high road and I wanted to take the low road—even though I always do try to take the high road. Anyway, I suggested we vote on it, but Tony wouldn’t vote because he wasn’t registered and it didn’t matter to him, so after several more debates— I conceded, and we took the high road.

Talk about high road? I had to close my eyes during every bridge that we climbed and crossed, because of my fear of heights, and I was so proud that I didn’t get down on the floor and cover my head with a towel like I usually do!

When we approached the ferry, Tony and I about freaked out, because we have never been on a ferry. Thank goodness John was there, because he knew all about ferry boats—having lived in Galveston, so he helped calm our fears and told us what to do. Tony followed his instructions to a “T”, and safely drove us onto the ferry and parked. Bon Voyage! We were on our first cruise!

Two minutes later, we were back on Texas soil and I wanted to kiss the ground, but Tony wouldn’t stop the car. John then calls Rick to tell him that we had arrived, and Rick gave him directions to where we could meet up. Six minutes later, we parked at a private boathouse and got out of the car. One minute later, Rick opens the locked door of the boathouse and comes out to greet us!

All three of the boats had broken down, in the last three days, and he needed to find his mechanic fast, and suggested that we go see Kelly, who was bar tending at an outdoor bar, a few blocks away. So, we went and found Kelly!

Kelly, has one of the most bubbly personalities of anyone that I have ever met, and I am sure that is why Pete adores her. When we walked up to the bar, she asked us what we wanted to drink and then served us and said, “These are on the house!”

As we sipped our beers, three gigantic dogs carrying empty plastic water bottles in their mouths, walked up and started sniffing us—with tails wagging. I guess they knew we were their kind of people. Kelly told us that the island was very dog friendly and that many bars and restaurants allowed dogs into their establishments—as long as the dogs have good manners. “And,” Kelly added, “More people get kicked out than the dogs!”

In between serving her many customers, she asked me if we had had a good trip so far? After quickly filling her in on the tall bridges and Tony and I having ferry fears—she laughed, and said, “I’m glad that you are facing your fears and conquering them! I always try to do that!”

When she came around again, for a quick visit, I said, “I am also scared of deep water, too, because of a scary incident that I had in the ocean when I was a young child. And, I’m amazed that I didn’t get seasick on the ferry!”

Kelly laughed. “Maybe,” she teased, “you should go on 'Fear Factor?'”

I laughed. Then Rick shows up and tells us that it might be another hour before we could leave to go to the private island. We were getting hungry and he suggested that we go to his favorite restaurant, because they had the best seafood—so we did exactly that!

After eating our delicious meals—we went back to the boathouse to find Rick. “I had to borrow a friend’s boat and the mechanic told me that the boats will be fixed by tomorrow morning—all because of bad fuel!” Rick said. “Let’s go to the island!”

John and Tony quickly loaded up the boat with all of our luggage and then jumped into the boat with Rick, and then they helped me reluctantly come aboard—knowing about my fear of water.
Then we took off for the island.....

To be continued...