Friday Night Dance, Roses, and Alligators!

One of the “the projects are done!” projects that Tamara (Gathering manager) gave me to work on was the schedule of events for the 26th Gathering.  The line item word processor document would be given to the Elko Daily Free Press for their articles. 

 Line item document- picture cutting up your schedule and placing each show and event, line by line, into a document.

Also using that same document, Tamara had me make separate lists for each room at the convention center, the auditorium, the G Three Bar Theater, the school sites, and the WFC gallery and bar for each day of the gathering.  Those lists would be used to make the large foam board and paper schedule signs that you have read outside of doors at the different venues this week.  The first project was completed during the first or second week of January and the second one was completed over a week ago, but every time I would work with the Saturday schedule, I had the same feeling come over me- “Oh… its over.”   It is the same feeling I get on the last Saturday of each Gathering. 

 One way to explain the feeling would be lots of rain during the Gathering, then drought during the other 51 weeks of the year.  That is as close in words as I can get to explaining it now.

I had the same thing happen when I was in Nashville.  It took a few weeks for me to realize that when I woke up the next morning, Nashville would still be there, 52 weeks a year.  It was in Music City that I realized what would be “over” during the Gathering for me.  The writers and players went home, away from here.  I love being around writers and musicians.  My writing improves because I am around them, by learning from them, almost by osmosis.  Writers understand each other in ways that other people don’t.  And I will write to be around them.  I have written more this week than I have in a very long time.

 Thank you, Dan Gudgel, for your Gathering blog posts; mine are better because of yours.

But, still …today is Saturday... that Saturday of the year... when it is over.

Friday Night Dance

I was right in my blog post yesterday; the people at the Firday Night Dance needed to take a nap before going.  I made it until 12:15 AM and all I did was spend the night listening to the music and practicing my waltz steps and the Zydeco two-step in the back. 

 Hum.… It seems Zydeco is not in this word processing program’s dictionary!  Maybe the programmers have never heard Geno Delafose and French Rockin’ Boogie play!

During the dance, I saw Tamara Kubacki and Dan Gudgel boppin’ and rockin’ to the Zydeco beat!  The staff works so hard all year to prepare for this week that it is good to see them out enjoying some of it, too.  I also saw many of the artists dancing and visiting.  It was great to see them partaking in some of the fun!

 There are two more dances tonight- the Saturday Night Dance with Wylie and the Wild West at the convention center starting at 9:30 PM  and then the Midnight Dance with Corb Lund and The Hurtin’ Albertans in the G Three Bar Theater from Midnight to 2 AM.

Last night, the music and dancing was contagious and crazy.  I had the fun opportunity of showing Meg Glaser the Zydeco two-step dance that Geno taught the elementary students last week.  The dance floors were crowded with people!  I am still trying to figure out how the people in the front part of the room who were sitting in chairs didn’t get knocked over by the people on the dance floor.  Geno, Demetric, Kent, Popp, Germaine, and Dale Patrick were safe up on stage.  That might have been the safest place to be last night! 

 To learn how to do the Zydeco two-step dance, go to Devon’s Kid Rockin’ Boogie blog post at http://westernfolklifecenter.wordpress.com/2010/01/29/kid-rockin-boogie .

At 12:15 AM, I decided that some rest would be a really good thing since I had an early start the next morning.  I went to my car, scraped my windshield, and headed home.  I didn’t want to get up this morning, but I did.  I can get dressed fast when I need to.  And I walked here.  It was faster than scraping my windshield again and warming the car.   

Alligators

What would a blog post from me be like without mentioning alligators?!  Kathi Wines said I might be visited by Iris Wall.  I told Kathi that was good because I needed to talk with Miss Iris about alligators.  Also, I may need to find some of the other Cracker cowhunters to talk about the animal, so if you see one, leave a comment telling me where the sighting occurred.  I better hurry up and make some peace with alligators, the Gathering ends tonight. 

Miss Wall walked in here.  I told her that I am familiar with fish being in ponds, not alligators.  How big, I asked?  She said 10 to 12 feet for alligators would be normal.   Normal.   She invited me to visit her sometime.  It might just take seeing one in person for me to make peace with an alligator. 

After Miss Iris left, I needed to find someone downstairs, so I headed to the gallery.  I didn't find the person I needed, but I did find Buddy Mills who is the Cracker whip maker that you might have talked with this week.  I asked him and he grabbed his whip.  Then, he cracked... his whip... in the gallery... twice!... for me!  The whip sounded like, but was a lot louder than, a cap gun.  If you asked me today, I'd probably say yes, that I believe that the word Cracker comes from the sound of the Cracker whip and relates to how the Cracker cowhunters use their whips to communicate over long distances and through cyprus groves and pine islands.  Mr. Buddy also told me the differences between a bull whip and a Cracker whip.  One difference is that there is more play at the handle of a Cracker whip. 

Miss Iris said 10-12 feet long was a normal length for a gator.  Mr. Buddy added they could be as long 12 to 14 feet.  That is almost three of me lined up head to foot!  He used the display case with the nylon rope in it in the WFC gallery to show me how big a gator's head can be.  Let's just say gigantic!  I also learned from Mr. Buddy that it is possible to keep a gator's mouth shut with just my pointer finger and thumb.  No kidding!  (No, I won't be trying that soon, but if I ever need to, thanks to Mr. Buddy, I'll have it in mind.)  When gators are moved, a person only needs to wrap black electrical tape around the gator's mouth.  That's it!  They don't have strong muscles to open them.  Mr. Buddy also told me about how, if a rider gets too close to a gator, the alligator will start rolling toward the horse and rider and try to roll up the horse! 

Miss Cynthia was just here.  She told me about how the alligators will just walk around, anywhere.  Cleo Hanson joined in the conversation and agreed with Miss Cynthia.  How does a person get used to that?!

I am still confused about what a hammock is , so I need to search out Mr. Doyle Rigdon to ask that follow-up question to yesterday's panel discussion.  And I'll also let him know that Florida now means more to me than Mickey Mouse, gators, and hurricanes.  Yes, there are (very friendly, engaging, down-to-earth) cowboys and cowgirls in Florida.  I've met enough this week to know that.

 Side Note

One dozen long stem red roses were sitting on my desk for most of this morning.  No, not for me, but I did get to enjoy them until the owner found them.  Happy Anniversary, Lucy!  

What a way to send off our Florida guests and all of you- It is snowing in Elko!   I offer thoughts of safe travel for all who are leaving Elko today, tomorrow, and next week.

See you next year for the 27th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

 Rabbitbrush Marie