Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Cowgirls Don’t Cry…

Ride, baby, ride.
Lessons of life are going to show you in time,
Soon enough your gonna know why.
It's gonna hurt every now and then.
If you fall get back on again.
Cowgirls don't cry…

I missed a call the other day. When I looked it was from my mom. We don’t talk on the phone much so I don’t really like seeing that she called because I always think it must be something bad. And usually I’m right. This missed call was no exception.

My cousin, Susan, had passed away. It was expected but that didn’t make it any easier. She had courageously fought cancer but as often is the case, especially with pancreatic cancer, she lost the battle.
There are 14 cousins on my mother’s side. My mom had an older sister who was married and had her own kids when my mother was little. Those three cousins were closer in age to her than they were to the rest of us. So really, when my Mamaw was alive, there were 11 of us that gathered on a fairly regular holiday basis and played and knew each other. The cousins were sort of born in pairs. The oldest two girls, BK and Nan, are the same age. Then came Susan and I, a month apart. Next was Chuck, then Judi, then Charles and Carla, Junior, Kurt and Jimmie. There was usually someone for everyone to play with, close to their same age. I have so many fond memories of those times. The adults would play games, cards mainly, and talk and laugh and cheat. The kids would play together. Of course, BK, Nan, Susan and I would play girl things together. When we were young we’d do the doll thing or play house or some variation. As we grew up we’d listen to the radio, pop songs mostly, and sing and dance along. We talked about movie stars, boys, and school. We got along fairly well, too, which was an advantage. Mamaw would cook and the house would smell good, holiday smells of things like onion and apple, the secret ingredient to her dressing, and turkey.
When I was really little we lived in Lubbock. I think we moved when I was around three. We lived close to my aunt and uncle, Nan and Susan’s parents. Because of that we visited often. I know that after we moved we’d almost always go and visit when we went back to Lubbock.

One memory that really stands out, and I’m not sure why, was playing with Susan one day. We were in Lubbock, probably at her house. We were both a bit tomboy and liked playing things like cowboy and Indians and army men. We not only played cowboy, we were cowboys. A favorite of ours was a show called “Stoney Burke”. Stoney Burke was a rodeo rider. He wanted to win the Golden Buckle, which is the grand prize going to the world champion saddle bronc rider. I don’t know if he ever won but every week there was some sort of dilemma along the way that we watched, entranced. He was played by Jack Lord, and as 5 year olds, we thought he was HOT! Another show we liked was called “Wide Country”. This show had brothers who were also rodeo riders. One was named Mitch Guthrie and the other Andy. We never could remember Andy’s name so we called them Mitch and Mitch Guthrie. After a while they sort of became one. Of course we loved "Bonanza" too. We had big crushes on Adam and Susan liked to be Little Joe. In fact, if you asked her name she might just tell you she was Little Joe Cartwright!
We used to play Stoney Burk, Mitch and Mitch Guthrie, and Little Joe all the time. Susan always got to be Stoney Burk if she wasn't Little Joe, and I had to be Mitch and Mitch Guthrie. We had boots and western shirts. We had hats and even play guns. We had it all. Well, almost. SHE had it all. She had chaps and SPURS! I didn’t care too much about the chaps. But I loved those spurs. She would put them on and walk up and down the hallway with a little jingle. Sometimes, but not very often at all, she’d let me put them on. But that was mainly when her mom made her. My turn didn’t last long enough! Soon they were hers again.
One time we were playing and I wanted to wear the spurs for a while but she said not yet. I asked again and she kept making excuses. We were being cowboys and running and playing when Susan tripped and fell. She fell down right on one of the spurs. I know it hurt. There was no way it couldn’t have hurt! The pointed spur poked her right in her butt! I was concerned at first, then I started to laugh. It served her right since she didn’t let me wear the spurs! The moms came out to comfort Susan and to glare at me. I got in trouble for laughing. She got sympathy.
Funny how some things stick with you. I would think about the incident with the spurs, and how I had laughed, and I would feel so guilty for laughing. For years I worried about that. One time, we were in our early teens, they came to visit in Albuquerque. I took her aside and apologized for laughing at her when she fell on her spurs. She didn’t know what I was talking about. I had to explain. When she remembered she laughed. Then I laughed. She thought it was the funniest thing that I’d felt guilty all those years for something she didn’t even remember. It became our secret, one of those things that probably nobody knew but she and I, and we laughed about it from then on.

As we got older, we didn’t see each other much. We made different kinds of life choices. She married young, then divorced and later went to Germany. She lived over there for years. When she came back to the states she moved to Illinois. A couple of summers ago we all got together and she was there with her boys. A lot of the family came in. We got to visit and had a good time. It was good we all got to see each other. We didn’t know it would be the last time.

We’ll go soon, to say goodbye to my cousin and my friend. It will be hard. She’s the first one of us to go. When something like this happens it brings thoughts of time and how we never know how much we have. We’ll gather, like we did a couple of summers ago. But this time it will be to say goodbye. Goodbye my cousin. Know you’ll be remembered always. I hope there were silver spurs waiting for you.
Her daddy gave her, her first pony,Then taught her to ride.
She climbed high in that saddle.
Fell I don't know how many times.
Taught her a lesson that she learned,
Maybe a little too well…
Cowgirls don't cry.

I’m knitting, on the knitayear and on some other things.
Pompadoodle blankets--as soft as they look!
It’s day 215, November 1. I don’t know how this year has gone by so fast. It’s another manic Monday, things to do and people to see. I picked a multi color Noro because all the colors reminded me of crazy but I’d have to knit a lot to get them in so I only got in the greenish yellow. You’ll have to believe me on the multi colors! November 2, day 216, is my late night at work. I don’t mind because I have great people to work with. I had to sit through a really long webinar. It’s the new way to have a meeting. It’s really not bad but you’re tied to your desk with earphones on. Fortunately I have two screens and figured out how to make the other work for all the other things I want to and should be doing during the meeting. I guess I don’t give my full attention that way but I was impatient because he kept repeating himself. And I was ready for the day to end. Thank goodness we got out early from night class. But mom called on the way home. I chose something called ragg silk. It’s made from silk sari’s in India. I can’t imagine having the job of tearing those things into strips, then sewing them together and winding them in balls. Talk about being impatient. Day 217 was a busy day. Transition fair is scheduled on November 3, and it’s always busy. We had around 200 + students, all special education students. The fair is to help them find ways to transition from high school to careers or school or just life. It was a success. This was also the Susan’s last day. The yarn I chose won’t seem fitting for the news I got today. I chose a vibrant, multi colored yarn with bright almost psychedelic colors. I picked it for the good times. It reminds me of a lot of things. It looked like Susan to me for some reason. I’ll remember this day and what it was for in the knitayear. I’ll be strong.
Cowgirl don't cry,
Ride, baby, ride.
Lessons of life show us all in time,
Too soon God lets you know why.
If you fall get right back on,
Good Lord calls everybody home…


  1. My condolences to you and your family.

  2. Great post and a wonderful tribute to your cousin. Hugs to you and your family.

  3. Thank you ladies. It was tough. The service was nice and a lot of family came. It was nice to see them.