Desert Messenger

January 15, 2014

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24 Voices from The Past in Quartzsite, AZ Excerpts from "In the Shadow of Saguaros" by Rosalee Oldham Wheeler Real Desert Cowboys Almost anywhere you go, when you hear the word cowboy or see someone dressed in western attire such as a big hat, high-heeled working boots, or a wide belt with a big buckle, eyes turn and folks wonder, "Is that a cowboy?" When I was a child, transplanted from Illinois to Arizona, I had a fascination for western ranch life. I read every Zane Grey book I could get my hands on. In 1931 Phoenix was not a very big town and had cattle ranches with fields of alfalfa stretching out from 24th Street and Roosevelt. My dad often wore a black western hat that made his six feet, four inch frame appear even taller. Much to his amusement, he was often asked if he was a deputy sheriff. Dad made friends with one of the cattle ranchers near 24th and Roosevelt who had a wonderful ranch house with a cowboy's bunkhouse and cook shack nearby. He invited Dad to bring the family out to the ranch for a real cowboy dinner. Upon arrival, he asked if my brothers and I would like to ride horses before dinner. This was exactly what we had hoped for, but Dad told us not to expect. Quartzsite Radio KBUX 94.3 FM SEE RATS PAGE 37 The cowboys had a big fire go- guage using words like grub, chucking ringed with five or six big black wagon, frijoles, amigo, bulldoggin', iron pots, which they called Dutch and cahoots among others. My ovens. Also on the fire was a five- brothers and I listened carefully gallon coffee pot and nearby was as we tried to figure out what they two long tables with benches. The were saying. "cookie" had graduated from being Pinto beans were simmering in a wrangler to the cook, since it was one Dutch oven, then the "cookie" said that he could make the best poured a dishpan full of sliced podern biscuits of any hand on any of tatoes into another. From the cook the other ranches. I was fascinated shack, the top hand brought out a cutting board covwith the top hand ered with baking who wore a Stetpowder biscuit son hat that had dough that the seen better days. "cookie" carefully His shirt was placed in two of the blue denim with larger, but shallow two snap pockets, Dutch ovens. Once from which one the biscuits were dangled dark yelsituated, he puts low strings with a the lids on and round paper tag Leadwell Windmill then scooped up a stamped with a shovel full of reddrawing of a bull. While assisting the "cookie", the top hot coals, carefully shaking them hand frequently wiped his hands onto the top of the lids. The last two on his Levis. His boots were pretty ovens were ready for the big, thick well run-over and seemed to fit the steaks that the "cookie" was wellcurvature of his bowed legs. One of known for frying to a "T" for each his a knarred hands gripped a cup guest. The lids of the steak ovens of coffee and the other embraced a were turned over onto the coals as "warmers" for the cooked steaks, roll-your-own cigarette. The cowboys spoke in a slow drawl making room to cook more. The "cookie" only had to clang the in what sounded like a foreign lantriangle dinner bell once because the aroma already had us standing in line with our blue and white tin plates in hand. It was a tight • Old Costume Jewelry squeeze but we all managed to find • Old Fountain Pens • Silver & Gold Coins room on the benches to sit down and • Sterling Silverware eat, except the "cookie." He squat• Gold Filled Jewelry • Old Watches ted down, resting on his haunches, • Gold & Silver Jewelry balancing his plate on his knee, with Any Condition • Gold Nuggets his tin coffee cup on the ground. BUYING • Dental Gold Hi Ally Swap Meet ~ Front Row Main St., Quartzsite • Quartzsite's Favorite "CLASSIC HITS" • Local Information • Weather • 24 Hours Day / 7 Days Week! SEE COWBOYS PAGE 44 Veteran Owned & Operated RVs & Mobile Homes MOBILE WASH Filtered Water • Local Business Bud's Suds 928-927-5111 First locally-owned and operated music station in Quartzsite, Arizona. Proudly serving the communities of Quartzsite, Bouse, Brenda, Rainbow Acres, La Paz Valley and beyond, since 1988. January 15, 2014 Email: CALL for estimate! 928-750-9660

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