Cowboy Jam Session: Christmas gift ideas – Part 2 |

Cowboy Jam Session: Christmas gift ideas – Part 2

For the Dec. 11, 2010 edition of Tri-State Livestock News.

In today’s world of rapid-ship, all types of merchandise can be delivered in a matter of days. Having said that, it is impossible for anything to reach our outfit overnight. I don’t care where it’s coming from or which delivery service is utilized, there is no way for a package to be sent overnight to my front door. Besides, such expedited service adds significantly to the cost, and I’m pretty frugal.

If that’s the case at your place too, and you’re down to the wire and want to give one of the items below, consider this: Clip the article. Highlight what you’ve ordered. Wrap it in a pretty package. Slip it under the tree:

• Stick Horses and Other Stories of Ranch Life by Wallace McRae (Gibbs Smith, 2009, 6″ x 9″, 192 pages, hardback, ISBN: 978-1-4236-0591-1). Wally McRae’s adventure into prose may surprise folks who know him only as a poet. The Cowboy Curmudgeon, McRae’s collection of cowboy poetry, has sold more than 25,000 copies. But, if you’ve ever heard the Montana rancher telling stories around a dining table or relaxing in front of a fireplace, you’ll be glad Paul Zarzyski exhorted him to put them down on paper.

My brother-in-law spied a copy of McRae’s book on an end table during a recent visit. He thumbed through and found his favorite: “Census.” Suffice to say, if you’ve ever been vexed at how to fill out the long form of the USDA Farm Census, you and Wally are kindred souls. Let’s hope you never meet in jail.

I gave up keeping a count of my favorites. However, I especially liked “Icing,” about harvesting river, creek, and pond ice before the days of electric refrigerators. Not only was it entertaining, I learned a lot! In another, McRae mentions Hokey Pokey and reveals what it is: carbon disulfide. I just read a rancher’s reminiscence from the turn of the century in which he mentioned Hokey Pokey on two occasions. I was clueless as to what it was, although I was able to deduce what kind of an effect it produced.

If Dad were still alive, I’d give him a copy. And, sitting in his easy chair reading on a long winter’s evening, he would snicker, chuckle and laugh out loud. He’d recognize a lot of the names. Dad knew just about everyone in southeastern Montana from his days as a water well driller. McRae includes a story about a well driller entitled “Dangerous Dan Imlah.” You needn’t be from Montana to enjoy the 27 stories presented by this masterful storyteller.

Stick Horses and Other Stories of Ranch Life lists for $19.99. It is available from bookstores and online book sellers, including, which also offers it for Kindle readers at $7.99. For more on McRae, see his Featured Guest page at

• American by Don Edwards. This country’s most respected cowboy balladeer, Don Edwards, is out with a brand-spanking new album of patriotic songs. Western Jubilee Recording Company describes it as “timeless musical selections, both old and new, that pertain to yesterday and today from a Western patriot.” Edwards penned two of the 12 tracks: “Hard Times” and “The Devil’s Hatband.” A friend of mine expressed surprise that “Hard Times” was a recent composition. It is reminiscent of the Great Depression. Credits on the others range from Marty Robbins to Ed Bruce; Andy Wilkinson to Woody Guthrie.

Edwards received a lifetime achievement award from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, OK, this year. It was in recognition of 50 years of studying and performing cowboy music. If you’ve ever heard him sing, you understand.

American sells for $15-plus postage from Western Jubilee Recording Company, PO Box 9187, Colorado Springs, CO 80932; 800-707-2353;

• Antiques Roadshow Insider. My husband and I were introduced to this 16-page, full-color monthly newsletter during the June filming of the Public Broadcasting show, Antiques Roadshow. Our daughter submitted our names for the ticket lottery, and my name was selected for the Billings, MT event. Never mind that my husband put his hand in the path of a dado blade and had the pinky finger on his left hand amputated two days prior. Pain meds and family heirlooms in tow, we made our way to the appraisers.

Included in our informational packets were a copy each of this monthly that tracks the news and trends from the world of antiques and collectibles. It was a perfect fit for the antique junkie on my list. I’ve already subscribed for him, and am giving him the two back issues along with a note saying it will arrive in his mailbox for the next 12 months.

Antiques Roadshow Insider is 6 issues for $14.95; 12 issues for $29. Order from Antiques Roadshow Insider Subscription Services, PO Box 420235, Palm Coast, FL 32142-0235; 800-830-5125;

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