Cowboys Coming to Town for Christmas

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remingtoncowboys2

Frederic Remington

Wishing you all a MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON! I’ll be trying to keep the cowboys from too much trouble during the next week so I may not be at the computer that much, but will be back full time in the new year.

Love and blessings to you all~

Adrienne

PS~I hope Santa sends me a horse!

Goodreads Giveaway!

Enter for your chance to win the paperback edition today! Contest ends tomorrow (kept forgetting to mention it).

When morphine-addicted Civil War veteran  John Weldon marries into the comfortably suburban McCullough family on the eve of Reconstruction and the Indian Wars, life gets complicated. How will Weldon hide his addiction from the family he resents and admires, keep his standing in the army and find the strength to survive the tragedies that come with loving others? John Weldon spends a lifetime journeying across the frontier only to find that he already has a home. Historical Novel Society Editor’s Choice

God forbid that I should go to any Heaven in which there are no horses. ~R.B. Cunninghame Graham, letter to Theodore Roosevelt, 1917

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“In horsemanship, however, he was noted as the most proficient in the Academy. In fact, rider and horse held together like the fabled centaur...” James Longstreet

“In horsemanship, however, he was noted as the most proficient in the Academy. In fact, rider and horse held together like the fabled centaur…” James Longstreet

US Grant was the greatest equestrian president. Everyone says so!

“He was a great horseman and sat his horse as if he were part of the horse, all one figure. There was never a movement of any description that was not masterful and graceful. No one ever saw him disturbed in any way, that is, jolted or taken unaware on horseback, whether he was going fast or slow. He was a born horseman. He had a natural love for animals of all kinds and he was of kindly instincts, without being demonstrative at all, except to his family. He never abused an animal, never.” Corporal M. Harrison Strong Grant, The Equestrian

And then there’s Theodore. Whatever he didn’t possess in grace he made up for with enthusiasm!

Go, TR! Go!

Go, TR! Go!

Bully!

Bully!

Presidential Horses

Humbug Taft gets rid of Horses

Cincinnati the Great Horse!

Drunks

A top the moral high ground!

A top the moral high ground!

I’ve had my fair share of less than stellar drunken moments running with the fast crowd and trying to keep up with my boyfriends’ drinking. And then my husband’s drinking. Such was life in the 20th century. Men and women were equals. “Anything you can do, I can do better,” was my hidden mantra when the boys came round.

Yet, looking back my father was right. Nothing good comes of a girl out past 12 in a saloon. Dancing on a slippery bar and crashing down with the hanging glasses  almost landed a friend in the hospital. How many places in Hoboken were we banned from? I can’t remember.

Now what does this have to do with history? For a brief shining moment in America there came upon the land the Cult of Womanhood. People nowadays look on this period as the ultimate joke against women. They think that the sinister members of the patriarchy, rubbing their hands together viciously,  devised a way in which women could be fooled into actually believing that their role in society mattered. They forced women to think that they  were an integral part of bringing forth a civilized nation. (Note: should one sex be more moral than the other?)

Of course women did drink and get knocked up and all, but the point was that in general they were to be the torch-bearers of the high ground and were to pass it on to the next generation. You see how devious this plan was? Women kinda fell for it (even as the very few smart ones saw through it and worked for free love and the right to wear pants).

A lot of women thought being with the kids felt right and that working in a coal mine wasn’t appealing. Many thought politicians were swine and were happy to steer clear of the pig pen. While they mourned the loss of their men in battle, most didn’t want to join them. Some will say the men were just throwing the women a bone whilst they went off to do real things like make war (and do boyish things like play video games in their pajamas all day).

Notice the stereotypical drunk face (code Irish).

Notice the stereotypical drunk face (code Irish).

There were women who bucked the whole marriage and family thing and were looked upon warily until they proved their mettle. They edited newspapers, traveled the world and became spies, etc. People like to say men don’t respect women, but do women respect men? Aren’t we all a bit self-righteously pointing fingers most of the time? Do we live in a fantasy land that says women are as strong as men until they get knocked out by a drunken football player? Or that women can get drunk and high and accuse all men of gang rape? Or that teenaged boys will consider sex with a hot teacher rape? Haven’t men and women been abdicating responsibility for their actions by blaming the other sex for centuries?

None of us want the moral high ground anymore. That’s for suckers. We want to do as we please and call it some form of sublime equality instead of a race to the gutter. We’re all only one sloppy drunk night away from killing someone on the rode to our “rights.” Men and women sit equally on the bar stools. We have our rights. We want more rights. But do we have love?

The waters are muddy once the intoxication wears off. Temperance women were laughed at and their battle lost. Some went on to fight for rights and others went quietly home to their husbands (some of them good and some of them bad). Rights are about me. Love is about you. Which am I willing to I fight for?

Knocked Up

Preggers Pinterest

Preggers
Pinterest

Knocking” began as a term for serious flirting circa 1800. Originally it was because you were knocking on the maiden’s “door” trying to “get in”. Understandably, this reference quickly changed to the actual act of “getting in” because beds knock against walls. If you leave your boots on, literally done at that time, you are “knocking boots“- a Southern U.S. term. Around 1813, the term “knocking up her boots” was common. A reference to the “missionary” position. By 1830, “knocked up” began as a reference to what we now know it as today. Sadly, it was a reference to a slave woman who became pregnant. {This can be verified via “Bing” search, and through searches of various history sources for; African-American History, Southern & Western U.S. History, Women’s History, etc:}www.answers.com

“Have you seen that place of Charlie’s? It makes mine look like a shack.” Andrew Carnegie

Charles Schwab's NYC Estate

Charles Schwab’s NYC Estate

Shall we hate another rich man today? Maybe not today. Charlie Schwab doesn’t seem the type to hate. I’ve just met him so I’ll let you know if I change my mind. Here’s what I like:

He’s one of those people my socialist theory professor told me didn’t exist–a self-made man. Can’t we all admit self-made people are pretty great? “Born in 1862, Schwab at age 18 was a stake driver for one of the Carnegie steel mills, and at 21 chief engineer. In 1897, and only 35, he became the president of the Carnegie Steel Company, a part of Andrew Carnegie’s steel empire in which Henry Frick was a partner.” NYTimes

He considered himself lucky and quite ordinary. Sadly for the massive mansion he built called Riverside, he bought what he liked and built how he felt. No grand plans to turn his home into one of the finest art museums in the country (like Henry Clay Frick did) or anything like that.

Library of Congress

Library of Congress

All of the Richie Riches refused buying land on the “wrong side” of Manhattan, but when the land with river views that used to house the orphan’s asylum came on the market Charles and his wife jumped on it–no matter what others said! They bought a CITY BLOCK and used a less than famous architect to design a home that included “a gym, a bowling alley, a pool, three elevators and interiors in the styles of Henry IV, Louis XIII, Louis XV and Louis XVI.” Okay, that was a bit much, but still kind of fun.

.What drives a person to build such a big house? Celebrities do it all the time and I wonder about them, too. It’s kind of embarrassing, isn’t it? But then I come from puritan stock and don’t go in for bowling (shoot me first).

He lost it all in the Crash of 1929. This makes things interesting. What to do with the house? Pawn it off to the city as a new mayor’s residence? Nope. The city was having none of it. Seems even they understood the neighborhood wasn’t that impressive.

He stayed married to the same woman for 50 years and died only a year after she did. After her death he left the mansion and moved into a hotel. I’m imagining him sitting at his bedside with a drink in his hand while holding a sweet picture of wifey before going to sleep. I love when men die quickly after their women.

NY Times StreetScapes

Charles Schwab House Wiki

“Teach not thy lip such scorn, for it was made for kissing, lady, not for such contempt.” William Shakespeare

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Not . . . quite . . . sure I want to do this . . .

Not . . . quite . . . sure I want to do this . . .

The History of Mistletoe in Pictures

 Mistletoe is a Parasite and Other Fun Facts

Photo courtesy Library of Congress

Do You Believe in Generational Curses?

Charles Foster my great, great, great grandfather (yes, he was that great) led a drunken life after a childhood of chilling abuse. And here stands his house--a bit drunk looking itself. What a foundation for a family of storytellers.

Charles Foster my great, great, great grandfather (yes, he was that great) suffered a childhood of chilling abuse. And here stands his house. What a foundation for a family of storytellers.

This is our family home. The family that runs in my blood through my mother’s side of the tree. Curses and gifts intermingle, don’t they? When I looked upon this house I knew I was home. I could have stayed for hours listening to the spirits moving the tall grass. I could have stayed for days seeing out of the corner of my eye a young, strong Charles Foster building this house for his mother.

If I’m remembering right, the curse was liquor. Daniel Foster was  a cooper  (barrel- maker) who couldn’t support his family. By the time Charles was six (in 1815) he was sent  off to live and work for others, first a Mr. Clemens–the idea was that he’d be gone for good. Think of a six-year-old for a moment. Think of a six-year-old crying for his mother. At the time he had three older siblings and a little sister, Savannah.

Charles worked for a Mr. Clemens for just one summer. One frosty morning he was sent to a neighbor’s to borrow a flail (an instrument used for threshing grain by hand). The neighbor, seeing the barefoot little boy, told Charles to go inside the house by the fire while the neighbor put a new leather string on the flail before sending the boy back to Clemens:

“When he got back to Clemens he accused him of stopping to play but Charles said he didn’t.

“Clemens tied him to an apple tree by his thumbs, so he could just touch his toes to the ground and then cut whips from the tree and whipped him. Clemens went to digging potatoes nearby and each time he came by the tree, whipped him again. At last Charles, aged 6, told him ‘If you leave a breath of life in me and I live to grow up, you’ll pay for this. The flail string shows itself that it was newly cut.”

“Clemens let Charles down and that very night his parents sent for him to come home–for his little sister’s funeral. Once home Charles got sick and was sent to bed. When Clemens came to take him Charles told his mother, ‘If you love me you won’t let me go back.'”* (Sketch of the Life of Charles Foster, Ruth Kibbe)

Is there a gift here? Yes. One day you’ll meet Charles, because he’s mine. He’s me. He’s in my blood and he built my family. He was thrown off again and again, but he kept coming back. He made silly mistakes and enormous blunders, but despite the forlorn look of his once sturdy homestead on the hill, his blood courses the veins of the generations that have followed.

Every generation since then feels the pull of the orphaned and abused. He could have kept his story a shameful secret (and there’s lots more to tell), but he told it. He spoke of his love and shame and sadness, but also of the time he met with Clemens again in adulthood. God stepped in, he said, because if Clemens had not hidden away in a friend’s wagon, Charles may have killed him.

“There is no such thing, at this date of the world’s history, in America, as an independent press. You know it and I know it.” John Swinton 1880

The paper and some smokes. Library of Congress

The paper and some smokes. Library of Congress

“One night, probably in 1880, John Swinton, then the preeminent New York journalist, was the guest of honour at a banquet given him by the leaders of his craft. Someone who knew neither the press nor Swinton offered a toast to the independent press. Swinton outraged his colleagues by replying:

‘There is no such thing, at this date of the world’s history, in America, as an independent press. You know it and I know it.

‘There is not one of you who dares to write your honest opinions, and if you did, you know beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid weekly for keeping my honest opinion out of the paper I am connected with. Others of you are paid similar salaries for similar things, and any of you who would be so foolish as to write honest opinions would be out on the streets looking for another job. If I allowed my honest opinions to appear in one issue of my paper, before twenty four hours my occupation would be gone.

Newsboy in Camp 1863. Library of Congress

Newsboy in Camp 1863. Library of Congress

‘The business of the journalists is to destroy the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread. You know it and I know it, and what folly is this toasting an independent press?

‘We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes.”
(Source: Labor’s Untold Story, by Richard O. Boyer and Herbert M. Morais, published by United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America, NY, 1955/1979.)

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