I borrowed today’s column title from the first two words of one of my favorite songs warbled by Jerry Jeff Walker. I think it is entitled “Gettin’ By” … but not entirely for certain. Anyway, Jerry Jeff begins the song with “OK buckaroo.” Kinda gets me in the mood for dustin’ off the old cowboy hat and gettin’ them chaps out of cold storage. Heck, its bronc ridin’, calf ropin’ time again. Do I hear a hee haw out there? Yep … me and all things Texas go way, way back. OK, so I’m tellin’ a tall tale … just a tad. Actually, if the gosh honest truth be told, I moseyed down here in the middle of my senior year of high school. With a name like “Dixie,” I consider it divine intervention to have finally settled this far south of the Mason-Dixon Line. Actually, my Southern roots do go further back than just high school. Back when I was 4 or 5, a photographer led his wild and fluffy-maned Shetland pony, severely in need of some major hair conditioning, around our little suburban neighborhood. The dude was selling photographs to mothers of their kids decked out in Western wear atop his teeny trusty mount. My little sister, Mary, and I each had our cowpoke pictures made holding a cowboy hat high in our right hand. Yep, and did I mention that our legs were so short they didn’t reach the stirrups. From the grins on our faces I don’t think we cared. And the chaps … well they held the initials “RR” encircled by a rope lariat. Does Roy Rogers ring a ting-a-ling-ling? And as long as I’m tellin’ the truth … I was growing up in Gardena, Calif., at the time. Not exactly Texas … not even close. Now, my hubby, he has the distinction of being one of those official native-born Texans. Pretty much lived here all his life, except for several college years in Austin. But Rick will be the first to tell you that growin’ up with nine sisters and a little brother, his folks couldn’t afford to have his picture taken on a horse. Maybe a cheap Polaroid on a stick horse … but most certainly not on a “for real” Shetland pony. Like most true Texans, Rick does have his own “horse” story though. When Rick was but a young cowpoke, his Aunt Margie and Uncle Sidney owned a small ranch in Alvin complete with working horses. He fondly recalls a great big horse his uncle owned named Buck. On one occasion, Rick’s cousin, Pat, taught him how to saddle Buck. The way Rick tells it, he was either in the seventh or eighth grade and still a pretty scrawny kid when he was formally introduced to Buck. Rick went on to tell me how Pat taught him all about putting on the saddle blanket and all the other stuff that basically gets the saddle to stay on the horse. “I thought I had it cinched up pretty tight and was all ready to ride,” Rick said, all puffed up and quite proud of his accomplishment at the time. Then he mentioned again that the horse was very tall before he continued. “I figured the only way I was gonna get on that horse was to jump. I took a couple of steps back, sorta ran forward, and then jumped up with my left foot landing in the stirrup. Then I grabbed the saddle horn and swung my other leg over and pulled myself onto the saddle,” grinned Rick. “But then the saddle slowly started to roll over to one side. Yep, it was slowly going down and me with it. And since I was pulling on the reins, the horse was going in circles as I was still going down. Finally, I just fell off the horse. And that is how I learned NOT to cinch a saddle,” snickered Rick. It was Rick that took me to my first Houston Rodeo back in the early ‘70s shortly after I moved to Texas. It was actually one of our first dates. Actually, now that I think about it, my first rodeo was more like three dates since we saw all three performers that year on different nights. There was Johnny Cash and June Carter, B. J. Thomas of “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on Your Head” fame, and finally, Glen Campbell. Darn if I didn’t miss seeing Elvis perform by just one year. Yep, some of Jerry Jeff Walker’s songs pretty much personify rodeo … not to mention the precarious times we live in. My favorite line in the song goes “letting the high times carry the low.” Just like fallin’ off a horse … you gotta get right back on. Dixie Frantz is a Kingwood resident and newspaper columnist for the past 12 years. E-mail Dixie with your comments at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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