June 19, 2003
Oh Lordy, Folks! I think I have a problem here!
Well….you know how it's been rain, rain and more rain for a good while now?
All the way from lower Georgia to northern Ohio? All the flooding and high
water and people just having a terrible time of it? Well……..I think it's all
my fault! Yes, I do….I think all this rain is my fault from the word "go".
Wait just a minute now and don't laugh until you hear how it happened……and
the reason I know for sure that it was ME who caused all this rain!
One of my very dear friends (who probably WON'T be after she reads THIS!)
and her cousin were playing a little game one day on the internet…...banterin'
back and forth about songs about "Rain" or that had the word "rain" in it.
Over a few days…..she'd think of a song….then he'd think of a song and
then….she asked me if I'd like to join the contest……'cause that's what it
had become by then…and they were keeping score too! And I thought it was
kind of silly……but fun….so I cranked off a couple of "rain" songs to add to
the list….and then I thought of another one……and …..another one…..and before
I knew it ……I had about 20 songs that had the word "Rain" in them! I sent
them to my friend by E-mail…..and she laughingly called me the
"Rain-Guru"…….and Folks…That's when it started! Folks…..I swear to you……that
night it started to Thunder!!!
And it rained and it RAINED! But of course, who would think there was
anything strange about that…..it always rains in the summer-time! Anyway…..I
was having so much fun….trying to think of songs about "Rain" ….and every
day I would remember another 3 or 4 "rain songs" and send them in….and then
we began to get into POEMS about "rain"! And I'm tellin' you…..THAT'S when
it began to POUR!!
"Rain, rain go away, come again some other day"!
"Rain , rain go to Spain, Never show your face again!"
"Rain, rain, pour down, But not a drop on our town"!
"Rain on the green grass and rain on the tree, And Rain on the Housetop but
not on me!"
And that's just a "drop in the bucket"…….oh dear……there I go again! Just
can't seem to stop thinkin' about "rain"…..and as long as I'm thinkin' about
rain…..it just keeps on RAINING! What in the world am I going to do???
I know….I know….I KNOW JUST EXACTLY WHAT TO DO……..I'll think about sunshine
til the sun shines ( I do believe I see a ray or two already!)…. dry mud
puddles….and high blue skies….and big fluffy WHITE clouds…..but
Lord…..whatever you do….please
PLEASE don't let me think about Earthquakes!!!!
June 2, 2003
(Guess I ought to start sayin' "Howdy" now, instead of "Hello" since we're a
real ranch and all!!)
Okay!! Howdy Folks…….
Ya'll are getting' lucky! Two newsletters in as many days! Oh well….this
one's not a new one……in fact, it was the first account of one of my
"adventures" that I ever wrote about! And I sent it out to a few people.
Actually, it happened a couple of months ago, and I guess it was what gave
me the idea of our "Wildwood Ranch News" that's on the site now - Anyway,
everybody's been askin' why it wasn't published in the "News" so I had to
try to look it up on an old e-message. I hadn't even saved it for my files!!
But, now that I've finally found it, guess it'll just have to get
"published" too! So HERE IT IS -
"The Tale of the Spinnin' Work Station" !!!
Well Folks - You're not going to believe this, but I've got to share it with
Today I took my mom back to the doctor for her follow-up exam after her
release from the hospital last Sunday. (She had a heart catharization or
angioplasty done last Friday). And after the doctor was finished she wanted
something to eat and a new book to read - so we just made the "rounds". I
had a couple of stops to make as well, one of which was the Office Depot for
some scotch tape.
Well, I pulled my little old Ford Ranger into the Fire Lane right in front
of the door to Office Depot - I left the motor running - was only going to
be just a minute - but noticed 6 or 8 large one-piece, L-shaped work station
right there in front of the store with a sign that said "Used display
station for sale - $50." And I though "Wow!! This is exactly what I need for
MY work area at home! I can put all the computer stuff, the stereo stuff and
all the recording stuff all on the same station and it will be Oh so easy to
So I hurried inside and paid the man the $50, and asked if they'd load it
for me. Between 3 "husky" men AND myself - WE loaded that thing into the bed
of my truck! Couldn't put up the tailgate though because of the bolted-on
toolbox behind the cab! Now I've been tellin' Johnny for the past two years
(that's how long I've had the blasted truck) that I wanted that thing OFF! I
didn't LIKE it……didn't WANT it…..didn't USE it…….couldn't get INTO it
anyway……..so TAKE IT OFF!!! Well, it was still on the truck today, so the
tailgate stayed down!! The unit was so danged heavy though, that none of us
(including those "knowledgeable" employees of Office Depot!) thought it
would be going ANYWHERE!!!
Well!! I drove real slow all the way through town and about the time I got
on Wildwood Road and only about 5 miles from the house …..it began to
rain….and rain….and rain! We were going up this very slight grade when I
heard a horrible noise and looked in the rear view mirror - Just in time to
see that blasted work station slide right off the bed of my truck - hit the
pavement - and start spinning round and round on the wet asphalt right
toward the car that was directly behind me!!! Now, not only did that thing
stay right behind me in my lane…..and not veer into the on-coming lane….But
it kept spinning round and round and pickin' up speed ……headin' BACK the way
we had just come!!!!
Both cars behind me "evaded" the spinning work station very nicely - and
they both have GREAT horns!!! I ignored them completely as they passed
me……and although I refused to look "directly" at them…..out of the "corner"
of my eye, seems like I saw clinched fists waving in the air!!! Who knows,
maybe they were celebrating the fact that they WOULDN'T have to file a claim
on my insurance to take my house…..my property……my royalties…..my
husband…..and my daughter……and anything OVER $600 that I ever would make in
At any rate, I finally "manhandled" that thing off to the side of the road,
nearly in the ditch…..and you know something? Not only was it still in one
piece….there simply was not a scratch on it!!! I could not believe it!! I
just stood there in the rain trying to figure out what to do, when Mom came
trottin' down the road toward me, wavin' her pocketbook in the air! "Mom!
Get back in the truck!!" No good!! She yelled "I just flagged down your
cousin Wayne Allen! He's backing up!! SEE!!" And sure enough, Wayne stopped
to help, and somehow, he and I got that thing back into the truck…….nearly
killed us both!!! But I got it home and waited for Johnny to get a few of
his buddies to help get it in the house.
But then…..Janet came home from work - and Folks!!! It was AWFUL!! She and
Pam dug in, and took my dining room apart!! Took the middle leafs out of my
table…..can only seat 4 now! The old computer station, my desk, the shelves,
the stereo stand….EVERYTHING was moved out to make room for the new unit!
Then she said…. "Back your truck up to the door!" OK, now remember folks, I
had already lifted that thing twice in the previous 2 hours and my back was
really hurting….but there was nothing I could do! Those 2 gals were bound
and determined to get that thing into my house and set it up…….TODAY!! AND
THEY DID!!! (And we're all three ……half DEAD!!)
Mom has told everyone in the community about our "escapade"…..and has
laughed until she's sick (along with everyone else!) Maybe this should have
happened before the angioplasty…..and maybe we could have saved Medicare a
bundle!!! She just giggles every time I look at her…..I think Wayne is on
his way to the Emergency Room……and I probably will stop by Peninsula Mental
Health Facility on my way to the Orthopedic doctor in the morning!!
But See Folks! My Luck is Holding! What if I hadn't needed to pick up some
scotch tape? None of this would have happened……and I would have never had
such a great adventure! As Jon Scott said…. "Donna, this stuff only happens
in a Laurel and Hardy movie!" Not so, Jon! Just stay a while in Wildwood!
Lots of things happen HERE that don't happen ANYWHERE else in the World!!!
Well…..you folks take care. And don't go ANYWHERE with your tailgate
open……or……without a good length of ROPE!
(now right here, I usually type: -for- "Sisters of the Silver Sage"…..
but the girls said I'm on my own on THIS one!!)
June 1, 2003
Hello again, Folks,
Welcome to The Wildwood Ranch! Just thought I'd let all you good folks know
that we are now a working Cat-tle Ranch! And I'm afraid it may just be more
"work-in it" than we thought! We're runnin' about 28 head now, to my way of
countin', and I'm here to tell you folks, it is sure enough is keepin' us
busy (when we're not on stage, of course!) The feedin' alone is costin' us a
fortune!! But that's the way of it when you're running a cat-tle ranch!
The "Head Honcho" of this here bunch of critters is one mean dude we call "Luverly",
because he's anything BUT loverly! He's Big - He's Mean - He's dangerous -
and he is indeed the "King"! Every "lass" within his eyesight is downright
enamored of His Majesty! And all these pretty ladies have proved it
repeatedly this Spring by having little Princes and Princesses who look just
like him! White with black and gray markings.
Now Luverly runs his domain with an iron will, and any young whippersnapper
who dares to trespass on his territory is in for a terrible surprise!
Luverly does not tolerate invasions or excursions into HIS realm. Not only
does he START the battle….He also FINISHES it! The most horrible sounds
echoing across the land! Roars of challenge…….screams of rage…….and finally
whimpers of defeat and submission! I'm telling you, it'll set you right
straight up in the bed in the middle of the night when one of those battles
commence!! It's almost as bad as one of the "Romances"! Sometimes I even
have to go out the back door and shoot a load of buckshot straight up into
the air to get 'em to hush up and let me get back to sleep! Not that it
really does any good. Seems like the only one who can handle Luverly is Miss
Lilly Langtree! She's our best cat-tle dog!
Miss Lilly is sure a go-getter! She doesn't have any idea that she's a lot
smaller than Luverly - and Luverly doesn't have a clue either! He'll just
stand there lookin' at her, with his head lowered and ready for battle! You
can almost see the electricity in the air between them! Miss Lilly circles
Luverly cautiously at first, getting' closer with every turn - then snarlin'
and snappin', Miss Lilly lets loose and you ain't NEVER seen nothin' run
like Luverly runs then! Nope! Luverly don't like Miss Lilly AT ALL! And Miss
Lilly does seem to pick on Luverly - sort of. She don't chase the "ladies"
much - maybe because they ignore her totally, unless of course, she gets too
close to one of their little ones! Then they stand their ground and dare
Miss Lilly to get within strikin' distance! But Miss Lilly knows her
limitations and doesn't get too close! It's just poor Luverly that receives
the brunt of her malice! She just don't like him one little bit!
Now I guess ya'll might be wonderin' why in the world we decided to become a
workin' cat-tle ranch, with a cat-tle dog and 28 critters to take care of?
Well actually, we didn't have much of a choice! They just came here and well
- we just couldn't let 'em go hungry! And they're so wild that we can't
catch 'em to tame 'em - and actually Luverly, although he's the meanest, is
also the most tame. At least he'll come up to us and let us pet him. He'll
rub up against us and want some more pettin'! Loves to have his ears
scratched! He just purrs up a storm when we do that! And then he'll just
wrap himself around your ankles and ask for more!
What was that? How can a bull do that? A bull? A Bull!! You don't think I'd
get that close to a BULL do you? I'm not CRAZY! Luverly? No - He's not a
bull - He's a CAT! Yes a CAT!! A cattle ranch? Wherever in the world did you
get that idea? No - I didn't say "Cattle Ranch"……I said "Cat-tel Ranch"! You
know - Cats! Stray cats! They came here from everywhere 'cause they know
they'll get fed here! Miss Lilly Langtree? She's a toy Chihuahua who
torments Luverly daily! Our Cat-tle dog! Tall Tales? Me???? Of all things -
I can't believe you'd think such a thing!! Huhpf! If we weren't such good
friends, I do believe I could get a bit miffed over that remark!
Good Day to You!
Donna (the Cat-tle Rancher)
May 26, 2003
Good Mornin' to all of you! I'm tellin' you it has been one more busy
weekend! Saturday mornin' bright and early, we headed down to middle
Tennessee to the sleepy little townlet of Bell Buckle to participate in a
Tribute to Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. I'll tell you all about that in just a
minute, but first let me introduce you to Bell Buckle.
Now first of all, this is a very old community! The huge Victorian homes
with rocking chair-laden verandas line the sidewalks, like a picture out of
Saturday Evening Post and Norman Rockwell! Time is slow there. Old men sit
on a bench in front of the café on the "mall" (five stores on one side of
the main street!). Genteel ladies fan themselves as they visit with the lady
on the neighboring porch. Two or three little boys chase each other down the
street and through the yards. Their laughter wafts gently on the soft
breeze. The steady tap, tap, tap of a hammer indicates that someone is
taking advantage of the beautiful day to make some repairs. It's not a
frantic tap-tappin' so the repairs are not heavy-duty ones! On the soft air,
you can just catch the scent of someone's late lunch! Mm-m-m-m-m!
And right into the middle of all this lovely serenity, enters... "Sisters of
the Silver Sage"! And that's when Bell Buckle becomes ENERGETIC!!!
When we pulled up behind the Bell Buckle Café, we were greeted by our friend
Rick "MavRic" Hines of I.S.O.P. a great Sons of the Pioneer-type trio! He
and his two compadres, Smitty the Kid and Billy Bob Shane have some of the
closest harmony I have ever heard. I just can't tell if I like their SOP
sound better than their "Marty Robbins" sound! I'm tellin' you, it's amazin'!
Then Fred Goodwin, the gentleman who was puttin' on this affair came out to
give us all a big hug and welcome! He introduced us to a whole lot of folks
(I think I got all their cards, but I'll be blasted if I can remember all
their names!) and gave us the "line-up" and when we were to perform. Until
2pm we were on our own and we sure did need a place to change into our
costumes, sooooooo we decided to give Casey Jones and his wife Lois a call.
Casey and Lois have been family friends for years and years. In fact, Casey
grew up with Daddy and was his best childhood friend! They invited us to use
their home as a temporary "dressing room", and Casey even drove down to meet
us and lead us to their house! We really enjoyed visiting with them but
before we knew it, 2:00pm was upon us and we hurried back down to the Bell
Now let me tell you a bit about the Bell Buckle Café! The little restaurant
is famous throughout the land (and not just this North American Land,
either….Europe is well aware of the exquisite cuisine presented at this
establishment!) Their menu is delightful! The Fried Biscuits with Apple
Butter are excellent (the real word is: HEAVEN). And have you ever had a
pork chop that tasted like steak? I'm here to tell you, the best I've ever
had! The décor is "tastefully" (a little play on words there!) rustic, with
a hodge-podge of musical instruments on the walls, interspersed with
photographs of all the celebrities that have played on their stage. And
folks, let me tell you! Anyone who IS ANYONE has played at the Bell Buckle
Café! The radio broadcast was from 1:00pm until 3:00pm and featured Roy
Rogers' oldest daughter, Cheryl! We were delighted and honored to meet her
again. She actually remembered us from the Western Music Association
Festival in Las Vegas last November! I.S.O.P. did a full set (pure melodic
ecstasy!) and we did a couple of our original songs. Fred wanted us to save
our full set for the evening performance at 6:00pm. So then, we were on our
own again until the 6:00pm show! (That's when we discovered the menu!)
But that's also the time that we could talk to some of our friends that had
come down to hear us perform. Ron Kirby, (the Rembrandt of the Grand Piano!)
our dear talented friend from our childhood years, who now lives near
Lebanon, drove down to visit with us. We hardly get to see him more than
once or twice a year! I still treasure our "jams" on the piano and organ in
the church sanctuary! And some other dear friends, Woody and Carla Woodruff
from the Centerville area also drove down to meet us. Woody is a Cowboy Poet
Extraordinaire and is in the process of recording a collection of some of
his original material. I just can't wait to get a copy of the final product!
Boy! Did the time fly! Between the "picture-taking" sessions on the patio,
the wonderful conversations with our friends and the even MORE wonderful
jammin' out back with MavRic and I.S.O.P. we were on the proverbial "Cloud
Nine"! And THEN………. It was time for OUR show! Even though we were not quite
up to par vocally (Rhonda was sick with the "bug" that I was recuperatin'
from and that Janet was just comin' down with!) we gave them a great 45
minute performance! And I think WE enjoyed it TWICE as much as the audience
did! At any rate, I think, judging by the width of the smiles on all the
faces, that every person there had a wonderful time! But all too soon, it
was time to head back to East Tennessee and the Wildwood Ranch! We did stop
back by Casey and Lois' for a while to jam with his grandson, Jason, who is
one heck-of-a-fiddler! Seems that Daddy taught the young man how to play the
fiddle when he was just a kid, and all of us girls could recognize the
pattern of some of the "runs" that Jason played. Yep! Definitely a "Smoky
Well, we finally made it to I-40 East and on in to Maryville, arriving at
the ranch about 2:30 am, feet draggin' and eyes droopin', but with hearts
just spillin' over with joy and a whole lot of memories of a wonderful
community from another time, a restaurant that satisfies the "hunger of the
soul" and friendships that will never fade!
"Good Night, Folks!"
Donna, Rhonda and Janet
May 20, 2003
Me oh My...just scrolled back and read my first entry about our trip to
Nashville...and realized that I spelled some names wrong! And I even left a
couple of names off...Whatever is getting’ wrong with me...must be the
coffee! Better go back to my old brand!
Well anyway...please let this serve as a retraction...apology...correction...or
whatever they call it in the journalistic world...Andy Reiss is
correct Sorry Andy and Ginny...I really did know your last name
didn’t have a "k" in it! Miss Ginny Mac! And there were a couple of
nice fellers that I forgot to even mention...Jeff Taylor on the
accordion...and Barry Bales fillin’ in on the bass...He’s usually to
be seen with Alison Krauss and Union Station...and was filling in for Dennis
Couch that night. Didn’t miss a lick either!! Then on the drums there was
There! Now I think I’ve got it all right! If I don’t...I’m sure one of you
"critics" out there will be sure to let me know right away!!
See you folks later...and hope you have...Many Happy Trails!
May 19, 2003
All of us want to thank ALL OF YOU...for the wonderful prayers and positive
thoughts that you have sent our way regarding our Alyce. She is in very high
spirits...doesn't even look sick! She has begun the radiation and
chemotherapy treatments the doctors say are so very effective with her type
of cancer...and I do believe with the power of all our continuing prayers,
we can help her beat this terrible disease!
Again...thank you so much!
May 1, 2003
Everybody's been askin' for News about what's goin' on with the "Sisters of
the Silver Sage"...especially since we're not at Deadbeat Pete's
anymore...so we got together with our "Miracle-Makin' Webmaster"...Lee
Wilkinson...and decided to add a little place on the site so that anyone
who's interested can just wander around the "Wildwood Ranch" and "keep an
eye" on us Sisters and all our Shenanigans!
Sooooo...for our very first entry in the Wildwood Ranch Newsletter...I'll
tell you about our trip to Nashville early this week! Actually we went down
to Nashville especially to hear Hoot Hester and his great Western Swing
Band, The Timejumpers. They're right there at The Station Inn on 12th
Avenue...every Monday night...so if you're ever in Nashville on a
Monday...be sure to catch their performance! You'll not regret it...and if
you can't make it to see them in person...drop by their website at:
Well, back to my story...We were down there with Miss Devon Dawson of the
Texas Trailhands, her husband Chuck and Miss Ginny Mack. They'd never seen
The Timejumpers in action...but did they get a show? You bet! The
Timejumpers were HOT! In fact...I don't think they could have made a mistake
if they'd WANTED to! Hoot and Kenny Sears on their fiddles were
incredible...Carolyn Martin's rich vocals were on the mark...and of course
Johnny Cox and Andy Reese were their usual awesome selves...All the other
guys were great too! And the newest Timejumper...Ranger Doug Green, of the
Riders in the Sky was there too...His "Along the Navajo Trail" just can't be
There were lots of other nice people we ran into there as well...Joe Spivey,
who played on OUR album, was there with his wife Darlene, and his
father...He got up on stage and played the fiddle tune, Maiden's Prayer,
with Kenny Sears... Beautiful!! Then Fred Goodwin and Gene Davenport came in
to hear the music...and Rick "MavRic" Hines of I.S.O.P. (a great western
trio) was there too....Everybody just had a great toe-tappin' time!
Hoot invited Miss Devon and Ginny Mack to do a couple of numbers each on
stage...and they are definitely a "dynamic duo"...each a perfect "foil" for
the other...great entertainers, both! Then Hoot called us up on the
stage...we did one of my brand new swing songs... "Blue Side of Texas"...we
got a wonderful response from the audience, and Hoot and The Jumpers really
took off on the song and ran with it...sounded real good!
Sure do wish we could have stayed down there longer...and enjoyed more of
that great western swing...but had to come on back to the ranch...lots of
things to do here at the bunkhouse! We'll go back another day ...and when we
do...we'll tell you folks all about it...right here on this page! So check
in often...Knowin' the "Sisters" there'll always be something interesting
goin' on...and we'll have all kinds of good news here a-waitin' for the next
time you mosey on down! God Bless...and hope you have...
Many Happy Trails...
"Sisters of the Silver Sage"
April 25, 2003
Eddie O'Strange writes from Town & Country Radio in New Zealand
"It's close to being a perfect album. It's comfortable, original,
familiar, relaxed, attention-grabbing, all at the same time! The calculated
range of song-styles could have ended up a mix of pastiche and cliché but
they're too lovingly and knowledgably written to fall into that trap. And
the magic created by family members singing together just can't be
manufactured! I was hooked from "go to whoa". These are troubled times but I
get this silly grin on my dial every time I play it......and I play it