The Secret Life Of My Mother After Her Cowgirl Daughters Left The Nest
By Delores Goodrick Beggs
As a family we had always been into horses with my Dad, my mother reigning over the house and trying hard to coax my sister and me into regular fashions instead of boots and jeans. She always dressed in skirts and blouses or housedresses herself, never in slacks. She never stepped outdoors near the stable area and horses.
Some years after my sister and I had left home and my parents had changed locations, I returned for a visit. When I walked into their new place the first thing I saw was a very large poster of John Wayne hung prominently on the living room wall.
"The poster?" I turned wide eyes upon my father standing behind me.
"That's your Mom's," he grinned and nodded. Then he proceeded to show me more of my mother's John Wayne collection, small items arranged upon a dresser top. She'd kept her collection hidden while we were growing up, knowing my younger sister and I were Roy Rogers and Gene Autry fans.
John Wayne was sometimes known as "Duke," a nickname that stuck with him from his boyhood when he had a dog named "Little Duke" and he was called "Big Duke," according to the official John Wayne website. He attended USC, the University of Southern California, in the fall of 1925 on a football scholarship. Two years later an injury lost him his scholarship, and college, and he turned to the film industry, working as an extra and a prop man.
Marion Robert Morrison, Marion Michael Morrison, and Marion Mitchell Morrison, as his name changed at different times, finally came together as one name, John Wayne, going forth with his first leading film role.
John Wayne was not an overnight sensation. Throughout his movie career he had some great successes and also some failures. His first leading film role was The Big Trail in 1930, a box office failure. Almost ten years later, after appearing in a number of B westerns, his popularity rose with the release of Stagecoach in 1939, and then another ten years, another leap, with Red River in 1948, after which he continued to work, his popularity growing steadily, and received his first Academy Award in 1969 for Best Actor in the Western film True Grit, based upon a 1968 novel by Charles Portis. John Wayne, born 26 May 1907, defeated lung cancer once in 1964, then died 11 June 1979 from stomach cancer. In his many films, John Wayne left an image of good men Americans can identify with.
Another surprise awaited me on that visit home. One of the photos my mother showed me in her album was a revelation. She stood outdoors at the barnyard fence in her open toed sandals feeding green grass she'd pulled from our front yard to Snowball, the mare I grew up riding. She had never once gone to the barnyard to see the horses close up in all my growing years. I looked askance at my mother.
"Snowball was lonely, she stood at the fence looking for you all," my mother smiled warmly. "So I got in the habit of keeping company with her."
I nodded, not in the least surprised my mother had, after all, discovered for herself what a good friend a horse can be.~~*~~
Laurel Smith senses the cowboy she's met by accident is more of a tenderfoot than she had been when she came to her brother's Wells Double Bar ranch. She's intrigued when she notices he has qualities different from the other cowboys on the ranch. No other cowboy works as hard as Tredway Lorent does. No "lick and a promise" jobs for Lorent. From mucking stalls to breaking broncos, each task he is assigned is finished as a painstakingly complete job.
Cocooned safe in her little cabin on her brother's ranch, or riding her red-gold filly Carolina to her favorite secluded shady spot in company with Tredway Lorent, Laurel sketches the likeness of her tenderfoot cowboy and their New Mexico surrounds until he rides away in the darkness of night after teaching her how to dance in moonlight.
Her tenderfoot cowboy lassoed her heart. Now, will Tredway Lorent return?~~*~~
She focused her attention on the tall man confronting her. Her artist's soul took note he didn't appear to be either a range cowboy or a vagabond. To begin with, his steady gaze met her curious one. The long planes of his pale face were just beginning to darken with afternoon beard growth. His curly brown hair crimped close about his head beneath his hat. He wore a crisp, white shirt, which hadn't yet gone limp in the desert heat. His jeans showed no dust spots, and his boots were shined except for a ring of dust around the soles from walking on the sandy ground.
He cut an intriguing figure, standing at ease, tall and spare-framed, unlike any cowboy she knew, and yet she could see he wasn't a dandy. She classified him as one of a kind, and an immediate attraction to him tugged at her senses.
"Should I be dancing on my horse the way you did?" A frown creased his brow, deepening as he studied her in turn.
She heard no hint of teasing in his warm baritone. The idea of him waving his hat and bouncing about on his horse the way she'd just done brought home to her how amusing she must have looked. More, in afterthought, she knew she'd been lucky Carolina hadn't danced along with her, or even worse, been frightened and run away with her. She hadn't thought. She'd reacted. She drew in a deep breath of relief Carolina hadn't responded to her impulsive riding behavior. She reached down to stroke the red-gold filly's long neck. "Good girl."
She looked up again at the waiting man and dampened her dry lips with her tongue.
"What you saw, um, I call my horse fly dance." She spoke with as much quiet dignity as she could muster. Not too much dignity. Laughter at herself bubbled on her lips.
~~*~~About Delores Goodrick Beggs
Delores Goodrick Beggs is a prolific award-winning author in fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, having started in high school when she would often awaken with a dream demanding to be captured on paper.
She turned her notes into her first stories, often writing during short-lived Kansas thunderstorms that barely thinned the sweltering heat of Pony Ring Ranch where her father raised horses and ponies. She wrote her first collection of fiction on a mountaintop in California while watching her part-Appaloosa mare assert mischievous independence in the exercise corral.
Stop by and visit her web site at http://www.goodrickbeggs.wordpress.comFind Delores's Place in the Heart books:
Place in the Heart Book Three: Perfect Tenderfoot, by Delores Goodrick Beggs is
Now available at Amazon.com, http://goo.gl/qJxUC, publisher Desert Breeze Publishing,
and most other e-book venues
Place in the Heart Book Two: Substitute Lover
Photo of John Wayne-Wikimedia Commons