Tag Archives: Red Myrick

Picasso Had His Moods, but Red Had His Moves (Revisited)


I made an ironclad discovery recently while viewing Picasso and the Age of Iron at the Modern Art Museum.

Walking among the wire, bronze, sheet metal and iron exhibits such as Picasso’s Head of a Man and Gonzalez’s Woman with a Mirror, a steely thought gripped me. My gosh, I exclaimed to my most attentive audience—me. I, too, have lived with greatness—rubbed elbows with it—and did I really appreciate it? Did the world? No…a thousand times no!

 With the sharp pangs of dread twisting in my chest, I continued my tromp through the abstract jungle celebrating metal and wire and citified artists turned loose with welding tools.

Cupping my hand over my face and leaving only a little slit for viewing with one eye – that’s all I could tolerate at the moment – I absorbed the metal blobbies around me. My one eye, now becoming rather jaundiced and swollen with overwork, took in Alexander Calder’s Yellow Disk with ironic observation. Contemporaries of Calder (1898 – 1976) should have told Calder that his “yellow disk” in the center of his creation was not yellow at all, but a bright tangerine color instead.

My common sense told me that Calder’s associates had to be direct descendants of those dudes from way back who wouldn’t tell the emperor his clothes were constructed of nudity.

On and on I wound throughout the museum’s alcoves taking in everything from Alberto Giacometti’s Walking Man II, to David Smith’s Voltri VII.

Giacometti’s creations caused me to mentally list why I should weigh 100 pounds less than I do, and Smith’s creativity eluded me, even when I swiveled my head around ala The Exorcist. 

Through it all, disturbing voices were messing with the “back 40” of my mind…voices that stirred memories of my departed stepfather, Red Myrick, and his own brand of art.

“Ah, greatness is seldom appreciated in this thorny life, Red,” the ghosts whispered.

Reaching out a clammy finger to trace the atrociously bubbled seams of a sculpture, I was instantly surrounded by a museum Gestapo troop who chastised me and reminded me to remain a pristine six to twelve inches away from the art, even the sculpture stands.

In fact, one uniformed person glowered at me: Don’t even breathe in the direction of these priceless pieces of art, you peasant!

Of course, to be fair, I must mention that this message came telepathically from him to me as he glared at me and I stared back at the single line of thick black hair traversing his forehead where two eyebrows usually live.

Hmm, I thought to myself. He certainly looks artful.

At this point, I submitted to the waves of nostalgia that had been threatening to surface.

My thoughts turned back to another place and time – to my long-ago gentleman cowboy Pop…Red.

It’s hard to describe him, really. He could do amazing things. Things like…looking you over carefully, then cutting out a western shirt pattern from newspaper and sewing up a perfectly fitting shirt for you. Some oldies but goodies may remember a shirt label of times past, Red Myrick of Arizona. Before that, he had a saddle shop in Santa Fe, New Mexico (see 4th paragraph of link).

One time, Red ran for senator of New Mexico. Instead of fence straddling politics, Red campaigned at charity benefits and boys ranches like Cal Farley’s Boys’ Ranch, trick roping and riding atop a galloping horse. He didn’t win the election, but he won plenty of hearts.

In 1965, he and his talented white Arabian horse, Cutter Jim (also known as Jameel Rizpah), won the International Arabian Cutting Horse championship, a world title.

When Red was a strapping young man, Tom Mix tried to persuade him to go to Hollywood to become a motion-picture cowboy. He checked it out. Too frivolous for him. He wanted to carve out his life from the work of his hands…and his heart. After all, he ran away from home and joined a cattle drive when he was five years old. At the end of the day, his dad showed up and took him home. He never understood why.

But what’s the connection?

Why were Picasso and Red arm-wrestling in my mind?

Because Red had another little hobby – welding and metal working.

For fun one time, Red welded (seamlessly, I might add) an Airstream-style trailer he designed that carried hunting dogs and trained mules (Red trained them) and boasted separate sleeping and eating quarters for the hunters. The first one! Now those rigs are commercially manufactured. He gave away more patents than was reasonable, but he did file and hold some of them. Another time, he bought several Army vehicles dubbed “mules” and converted them into hunting/fishing vehicles for his friends.

Humble. Workaholic. Genius. That was Red. If he got bored, he made cabana chairs out of horseshoes. Beautiful work. Perfect metal seams. Or he hand tooled elegant saddles and travel satchels in elegant rich design. I still have one of those travel satchels. Looks like a fancy, tooled leather duffle with a sturdy bottom and latch. Gorgeous. All part of Red’s repertoire!

There seemed to be no end to his ideas and designs—and no end to his talent to create those designs from a few scratched out drawings on a piece of paper and the tools and/or materials at hand.

No one wrote endlessly about Red and his creativity.

No journals, leaflets, or volumes describe his form or elusiveness or how his “interior surfaces justapositionally complimented his exterior planes.” I know if he had been with me at the museum that day, his eyes wouldn’t have missed one globby seam or messy assembled image from dissimilar parts.

I can almost hear that strange, unique laugh coming from behind his Hollywood smile. His eyes twinkling, he would have given me a look borne of the practical cloth he was cut from and said,

“Oh, *heck* Jodi, let’s go get a Coke!”

        

I miss you, Red . . .

   

Happy Father’s Day, y’all! 

Arrow

Mesa Historical Museum in Lehi, Arizona, displays the fruits of Red’s life.

 

Arrow

Feel free to wander around my website. It's guaranteed non-toxic.

If you like Sassy, Danger and Mystery, you'll love my any-age novels. Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT and Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: CANYON OF DOOM are available at your nearest Barnes & Noble Bookseller, on this website, Amazon, B&N.com and more. For your convenience, it’s also available on Kindlethe Nook and most other eBook readers.

Book Three of the Silki trilogy, VALLEY OF SHADOWS, launches fall 2016. Here's a quick synopsis:

Bummed that yet another summer has passed all too quickly, Silki and her best friend Birdie head out for one last hurrah at the Navajo Nation Fair. When the fun is overshadowed by the theft of a famous horse, Silki is plunged into a baffling adventure teeming with international undercurrents and intrigue. What’s more, boy-crazy Birdie is fluttering her eyelashes at Silki’s good-looking, visiting cousin at every turn, and Rez legend Old Man Concho is coughing up secrets dating back to 1942. What possible connection could he have to the Japanese tourists, and will Silki discover an ancient truth about the Valley of Shadows in time to save Lava, the leader of the Ghost Herd, as well as salvage her own broken heart?

Meet my CANYON OF DOOM AND VALLEY OF SHADOWS illustrator, the Drawing Hands.

Jodi Lea Stewart was born in Texas and grew up in Apache County on a cattle ranch near Concho, Arizona. She left the University of Arizona in Tucson to move to San Francisco, where she learned about peace, love and exactly what she didn't want to do with her life. Since then, Jodi graduated summa cum laude with a BS in Business Management, raised two children, worked as an electro-mechanical drafter, penned humor columns for a college periodical, wrote regional western articles and served as managing editor of a Fortune company newsletter. She currently resides in Texas and New Mexico with her husband, two Standard poodles, two rescue cats and numerous gigantic, bossy houseplants. SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT is Jodi's debut novel and Book One of the Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves trilogy. CANYON OF DOOM came next, and VALLEY OF SHADOWS hits the shelves summer of 2016, completing this exciting and fun adventure-mystery set in the Navajo Nation. Next on the horizon? A historical mystery novel set in the 1930s told through the eyes of a sharecropper's daughter.

Mules Don’t Drool


 

Surefooted, dilligent mules make the trip into the Grand Canyon possible.

Surefooted, diligent mules make the trip into the Grand Canyon possible.

Do Mules Rule?

Of Course! They were “the bomb” before tractors were invented. Especially for farmers who couldn’t afford farm equipment. Imagine trying to transform acres of rocky, tree-infested soil into bountiful crops without mules and their relatives.

Mules STILL RULE for many farmers of today. Especially with the Amish who, shunning contemporary machinery, depend on thousands of mules for plowing their fields.

Mules are the offspring of a female horse and a male donkey. Inheriting the endurance of their donkey fathers, they are generally considered stronger than horses. They are faithful, hard-working animals asking only for food and water for survival.

John Wice, mule expert and rescuer, says mules are easy keepers. “They tend to be more sure- footed than horses, aren’t picky eaters, and are often good watch dogs over their own territory. They have a definite dislike for coyotes – they’ll run them off,” he says.

Wikipedia says mules are the animals of choice in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, where at least sixteen commercial mule pack stations continue to operate.

When the going gets tough (steep, narrow trails),

precarious (carrying tourists in and out of the Grand Canyon),

or danged near impossible (accessing/supplying mountain base camps). . .

people need mules!

Are Mules Merely Beasts of Burden?

This may surprise you, but equine trainer and competitor Audrey Goldsmith and her eight-year-old mule, Porter, enter English Dressage Classics all the time. As Porter racks up the ribbons, he and Goldsmith are changing opinions about mules everywhere they compete.

Goldsmith claims mules are extremely trainable and are as eager to please their owners as dogs. “They’re like rideable border collies,” she says. Further, they keep their heads better when they’re scared. Instead of running until they drop or their owner gets control, a mule will run a short distance and stop. He senses the danger is over, and he quits freaking out.

Sadly, mules are forbidden to compete in most hunter and jumper competitions. Chalk it up to old-fashioned paradigms and the fact that a few flighty horses really are terrified of mules.

Why do mules scare certain horses? Maybe it’s their longer ears flopping about like unattached carrots as they trot or run. Or perhaps some of the horses sense their owners’ sanctimonious attitude toward these so-called “lesser” equines.

The U.S. Dressage Federation is an exception to the rule. They allow mules to compete right along with the horses in Dressage.

Same rules. Same penalties. Same rewards. You know…fair and equal treatment.

But wait, there’s more…

Mules Barrel Racing

Besides gulping down Philly cheese steaks, hamburgers, onion blossoms, kettle corn or hot apple fritters at the annual Mule Mania event in Dayton, Washington, every July, you can watch mules in cattle events, barrel racing, English dressage, obstacle drives and even a Fast Ass Express Relay Race!

Washington isn’t the only state in love with these hybrids. California, Oregon, Montana, Wyoming, New Mexico, Colorado, Tennessee and many other states have their own Mule Days celebrations.

Mule Days started in 1840 in Columbia, Tennessee. In fact, Columbia claims to be “The Mule Capital” of the world. Their mule celebration is a four-day event attracting more than 200,000 people.

(l-r) Vivian Myrick, Red Myrick

My late step-dad, Red Myrick, a distinguished equestrian, trained two miniature mules for bird- hunting trips. Those little sure-footed cuties walked behind him and my mom in the field as quiet and humble as could be. When my parents stopped, the mules stopped, too. When they started walking, their mules did too.

Red sure liked his mules, except for the time he had a couple white ones hitched to a small work cart and they took off running. One took the right side of an oak tree, and the other chose the left side. Using the control of a fighter pilot on a war mission, Mom suppressed her laughter until she was sure 1) Red was alive and didn’t need paramedics, and 2) she was safely locked away in her own bathroom. Then she let the snickers rip.

To this day, she can’t tell that story without hee-hawing!

I’ll be sharing more mule facts and stories in future blogs. It’s my small way of extolling the virtues of these fine, worthy animals.

I think they deserve it.

I love to hear from you.

Just for fun . . .

Miss Kitty, we found unauthorized media in your saloon!

Miss Kitty, we found unauthorized media in your saloon!

 

 

Arrow

Feel free to wander around my website. It's guaranteed non-toxic.

If you like Sassy, Danger and Mystery, you'll love my any-age novels. Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT and Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: CANYON OF DOOM are available at your nearest Barnes & Noble Bookseller, on this website, Amazon, B&N.com and more. For your convenience, it’s also available on Kindlethe Nook and most other eBook readers.

Book Three of the Silki trilogy, VALLEY OF SHADOWS, launches fall 2016. Here's a quick synopsis:

Bummed that yet another summer has passed all too quickly, Silki and her best friend Birdie head out for one last hurrah at the Navajo Nation Fair. When the fun is overshadowed by the theft of a famous horse, Silki is plunged into a baffling adventure teeming with international undercurrents and intrigue. What’s more, boy-crazy Birdie is fluttering her eyelashes at Silki’s good-looking, visiting cousin at every turn, and Rez legend Old Man Concho is coughing up secrets dating back to 1942. What possible connection could he have to the Japanese tourists, and will Silki discover an ancient truth about the Valley of Shadows in time to save Lava, the leader of the Ghost Herd, as well as salvage her own broken heart?

Meet my CANYON OF DOOM AND VALLEY OF SHADOWS illustrator, the Drawing Hands.

Jodi Lea Stewart was born in Texas and grew up in Apache County on a cattle ranch near Concho, Arizona. She left the University of Arizona in Tucson to move to San Francisco, where she learned about peace, love and exactly what she didn't want to do with her life. Since then, Jodi graduated summa cum laude with a BS in Business Management, raised two children, worked as an electro-mechanical drafter, penned humor columns for a college periodical, wrote regional western articles and served as managing editor of a Fortune company newsletter. She currently resides in Texas and New Mexico with her husband, two Standard poodles, two rescue cats and numerous gigantic, bossy houseplants. SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT is Jodi's debut novel and Book One of the Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves trilogy. CANYON OF DOOM came next, and VALLEY OF SHADOWS hits the shelves summer of 2016, completing this exciting and fun adventure-mystery set in the Navajo Nation. Next on the horizon? A historical mystery novel set in the 1930s told through the eyes of a sharecropper's daughter.