Friday, December 23, 2022

NFR Icons.

Like many of you, I suspect, I recently spent ten days in rodeo heaven watching the National Finals Rodeo. This year, the festivities included a new event: the naming of “NFR Icons,” honored with a banner hoisted into the rafters and their image enshrined in a bronze sculpture.

The first honorees were Ty Murray, Charmayne James, and Trevor Brazile. The reasons for honoring those three are many and well chronicled, so I won’t go into that. What I will mention is the bronze sculpture each received.

The sculptures are the creation of cowboy artist Jeff Wolf, a friend I have known since our boyhood days in the same hometown. Jeff’s work has been honored and exhibited and displayed and featured and awarded far and wide. And rightly so, as his depictions of Western life capture the soul and spirit of the people and the place, right down to the animals. His heart and hands find essence and energy in lumps of clay and breathe life into bronze.

I had the pleasure of seeing the NFR Icon sculptures in progress while visiting Jeff at his studio one day this past summer. That memory will be treasured as much by me as the finished works will be cherished by the recipients.

Jeff’s name as artist and creator was not mentioned in any of the reports I read about the NFR Icon honors. Shame. As well miss out a bronc, tip over a barrel, or break a barrier.

Monday, December 5, 2022

Four totally useless skills I have mastered.

For several years now I have been of an age that qualifies as old. I am not feeble as yet—at least not for very long at a stretch—and my health is generally good. But I am definitely in my dotage.

Among the things that often happen at this time of life is an accounting of what you have accomplished. My list is short. But among my accomplishments are a few things I was—or still am—good at that are completely useless outside of the possibility of providing fleeting enjoyment for those easily entertained.

1. Jump in the air and click my heels three times.
This one may have left me, but it remains a point of pride for someone (me) whose coordination and physical abilities are generally lacking.

2. Recite the alphabet backwards.
Although assembling the twenty-six letters of the alphabet has earned my daily bread throughout my adult life, I have seldom, if ever, been called upon to recite it in reverse. But I could if asked.

3. Flip a rope into a bow knot.
It takes no more than the blink of an eye. You would think this skill might come in handy for tying shoes, but I do not remember owning a pair of shoes with laces.

4. Hypnotize a chicken.
I have done this. I can do this. Don’t ask me why.   

There you have it. Four things I can do that matter not a whit. (It is, as they say, a slow news day.)