I had to travel to my “where I came from,” Bend, Oregon, over this past weekend for a “life celebration.”Â Interesting concept as I thought we celebrated being alive everyday, and I was dressed for a funeral.Â Nevertheless,Â that is indeed what this crowdedÂ hall filled beyond its 250 capacity with a squished 350 did…and for 5 hours…celebrated, with an open bar and Garth Brooks for tunes.
Now, these are not your everyday run-of-the-mill urban cowboys; these here were real cow folk! Most of them rodeo cowboys and girls, and lots of them wearing the black hats (which apparently is in respect for a fallen “poke”), bowed legs, and PLAID…lots of plaid.
Lots of people wanted to give tribute in the open mike section of the service and I found myself giggling out loud at the fact that the non-cow folk (of us) could hardly understand them!Â Don’t know if it was the chew stuck under the lip, or the fact that they just cut their words short so as not to waste any, but all in all I found it very entertaining. Could it have been the “shot with a beer back?” A mandatory tradition for anyone over the age of…oh, say 12!
My brother-in-law was (no surprise here) a cowboy! In every sense of the word.Â He was a man’s man and lived his life largely. He owned a hunting lodge on 2,000 acres in the eastern Oregon Wallowas, and has a 5,000 sq. ft. house full of trophies from all over the world as well. So many heads and full mounts that you feel as if any minute you might get eaten…well that is my take on it all.
I have never been to a life celebration quite so lively as this.Â I’m Catholic and IrishÂ and have been to a lot of wakes where we danced and drank, but this made those look likeÂ SundayÂ school.
I am proud to say I can line dance in black sling back pumps (totally overdressed), four step, two step, and am apparently easy to spin.Â Ye-haw. Next time you see me, check my butt pocket…chew leaves a 3 inch permanent impression.
Here’s to you, Ed Sturza!Â My hat is off!Â May you dance in your boots and briefs with yourÂ hat on under the full moon forever more!
Aloha my paniolo!