November 24, 2002
Yesterday I finally got in the water with artwork. Did a big background painting in late morning, then took a nap, had lunch, came out and finished it off, shot it, then finished off Dalton’s riding into town enveloped in dust. Still not the image I had in my mind’s eye but I need to keep moving. Took a shower, came out to dining room table and whipped out a batch of multi-cultural shooters (see sketches). Felt good. Need to stay loose.
Did several things last night I haven’t done in a long time. Kathy and I had two beers before we left to go up to the Buffalo Chip Saloon (to save money and no, that’s not one of them). Great honkytonk in Cave Creek. It was Dan Harshberger’s 55th birthday party and his wife Darlene invited us and three other couples to come out and have dinner and dance. Had the prime rib special, then the Pat James Band got up on stage and proceeded to rip out a really tight set of excellent Country music. No banter, tuning, or silence between songs (like the many bands I was in where we would talk about what song we should do next, argue about the key it's in, get in a fight, break up, leave the stage, take a piss, come back, make a temporary truce and play the second song of the night, with half the band in the wrong key). These guys (four piece) were as tight as a mosquito’s ass stretched over a rain barrel.
It was fun to watch the dancers. There is the basic Texas Two-Steppers, but there are some new variations, very baroque. It appears they have blended some line dance movements into the steps. It was beyond me. And then there are the urban couples who took a class and do the whirlybird turns (Kathy and I are in that group). And I noticed a new hand style (to me) where the guy puts his right hand on the woman’s shoulder, instead of around her waist, and the woman puts her left hand on his forearm. Then there’s the guy who learned how to do the dances in a very rote way. You can almost see him counting. He has no rhythm and kind of looks like he’s taking an SAT test. And then there’s the old guy, who doesn’t give a shit what you think. He’s out there doing some high school Pony of Frug, clappin’ on the wrong beat (most white people clap on the wrong beat and as a recovering drummer, it drives me nuts). He’s just havin’ a great time, dancin’ with everybody at his table, and he does the same dance whether the song is fast or slow, swingtime or a waltz (when I grow up I want to be him!). But my favorite dancers are the Country people who literally are Country. The guys look like they broke both arms and legs and it pains them to move, except to do a shuffle from the ankles down and they periodically twist their wrists, barely, in a simulation of a roper’s dally. Their women do all the work, gliding and sliding, moving backwards, ducking under his barely extended arm, as if to say: “I’m bakin’ a cake, I got a baby in my arms, I got to fix the sink, but I’m here for you Honey, makin’ you look like the studhoss you are.” Yahoo! It’s a thing of beauty, and a mighty fine metaphor for the American West to boot.
Tom Chambers was in the house (former Phoenix Suns star). His wife is so good-looking it should be illegal to go out looking like that. In fact, I don’t miss that part of nightclubbing (seeing all the women you can never have).
Finally, my eyes were burning so we said our goodnights. As we walked out into the cool Cave Creek night, I said to Kathy: “Well, that was fun, but I’m fried. What time is it?” Kathy laughed. It was 10:30.
"You don't have to hang from a tree to be a nut."
—Old Vaquero Saying