More Road Trip Adventures

As you know, we are back from Chicago and awaiting Hurricane Irma.  But I never recounted the rest of our travels. Please come along and back-track with me.

From Dallas, we drove to Liberty Missouri to visit friend JR and his crackerjack hilarious little Aunt Nancy.  JR does not like dogs. Bronson is the only dog ever allowed in his home. We intended to take our car on a planned field trip thinking JR wouldn’t want a canine passenger. Much to our delight, Bronson was welcome into JR’s automobile.

Here’s the “service” dog with his head on my knee.


We drove to the neighboring town of Kearney and toured the birthplace of the notorious Jesse James.  Jesse James wasn’t your typical western bank robber.
Jesse James’ legacy included being considered an outlaw hero, beloved by the public. Stories about him seemed to make him out as a hero, rather than a criminal (which he was).

Carl Sandberg, the noted author of several biographies including President Abraham Lincoln, referred to James as the “American Robin Hood,” stealing from the rich and giving to the poor.
James was born and raised primarily in Missouri, a few miles from Kansas City.  James was born on the Kearney farm and originally buried there. He was killed by Robert Ford at his home in St. Joseph, about 30 miles north of Kansas City.



Jesse’s saddle.



Following Jesse’s murder, his mother, Zerelda, buried her son on their land. For the rest of her life, she slept facing the window so she could keep an eye on his gravesite. Afraid someone would dig him up kept a loaded shotgun next to her bed intending to shoot anyone who came near the grave.


Zerelda opened the home to tourists, selling them small rocks off the gravesite for twenty-five cents each. Our guide told us we were welcome to take a couple. Mine now live on the family room shelf.


JR and Aunt Nancy



Jesse was later moved to a local cemetery to keep him safe.

Back at JR’s, he drove me into his pasture to feed his cows. It’s a funny slimy experience.



The herd, led by Panda, chased us out of the pasture hoping for more pellets.


JR made us a home-cooked beef stew meal. (Store bought meat, not one of his pet cows.) We sat at the kitchen table overlooking the cow pasture and pond. Nancy kept us laughing with her description of the eighty-two-year-old gentleman who is pursuing her. She’s convinced he’s only after one thing.



Bats in my belfry and Cows in our kitchen

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Meet the girls.  Left to right are Daisy, Bossy, and Maisie.  Daisy and Maisie are sisters, Bossy is their mother.  Do you see a family resemblance?  

I finally finished my enormous cow painting.  The canvas is five feet wide by four feet high.  These are some gargantuan animals.

I’ve been wrestling with these three beasts since before Thanksgiving.  Bossy and Maisie came together quickly.  But Daisy, on the left, eluded me. (For more about that see my April 5 post Bovine Belly Aching)

I got so frustrated with Daisy I hung up my brushes and moved on to other things.  However, last weekend was a community garage sale.  I paint in the garage so the herd needed to relocate.

The problem was Maisie.  She was greedily taking up way too much space. I refused to start over–I just wanted the damn critters DONE.

Jim had witnessed my dissatisfaction and made a suggestion.   “Why don’t you print out several copies and sketch the third cow. Maybe you can get the composition right.”

I should have thought of that. I was so busy slashing and burning, painting over the stupid creature, my brain was fried. I took his advice and did it one better.  I opened a  photo of the canvas in Photoshop and dropped a third cow into image, thereby making a useful reference.

At the end of the day I chose to have Daisy entering the scene stage left.  I then created the illusion of a bit more Maisie.  At long last Daisy, Bossy and Maisie live on our kitchen wall.   A neighbor asked what kind of cows they are.  I replied, “Pink Nosed Brown Cows.”

The little I know about cows I learned from friend JR Robertson.   He has a herd of White Park cows on his Missouri farm.  When we visited JR he put me on his ATV and took me to meet cattle.  JR wasn’t wearing shoes.  He hadn’t intended to climb off.  As we approached the cows he asked if I’d like to feed one.

You bet I wanted to feed cows!   In his stocking feet JR traipsed through cow patties to get food pellets.

This cow is named Panda.  Panda has a long slimy black tongue.  I’d hold a pellet out  and she’d shove her face into mine and glop my fingers.  It was kind of disgusting in a marvelous giggly way.

JR will be visiting us on Memorial Day.  I’ll introduce him to our brood.  Perhaps he’ll decide to add a few pink nosed brown cows to his herd!