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Posts Tagged ‘Nancy Parker-Simons’

My last couple of posts, about my mother’s unhappy experiences in moving from her home to “assisted living,”  have been downers, and it’s time to talk about lighter subjects. During the last two weeks of March I had some fine adventures out in the Texas Hill Country, back in Houston, and up in Dallas.

First off, my friends Loretta and Beverly and I went to New Braunfels to see Arlo Guthrie perform at Gruene Hall, one of the oldest dance halls in Texas.

Standing in line at Gruene Hall

The show was great. The lovely and talented Burns sisters, Arlo’s son Abe, and his band opened the show – for two hours!. Then Arlo came out and they all performed for another two hours! I met up with my Dallas friends Jay and Shelley, my dear friend Doris Judd, who I met at a writing workshop, and spent some quality time afterwards with The Burnsies, Jimmy LeFave, Kil.Ler, Arlo’s former bus driver, now an agent for musicians, based in Austin.

The Burns sisters, Jimmy LaFave, and Killer

Doris, Shirley and Jay - Gruene Hall

Arlo and Shirley Gruene Hall March 2011

Shelley, Killer and Shirley Gruene Hall

A good time was had by all. Next morning, the Three Musketeers traveled farther west to visit my friends Nancy and Tony Parker-Simons, who manage the Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch, founded by Kinky Friedman. I’ve known them for several years, and two finer people cannot be found. We spent the afternoon talking, eating, laughing, touring the ranch, visiting with the animals, and laughing some more.

Beverly, Loretta, Shirley and Nancy at the Ranch

Tony Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch March 2011

Tony has become an excellent photographer. He showed us some postcards he’d made that were National Geographic quality. One took my breath away, literally – a hummingbird caught in mid-flight. He has an eye for capturing nature – plants, animals, and oh yeah, even people – he took some that made me look good, and that’s not easy to do!

Nancy in Outer Space March 2011

In addition to being a Fine Human Being and one of my long-lost sisters, Nancy is a story teller, a writer, and a kind and loving woman with a heart bigger than Texas. Do I love her? Indeed I do!

Reluctantly we said goodbye to Nancy and Tony and all the critters and made the long trip back to Houston. But the fun wasn’t over yet! The next Tuesday Loretta and I attended the opening of a new play, “Becoming Kinky” – the story of Kinky Friedman in three parts. It was truly a great show, and we bonded with the couple sitting next to us, Mark and Joyce, then got to visit with Kinky and his sidekick, Jeff Shelby, aka Little Jewford.

Shirley, Kinky, Loretta, McGonigels Mucky Duck March 2011

Loretta, Shirley, Little Jewford, Joyce, Mark, and Kinky

We closed the place down, and as we drove away I saw Kinky in a meditative mood – or was he just wishing Jeff would hurry up and take him home?

Kinky Friedman after the play - March 2011

The fun was over for awhile, and it was back to work. In my next installment, I’ll talk about my mother’s 90th birthday party, and update her status on the “assisted living” experiment. There will be some good parts and some awful parts … but for a few weeks, my world was full of friends and fun and Texas in the springtime.

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Shirley & the Man Who should be the Gov.Kinky & Shirley

Kinky Friedman and Shirley Wetzel somewhere in the Texas Hill Country.

Several years ago I came across the website for Kinky Friedman. http://www.kinkyfriedman.com/ He’d gone from being a successful, if controversial singer in the 1970′s (Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys), to a successful mystery novelist. “Get your biscuits in the oven and your buns in the bed” was a favorite Kinky song for my husband shortly before he became my ex-husband. I’m not saying the two were connected, but I’m not saying they weren’t, either. Kinky won the Male Chauvinist of the Year award for that one. I forgave him, partly because I love his mysteries. I told him this story the first time I met him, and he gave me this sage wisdom: “When the horse dies, get off.” Kinky had a website with t-shirts for sale, and I ordered something from the lady who was then in charge of the fan club, Cousin Nancy Parker. She’s not my real cousin, but she feels like kin … I sent her an e-mail and mentioned that it must be great to live in a place named Utopia, Texas. She wrote right back, and we started up an e-friendship. She said I should come on out and visit with her, and I did. I got to meet Kinky and visit the house he lives in on his family’s ranch. Back then, Nancy and her beau Tony Simons had a few dogs and cats. Some were theirs and some were Kinky’s – he had, and has, a habit of picking up strays and bringing them home, but since he was often on the road he dropped them off with Nancy. Time went by, and the critter population at the Parker-Simon hacienda was growing by leaps and bounds. KF decided to make it official, and the Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch was born. http://www.utopiarescue.com/

Nancy and Tony are salt-of-the earth, wonderful, fine, outstanding human beings. Tony’s on the quiet side, and that’s good because Nancy hardly ever stops talking :-) If you’re ever in the Texas Hill Country area, give them a call, and they’ll invite you out to visit with them and send you home with a dog, or two, a cat, pot-belly pig, turkey, donkey, or no telling what else.

Here’s Nancy at her beloved Yoda’s grave.  Note the Eternal Squirrel

Nancy at Yoda's grave, with Eternal Squirrel

Nancy at Yoda's grave, with Eternal Squirrel

Shirley & Eternal Squirrel, Utopia

Shirley & Eternal Squirrel, Utopia

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