Posts Tagged ‘friends’

I updated my End of the Beginning post and somehow none of it was saved, so, try, try again. The title comes from a song by my good friend and talented singer/songwriter John Flynn : http://johnflynn.net  You can hear the song there.

The lovely and talented John Flynn

The songs resonates with me because I realize there are far more years behind me than there are ahead. I have lost one parent:

Sterling L. Hornsby Sept. 27, 1920-Dec. 24, 2009

My mother is 90 and a half, and I don’t think it will be long before I become a motherless child:

Velma Ruth Stewart Hornsby, April 2, 1921-

Mother and Dad lived for 40 years in the old house where they watched 3 generations grow up:

family on the porch

grandchildren, great-grandchildren, even great-great grandchildren:


Jan. 2010 DFW Cemetery

The time came when Mother could no longer stay in that old house:

Our experiment with sending her to live in a fancy “assisted living” facility didn’t work out. After a mistake with her medication that almost killed her, my sister Gwen took Mother home with her.

Mother's lonely new home

So now I find myself at the beginning of the end, although I hope it’ll be a long time before I get there. John’s song says “The journey of a single step can begin with a thousand miles.” Here was where I started:

Shirley Jean Hornsby Sept. 1946

I grew up, went to college, got married:

Sept. 2, 1967

We had kids:

Baylor and Mom Oct. 1971

Jeff and Mom, Bangkok, July 1973

Then we had some grandkids:

Ashley b. Sept. 1, 1994

Amber and Autumn, Jan. 27, 1996

We got divorced, but later became friends again. I had some adventures, did a lot of traveling, met some interesting people and some great friends, mostly because of Arlo Guthrie:

Shirley, Arlo & Annie Aug. 1989

"Matterhorn" in Okemah, Ok.

Guthrie Center Fall Revival - Blunderites all

Guthrie Center 1996

John Flynn and the Flynettes, Okemah WoodyFest

To quote John again, I’m thankful “for old friends you can count on, even though their ranks are thinning.”

Alasdair and Shirley, Macchu Picchu. Miss you always

Dennis Lachappelle, best bus driver and best friend anyone could ever ask for.

Goodbye, old friend

There are others I dearly miss: dear, sweet Jack Dultz, Gay, who will always be sitting at the front table at the church, Gerry Harper – your daughter grew up to be as wonderful as you were, sweetheart. So many friends and loved ones gone but never forgotten.

Our sons grew up:

Baylor and Jeff

Our granddaughters are teenagers!

So, what happens next? I need to work on that Bucket list – maybe finish the mystery I started writing many moons ago. I have continued to write and get published – here’s the launch of the latest anthology from the Final Twist, Oct. 2011:

Shirley at Murder by the Book

Chorus of The End of the Beginning” “Oh, the journey you make, from the first breath you take, to your last dying day, the mystery will take your breath away …”

Kris Kristofferson, who accompanies John on this song, has a song with a similar line:

From the rockin’ of the cradle to the rollin’ of the hearse, the going up was worth the comin’ down. I do believe he’s right. Journey on …


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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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How did I come to know Arlo Guthrie, you might ask. It’s a very long story, going back through several lifetimes. Here’s the short version: I always enjoyed his music, but as the years went by after the 60’s ended I kind of forgot about him. My life had hit some pretty big bunps, and I wasn’t feeling too good about anything. One day I read in the paper that Arlo Guthrie was performing at Rockefella’s, and I decided I should go. After all, I figured most of the hippies were long gone and he might not have much of an audience. My friend and I showed up and found it was SRO. We got seats just above the stage, and for the next 2 hours I was transported back in time through those old songs, back to when I was young and happy … when he walked off the stage he looked up, directly into my eyes, and I had the thought that he was gonna be important in my life. Then I had the thought that the other thought was nuts. He was a legend, how could I ever expect to even meet him?

Weeks went by. I started reading about him, and his father Woody, and gained enormous respect for both of them. Woody’s early life was not too different than my own father’s, lots of hardship and tragedy. Arlo’s great-great grandfather, Shadrack Guthrie, lived in Bell County, Texas, at the same time as my Great-Great Grandpa Elisha Erwin Stewart. Small world. I’d signed up for Arlo’s newsletter, The Rolling Blunder Review. One day I got an issue that asked for volunteers to accompany him on a trip to Europe in August, 1989. He wanted to avoid the commercialism of the 20th anniversary of Woodstock, and thought some of us might want to tag along. I thought it was a joke … but what if it wasn’t? It didn’t cost much – but I was pretty low on funds. I threw the paper away. Next day it was back on my desk. Same Day, I got a “pre-approved” credit card application with just the amount of credit I needed to pay for the trip. Who was I to argue with Fate? I signed up. So did 38 other Blunderites. The rest is history.

I’d worried a little that he might not turn out to be the great guy I thought he was. I didn’t need to worry. As soon as I laid eyes on him in the Frankfurt airport, I knew he was everything I’d hoped he’d be, and more … so much more.

It was a life-changing trip. I met some wonderful folks, most of them still friends to this day. Judy B. was one of them. Here’s Judy, Arlo & me at the Guthrie Center, aka Alice’s church in Great Barrington, Mass. Arlo bought in a few years back and now does concerts there. There are community outreach programs, lectures, and other fun stuff there too.Judy, Arlo & Me

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Having fun in 1965

David McNeely, Shirley Hornsby (me) Ron Wyatt, Barbara JamersonHere’s David McNeely, me, Ron Wyatt, and Barbara Jamerson – 1965. Love the Laura Petrie hairdos! David was my first love, and when he broke up with me, it was my first big heartbreak. But not the last … He got in touch with me a couple of years ago, and we had lunch, and I was able to tell him truly that I have only good memories of our time together. And his folks were right, I wouldn’t have been a good minister’s wife.

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It’s getting easier. Here’s a photo of me, Arlo, and Barbara Jamerson. Barbara was my BFF through high school and college. I was her maid of honor and she was my matron of honor at our weddings. After a few years, we lost each other. I found her again when our high school class was celebrating (?) our 40th reunion, and when she walked up to me it was like all those years had been only a few minutes. Love yah, my dear old friend.Shirley, Barbara & Arlo

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Shirley W., Rob McNurlin, Judy BeislerMy first picturesI will now attempt to upload some of my photos

This is me, Rob McNurlin, and Judy Beisler in 2006, and Arlo Guthrie in concert

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