Buffalo Bill Blog

Dec
17

Decorating for Christmas

 

christmas decoration santa driving stagecoach

Okay, so I am a little late getting my Christmas decorations out. I am simply one of those people who like to take holidays one at a time.

I may see a perfect gift in May and buy it, but I typically put it in the back of my closet and not think about it again until December.

At Thanksgiving I like to focus on friends, family and football. In my mind there is plenty of time to prepare for Christmas. And don’t even talk to me about Christmas when the kids are trick or treating.

This year, right after Thanksgiving we had a cold front blow through shortly after turkey day, and let me tell you, it was cold enough that I dug a jacket out of my closet that I only wear a few times a year. This coat is suede with a sheepskin lining that invariably receives comments from men and women, alike. It still looks brand new, and I expect to wear it for many years.

When the front arrived, one of my neighbors casually mentioned that I probably regretted my rule of not putting up my lights until the halfway point between Thanksgiving and Christmas. He had his up weeks ago, including the inflatable Santa, Frosty the Snowman and digital countdown to Christmas calendar.

One thing my neighbor forgets but I always remember is that winter comes and goes here in Cody. My first year in the big city was a true learning experience. In late November the skies turned gray and a damp cold descended upon us. It seemed like it stayed that way for months. In truth, it did stay that way until March.

Around here we see a lot of sunshine. Sure, we get an Alberta Clipper that brings Arctic air our way, but we are just as likely to have the Chinook winds blow in warm air. From a spot up on Skyline Drive I can see golfers getting in a late season round as well as joggers on the path down near the Shoshone River. And up and down Sheridan Avenue I see shoppers heading in and out of some of our famous galleries.

So when the weather warmed up this weekend right on schedule I pulled out my outdoor decorations. My favorites are Rudolph and the rest of the reindeer pulling Santa’s sleigh. Instead of a sleigh, however, I replaced it with a stagecoach. Driving the stagecoach is Santa, of course, but riding shotgun is the snowman from the Rudolph television special. You know, the one voiced by Burl Ives?

I always thought that snowman must have been inspired by our own Bill Cody because of the goatee.

Now that my decorations are up I can focus on my annual Christmas party that am throwing this Saturday night. I will tell you how it went next week.

Until then, I am lovin’ life…and baking cookies…in Cody, Wyo.

Corrie N. Codycartoon cowgirl

Dec
10

Christmas Gifts

 

Now that Thanksgiving is another fond memory of turkey, laughter, broken ovens and unusual uses for plumbers’ torches, I am turning my attention to preparing for Christmas.Merry Christmas sign

I don’t spend a lot on gifts, but I do like to put thought into them. Accumulating a lot of possessions is not important among my circle of friends, and if you quietly observe you can see what people appreciate here.

Every year I make a vow to keep my eyes open all the time in case that perfect gift lands in my lap. Other times I find something that’s perfect for multiple people and have to decide who gets it.

Sons of the Pioneers albumIn August I ran across “160 Acres,” an old album signed by the Sons of the Pioneers. I can think of several musicians in town who would carry my bags through a Black Friday crowd, shovel my driveway all winter and string my holiday lights for that piece of vinyl.

One year I found an original poster that Union Pacific had created to promote visitation to Yellowstone. It showed various bear “tourists” strolling around Old Faithful, poster of Old Faithfuleating picnics and enjoying idyllic scenes of the park. It was perfect for a certain cowboy/Buffalo Bill look-alike in town who collected such memorabilia. How was I to know that he had a new girlfriend who gave him a fake of the same scene?

cast iron skilletI did do well, on the other hand, the year when I walked into an antique store in Powell and found a cast iron frying pan. This was a Griswold #8 with the large logo, slanted letters and heat ring. I gave it to a certain tour guide in town who was so shocked and pleased and happy that he looked like he had been hit on the head with, well, a Griswold #8 frying pan.

Sometimes I manage to score something that’s perfect, but I invariably go most of the year without even thinking about Christmas shopping.

I truly believe that the best gifts do not cost a lot. This year I decided to take several of my favorite spice blends, recreate them and package them along with adifferent seasonings in teaspoons booklet describing different dishes they are best used for. I make a terrific chili blend as well as a lemon pepper seasoning that can be used on most any dish. Some blends are appropriate for meat grilled over an open flame, fried in a Griswold cast iron pan or baked in an oven (if it’s working).

Please don’t tell anyone what I am up to. I hope it will be a surprise.

And if anyone else in town is planning on doing the same thing, would you ask them to wait until next year? I don’t want to cause any more relationship problems.

Until next week, I am lovin’ life and looking forward to spicing it up.

Corrie N. Codycartoon cowgirl

Dec
04

Thanksgiving Wrapup

 

Thanksgiving turkey

Well, Thanksgiving certainly didn’t turn out the way I planned.

My house is always the one where the crowd varies from year to year, and there are times when I invite people and then forget that I invited them until they show up. One year I was driving past an open restaurant and saw a friend heading in for dinner on Thanksgiving. I stopped, made him get in the car and brought him home to join the rest of us.

When I actually know who is coming, I assign everyone to bring various dishes. This year Jackie brought a root vegetable casserole, Emma made an apple pie and William brought three growlers of his home brew.

Michael created a candied yam dish complete with marshmallows on top that he decided at the last minute needed roasting. Do you know those little torches people use to caramelize the sugar on top of a crème brulee? I don’t own one, so we went to the garage and found a torch that a plumber uses to solder pipes. We learn out here in the West to be innovative and that some tools have many uses.

The big glitch, however, came with my turkey. Because the side dishes were covered, all I had to do was cook the turkey and make the gravy.

After brining the turkey overnight, I heated up the oven and put the bird in. On the stove I boiled water and tossed in the giblets. A couple of times the pot boiled over.  I didn’t think much of that, just pulled the pot off the burner and let it calm down.

Unfortunately, the water that boiled over seeped down onto the digital keypad controlling the oven, shorting it out and causing the oven to completely stop working.

No big deal. Here in Cody, we know each other, we look out for each other and we don’t have to go far for help.

Before the oven had time to even cool down, I had called my neighbor and good friend, Lin, who offered up her oven before I even asked to borrow. Lin was having dinner at her nephew’s home and would not even be there, so she just left the front door unlocked and I periodically checked on the bird, which ended up finishing at about the time we estimated in the first place.

After a long and relaxing dinner with enough food to feed the original Wild West Show, some of us headed to the family room and turned on the television where Graham flipped between the football game and a rodeo event. Everybody chipped in on the cleanup, we laughed some more, and eventually everyone headed off into a crisp, clear Cody night with fixin’s for turkey sandwiches.

I hope they remember to return my Tupperware. What will we use for next year’s dinner if they don’t?

Until next week, I am lovin’ life…and leftovers…in Cody, Wyo.

cartoon cowgirlCorrie N. Cody

Nov
26

Thanksgiving Week

 

Happy Thanksgiving Sign

Thanksgiving is this week, so I thought I would list the things for which I am thankful.

What, you thought I was going to discuss cowboy music?

I am thankful for my hometown. I have been to the big city and enjoyed the energy, the diversity, food from a truck, street musicians and unlimited restaurant choices. But none of that compares to old friends, new friends, restaurants where the staff already knows how I like my coffee (just enough cream to take the edge off) and being 100 percent positive that I will see familiar faces every time I walk down Sheridan Avenue.

I am thankful I live in a place where a retired United States senator invites you to call him by his first name.

I am thankful that I can walk past the Dairy Queen and see a former U.S. cabinet secretary and a U.S. senator (not the same one who still lives in town and goes by his first name) enjoying ice cream cones after the dedication of the Heart Mountain WWII Interpretive Center.

I am thankful the West is still alive and that people can visit and see a real rodeo and real cowboys, listen and dance to terrific country and western music and to truly get a feel for what it was like here when the area was settled.

I am thankful that we can visit a world-class museum complex. When my big-city friends visit, they are sincerely impressed at what a spectacular place the Buffalo Bill Center of the West is.

I am thankful I can leave my front door unlocked and walk my dog at any time of day or night.

I am thankful for so many great trout streams.

I am thankful for the tourists who come to visit our town every year. I love meeting new people and hearing them talk about their home towns.

I am thankful to live in a place where people still do business with a handshake.

I am thankful to know that this week when the citizens of Cody will sit down to a Thanksgiving dinner, people with no family in town will be welcome in homes all over town.

Please enjoy your Thanksgiving.

Loving’ life and thinking about leftovers in Cody, Wyo.

cartoon cowgirl with braidsCorrie N. Cody

Nov
19

Back To School

 

While I normally do not preach about some of my deeply held beliefs, today I want to talk about the importance of continuing education. Whether it is taking a French class at Northwest College in Powell or participating in a seminar about roping techniques, I am always open-minded and supportive.

bull charging bull fighterOne of my bucket list items is to go to school to be a bull fighter – dressed as a rodeo clown. I know a guy who works in Yellowstone who went through this training a few years ago. I have this great video of him getting flipped by a bull. It looked scary, but fortunately, he escaped with just a few bruises which he wore as a badge of honor for several days. He still talks about that incident and the bull fighting school as a highlight of his time spent in our town.

I think he enjoyed learning how to put on the makeup a little too much.man holding fish standing in river

Even though I grew up surrounded by some of the best streams in the world for trout fishing, I never really knew how to tie a fly or cast properly. Since we have absolutely terrific fly fishing guides in this area, I tapped into their knowledge and expertise until I reached an acceptable level of competence. Today, I am comfortable in waders and proficient using both dry flies and nymphs to land trout.

There are some times, however, where it just makes sense to return to the basics for a refresher course. Sometimes changes in technology turn things completely upside down (sort of like what that bull did to my friend at rodeo bull fighting school), and it is necessary to learn new techniques.

pink hollyhocksA good example is photography. I learned to shoot and process film long before digital cameras came along. Framing a photo and using light properly have not changed much, but the cameras themselves take some new training.

I have therefore decided that I am going way back to the basics starting next week. This afternoon I am heading over to Eastside Elementary School and signing up for fifth grade.

I remember that year of school as being a turning point in my life. It was the bridge from my childhood to young adulthood. I started to notice that the world was a much bigger place than I realized. My teacher challenged me and my classmates to better ourselves.

You cannot imagine how much I look forward to going back to school.snow covered mountains with sign reading Sleeping Giant Ski Area

There’s one other thing I am anticipating. You see, Sleeping Giant Ski Area has opened for the season, and fifth graders are eligible for a free season pass.

See you on the slopes.

Future valedictorian and current snow bunny,

Corrie N. Cody.cartoon cowgirl

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