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If you’re taking Highway 287 coming from Dallas toward Colorado, you pass a little stop in the road about forty miles before Amarillo called Goodnight, Tx. The only reason you would know you were there is the Herd Wear Retail Store and Goodnight Country Inn.

Goodnight, Texas is an unincorporated “community” in Armstrong County. As of 2000, the population was 18. The address is actually Clarendon, Tx. The town is named for Charles Goodnight and his wife who settled there and had a bison ranch. (We don’t have buffalo in the United States, we have bison, cousins to the buffalo on the other side of the planet.)

Charles Goodnight was one of the biggest cattle ranchers in the Texas Panhandle in the late1800s, having already created the Goodnight-Loving trail to move the cattle to market. He made and lost a fortune in Pueblo, Colorado, before moving to the Texas Panhandle and recreating his success with cattle ranching. While buying land with partners and enlarging the ranch, they had to push the bison back about fifteen miles. Which didn’t help relations with the Indians. Charles made a deal with Quanah Parker to give her followers two beeves (cows) every other day to keep peace.                                                                     

It was about that time that Charles began raising bison as well as antelope and elk. He tried creating a cattalo, crossing cattle and bison, but it wasn’t a huge success. When he quit working with the cattle ranch, Charles concentrated on bison, beginning with 250 head. Charles and his wife – who had encouraged him to raise bison and oversaw the younger bison – shipped bison to Yellowstone, Europe, and other places.

Which brings us back to Cecil Miskin and Darlene Wright at Herd Wear Store/Goodnight Country Inn. The store is smack on 287. If you’re paying attention, you can’t miss it. Back down the road from the highway you can see the Goodnight House. The Country Inn is a one unit bed and breakfast back of the store. Cyndy and I plan to go one weekend when we can see the museums we want to see in the area.

The Herd Wear Store has everything bison, plus more. Check them out on Facebook and the website. A lot of wonderful things. We’re getting stuff for Christmas from them. Best of all though, is bison meat. The kippered bison beef makes great tender steak sticks for snacking. We’ve also tried the bison bratwurst, the jalapeno cheese bratwurst, and the ribs. We still have summer sausage to try. The bison products are a little pricey, but oh, so freaking tasty. And Cecil and Darlene will work with you.

I’ve spent time talking with Cecil on two different occasions now – once with Cyndy and once this last trip on my mini tour. Cecil can tell you all things bison/buffalo and he’ll happily talk about Charles Goodnight and the ranch. They had to get rid of some of the bison in the past fifteen years, but they kept just enough to be able to call it a herd.

So the next time you’re going through, be sure to stop by and see Cecil and Darlene. They’d love to have you and answer any and all questions. They’ve got enough stuff to warrant a day trip just to go there. I know Cecil has enough stories to keep you entertained while you shop. Not to mention the many museums in the area.

Tell them I sent you and I’ll see them next time through!

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Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

paypal.me/danroark

 

 

 

916 Acklen Ave., in Nashville

[Read Part One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine]

Okay, so it was more a skirmish than a war, but it could have escalated into a war.

Most of the time we lived at 916 Acklen Ave. an older African American woman lived downstairs. Ms. Patricia, as we called her at her request, would sit on the top step of the front stairs and watch the world go by – at least the people on the street.

There was a gas station down on the corner that had acceptable greasy fried chicken and great potato wedges, if they cooked them enough. We’re talking actual wedges of a freaking potato, not the miniature things in the frozen food section or fast food places. And it was pretty cheap so it wasn’t unusual that we would frequent the place to avoid the “what should we have tonight” conundrum.

When we left to walk down to the gas station, Ms. Patricia would give us a couple of dollars and ask us to get her a quart of beer. She never accepted the change. From what we could ever ascertain, she preferred to be called Ms. Patricia because she hadn’t had a last name she liked or could relate herself to.

Then for some reason, Ms. Patricia moved out and Martin moved in. Sonja, our other roommate at the time, began dating Martin. As it turned out, Martin sold pot. Which at first was a good thing. When he got a shipment in, he would give us free product to help him break up the bricks into baggies. We didn’t think grass was all he was selling. Which made me nervous. However, having no frame of reference, we didn’t know to be wary and worried. (Did I say we were young and stupid?)

Turns out a neighborhood gang did not appreciate Martin – and us by extension – selling to their customers. Since we didn’t do any selling, or buying for that matter, we had no idea. Until one late afternoon when we were hanging around in our apartment upstairs. Assumably, Martin was downstairs.

Suddenly we heard the screech of tires. It sounded like someone was doing donuts in the street – which wasn’t too far off. Whoever was in the old Cadillac was making sure we all had time to get to the window with the rest of the neighborhood. One more reverse laying of tread in the street, then forward, a hard right, and then they rammed into the side of Martin’s car. It was the closest I’ve ever been to a gang war. But it wasn’t really a war because Martin wasn’t in a gang. It was more of a warning statement.

We decided we would just stay in for the rest of the night, staying clear of Martin. Not surprisingly, he wasn’t around too much longer after that. We went back to being harmless musicians and college students to the neighborhood.

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Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

paypal.me/danroark

 

 

 

Tune in tonight and every Monday night for a stellar show of songwriters performing their songs. On Mondays they perform to benefit Poor David’s Pub and the Kerrville Folk Festival – two of Texas’ oldest continually operating venues. All venues across the country – and, indeed, the world – need assistance. We can only focus on local venues. Thankfully, due to Save Our Stages efforts and concerts, songwriters across the country are doing the same thing in their small way to save the venues.

So grab a cold beverage and maybe something to eat, then go to Rob Case’s Open Mic Facebook page at 7 p.m. Central time. Settle in and watch a line up of seasoned songwriters playing their songs. Tonight’s line up is in the picture to the right or above, depending on your device. I play at 10:15 – just sayin’.

And please, don’t forget to donate. The donations are split between the two venues and they could use your help. The donation links are also in the picture. Please be generous – let’s make sure when this crap is through we still have places to play.

____________________________________________________________

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

paypal.me/danroark

[See part one, two, or three] “I was driving to Bossier City to do a little gambling. I knew it was, well, a gamble, but I was getting desperate and needed money. I wasn’t going to be stupid about it – I had a limit. But I was worried about losing, having nothing to show for it, and having it end up on the list of bad choices that for some reason I always had trouble avoiding. I was listening to the radio and trying not to think about it when the tire blew.

I replaced the blown tire with the factory “donut” in the trunk, knowing I was on borrowed time to get a replacement. My budget blew with the tire if I couldn’t get it fixed cheap. Putting the flat tire in the trunk, I got in and started the car. At the same time, the passenger door opened and a man fell into the seat with a pistol pointed at me.

He told me to drive and I drove. I’m already on probation for being stupid in public and I didn’t want to end up dead or in jail. He said he just broke out of jail. He rambled on about being set up for the charge of assault with a deadly weapon. Which I thought a little weird since he was doing just that with me. But I kept driving.

We were just coming around a curve when he hit my shoulder and told me to pull in to the gas station on the left. Which I did, barely avoiding a gray Prius pulling out of the station.

I managed to pull up to the pump without colliding with anything more important than the trash can. It did not fall over, but I knocked it into the other side of the pump. After which a car coming in from the other direction knocked it nearly back in place. As I shifted into park, he handed me a Visa credit card with a name I was pretty damn sure wasn’t his. But I sure as hell wasn’t going to ask him.

“Use it like a credit card and fill up the tank. The zip code is 75234. Then go inside and go to the blonde behind the food counter. Tell her you need two barbecue sandwiches with regular chips and waters on the fly. Say it just like that. She’ll know what to do.”

“I hate to bring this up, but I’m going to need to get my tire fixed. This donut isn’t going to last much longer.”

“Fill the tank up and I’ll let you know.” He turned to his phone and  began to send a text as I was getting the gas.

“Get in and back into the bay and the mechanic will fix the tire,” he said as I looked into the car after filling the gas tank.

Which I did and the mechanic did, putting the tire on the car and the donut in the trunk. All while my inconvenient passenger was sitting in the car, and I stood nervously by. I got in the car, started it, pulled out of the bay and stopped, putting the car in park. I turned and looked at the guy.

“Should I get the sandwiches now?”

“Of course, do you remember what to say”

“I’ve got it.”

And I did. I walked into the station and went straight to the food counter.

“May I help you?” the blonde asked.

“I need two barbecue sandwiches with regular chips and waters on the fly.” By now I was getting kinda hungry. I knew it must be some sort of code, but I hoped the sandwiches were real. I didn’t know what the hell was going to happen and it never hurts to have barbecue first. Fortunately, she handed me the food and waters. Unfortunately, things began to take a nasty turn.

When I got back to the car, my passenger was now the driver. He motioned for me to get in the back seat. As I was opening the door, I heard the shots. I was in the car and closing the door when the blonde came running out of the gas station with a gun in her left hand and a bag in the right.

“Let’s go, Pete,” she said to the driver as she jumped into the passenger seat.

“I thought we weren’t going to use names, Sharon.”

” Just drive.”

I’m thinking, well great, I just ran into a modern day Bonnie and freaking Clyde. Talk about bad choices and bad luck. I was better than fifty percent positive I wasn’t going to get to Bossier City. I was hoping I would get to keep the money I had on me.

I saw the speed trap coming. Pete didn’t. Apparently, neither did Sharon.

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Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

paypal.me/danroark

 

 

 

I didn’t play the cajon this time around so I took up less room.

I got  back yesterday from my Mini World’s End Tour this last weekend – the extended World’s End Tour was the tour I had to cancel earlier in the year and will hopefully schedule again next year. The mini tour consisted of four virtual events and one live, social distanced show at World’s End Brewing in Canon City, Colorado. Friday’s show had to be cancelled due to spotty reception. I thought I would start with an end of tour story first – for various reasons. The last show was the Poor David’s Pub/Kerrville Folk Festival Songwriters Showcase on Monday, donations during which are split between the two venues to support them in this difficult time we find ourselves in.

The show went very well for all of the songwriters. I was playing from my hotel room in Amarillo. You can find the show at Rob Case’s Open Mic – Poor David’s Pub Facebook page, as well as the donation links.

I woke up Tuesday morning and fixed coffee that was pretty passable for hotel coffee. I packed the stuff in the van and headed to Sam’s to get gas. After I got gas, I pulled into a parking space to place my order on the Whataburger app. There was a location not too far from Sam’s, but it was out of the way. I picked the location on I40 and Grand.

I ordered a biscuit sandwich with egg, extra bacon, and no cheese. I added an apple pie for later on the road. I picked the card I wanted to use to pay and tapped Checkout.

The next thing I saw on my phone was No Cheese not available at this location.

What else is there to say?

________________________________________________________

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

paypal.me/danroark

I’m getting ready to leave for the mini tour this weekend surrounding my first live show since March. Today I’ll play a half hour set on my YouTube channel from the hotel in Amarillo at 7:30 p.m. CT.

Tomorrow I’ll play a half hour show at 8:30 p.m. CT from my friend’s home in Colorado.

Saturday, I will be livestreaming the last set of my show at World’s End Brewing in Canon City, Colorado at 9 p.m. CT. The set includes a tribute to John Prine on his birthday.

Sunday, I will be playing another half hour set at my friend’s home at 8:30 p.m. CT. The half hour sets will include stories behind the songs. All shows before the open mic on Monday will be on my YouTube channel.

Monday night, I will be playing in the Poor David’s Pub/Kerrville Folk Festival online open mic on Rob Case’s Open Mic Facebook page or on my Facebook page from the hotel in Amarillo. It’s always an enjoyable show with a variety of good songwriters and is always a fun time. It you would like to play at a future open mic, contact Lynda Case. Donations during the open mic are split between Poor David’s Pub and the Kerrville Folk Festival to save the venues.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

paypal.me/danroark

 

 

 

[Read part one and part two]

“Everyone be quiet and stay calm and no one will get hurt,” the gunman commanded. “The shot was an accident. No sudden noises.”

Antonio knew that if the police were not outside by now, they would be soon. He also knew the gunman was becoming more nervous by the minute and he did not want to get caught in the middle, which was now an increasingly likely situation.

“The police are going to be here soon, if they aren’t here now. I’d like to help you if I can,” Antonio said in the most calming voice he could muster with his nerves on overdrive.

“Why would you do that?

“Because I’m a preacher and it’s my job to help people with their problems.”

“So how can you help?”

“I have a cell phone with the number of the sheriff and he will listen to me.”

“Why would he do that?”

“I helped his family out. Like I said, it’s what I do.”

“Why should I trust you?”

“I’m a preacher, for God’s sake! I don’t have an ulterior motive.”

“A what?”

“A reason for lying to you. Just let me call him. If you don’t like what I say you can shoot me. And I wouldn’t give you a reason to do that. But I need to know why you’re doing this. Are you here to rob them?”

“I’m not here to rob the place. I’m not sure how things got this far. Make the call.”

Antonio could sense desperation in the man’s voice. He hadn’t always been a preacher and he knew the difference between an evil man and a desperate one. He pulled out his phone and called Sheriff Martinez.

“Hello, Antonio. I’m a little occupied at the moment.”

“No more than I, Oscar. I’m in the restaurant with the gunman’s arm around my chest.” He felt the gunman relax his hold a bit.

“Was anyone hurt by the shot?”

“No, someone dropped something in the kitchen which surprised him and he reacted. The bullet went into the counter after going through a chair.”

“What does he want?”

“That’s what we’re trying to ascertain. If you’ll let us get to the chapel, we’ll try to resolve the situation without involving the people in here. We’ll be coming out the main door.”

“You got a line on this nimrod?”

“So far anyway. But remember, he’s one of God’s people.”

“But not one of the chosen, Antonio. Call me when you’re in the chapel.”

“First chance I get.” Antonio hung up the phone and returned it to his pocket.

“What’s the chapel?” the gunman said in his ear, tightening the grip on his chest.

“The semitrailer in the parking lot. I’m surprised you missed it.”

“I wasn’t looking for a chapel.” He pushed Antonio toward the door between the two rooms.

“Point taken,” Antonio said as he reached out with his hand and unlocked the door.

The gunman put the pistol in his pocket and stayed behind Antonio. Antonio nodded slightly to Fred as they passed the cash register. The two men walked out the front door of the truck stop and headed for the trailer. Police cars were parked in front of the restaurant. A group of officers gathered behind the cars watching the two walk toward the chapel. .

As the two men walked up the steps of the trailer, Antonio glanced toward the restaurant. A couple of deputies were coming out of the door looking toward the chapel. The gunman  followed Antonio into the chapel and locked the door behind him. Antonio walked over to his desk, swiveled the chair around, and sat down facing the gunman.

“So now that we’re here alone, what do I call you?” Antonio asked him.

The gunman held the gun on Antonio and looked confused. He was trying to get straight in his head the significant turn his original, albeit on-the-fly, plan had taken.

“I’m Jason,” he said finally.

“Well, Jason, I’m Antonio. Brother Antonio. Sheriff Martinez is expecting me to call him shortly and have the answers to some questions. Why don’t you tell me your story and let’s figure out how to wrap this thing up, whatever it is. What brought you to the truck stop with a gun?”

“A flat tire, an escapee from jail, a woman, two barbeque sandwiches, and a few bad choices,” Jason said with a sigh and look of resignation.

___________________________________________________________

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

paypal.me/danroark

 

 

 

Dog days of summer

heat burning down

enough to melt the smile

from the face of a clown

Heat waves make a visible breeze

that moves the air, runs sky to ground,

gives no relief,

and nothing makes a sound.

 

The future is uncertain

or so it seems

due to the ending and beginning of dreams

with the new dream an infant

and the old dream retired,

some senses are numb

while others are wired

beyond belief.

 

An overheated radiator smells like celery

as long as it isn’t your car,

Some things you’ve kept forever

actually look as old as you are,

Life looks better up close

than it does from afar,

Nothing tastes as good from a can

as it does from a jar,

Then the curtain falls

and time passes.

____________________________________________________

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

paypal.me/danroark

 

 

 

 

Southern Plains – Nashville Edition: Joel NIchols, Cat Waldeman, Dan Roark

[Part one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight]

This is a rare picture of the Nashville version of Southern Plains. It’s also a rare picture of me with a beard (it was short-lived). Cat Waldeman was a session musician and would help us get studio gigs occasionally, in between gigs and numerous jam sessions.

As I said in Nashville, part two, our core songs were Cold Wind Blows, River That Flows, and Can’t You See. Almost every show began with those three songs. I also talked about the three of us writing the music for Cold Wind Blows to Mostly Williams’ poem and I added some lyrics. Now you’ve got a picture (albeit blurry) to put to Cat’s name. Hopefully, I’ll run across a few more pictures that will be clearer.

In the meantime, here is a picture of the original Southern Plains.

Joel Nichols, Dan Roark, Bruce Gibson

 

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Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

paypal.me/danroark

 

Charles the Buck

[Previous post about the deer here.]

As I said earlier, when Cyndy and I left our friend, Sally’s, home in Colorado to return home the last few times, a deer – a buck as it were – was laying in Sally’s front yard watching us pack and leave. We’d like to think he was saying good-bye in some way, but who the hell knows?

Turns out he’s been hanging out in the yard more lately. Sally said he’d been there most of the day today. We figured if he was going to hang out at her house, we might as well name him. We have a friend named Charles Buck. And the deer is a buck. Hence, Charles the Buck.

_____________________________

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

paypal.me/danroark 

 

 

 

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