Monday, March 31, 2008

There's just something about Pelicans that I love. Every time I get to go on holiday to 'somewhere with a beach' I find myself watching the Pelicans and snapping photos of the goofy looking birds. I see them almost every place I've been. I remember the ones on Granite Island, South Australia and the boat load shown here off Tobago and this guy on the right on Caye Caulker. And believe it or not, we even have a flock of American White Pelicans that hang out most of the summer on Shadow Mountain Lake near Pine Beach. Last Memorial Day at the parade in Grand Lake a squadron flew over about the time the F-16's did. I wonder if Jim Reeman knows he was almost shown up by a flock of Pelicans? So hats off to the family Pelecanidae whose members also include the Cormorant and my favorite, the boobies!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

What's it got in it's pocketses Gollum?

You hear about these stories now and then, but this really happened last night. Skip McClelland, who runs the pool table at the Lariat on Friday and Saturday nights, decided to dress up for 'Louie Heckert Night'. He got out a suit that he says is all polyester and of course still fits him perfectly. Skip knew he hadn't worn it in a long time but didn't realize how long it had been until he reached into the pockets. Inside he found some receipts from a pool tournament he coached in Anaheim, California in 1968! He remembers they had given him a gift for being the coach of the team. The gift was four gold pesos, which in 1968 was probably worth about ten dollars each. With the price of gold today hovering around $1000,00 dollars and ounce, I think it was a pretty good find. It's a good thing he hadn't given, or worse yet, thrown it away! So in getting into the spirit of celebrating the birthday of his old friend Louie, he found a little good fortune to go along with it. Wait 'til Barky Lew hears about this one!!!

So don't forget to check those pockets boys and girls!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

They Say It's Your Birthday

I wrote a song for Louie Heckert a few years back to play for him on his birthday. It was a pretty good 'little ditty' but it never seemed quite right somehow. This morning I decided to give it a look because I knew I'd be playing it tonight on his 94th birthday celebration at the Lariat. I wrote one more verse about Gladys always being at his side and the whole thing came together as I had hoped. Silly me for not mentioning Gladys in the song before.
I remember after her memorial service how worried everyone was for Louie without her. I asked him if he was going to be OK and he said he'd better or a big foot would come out of the sky and kick him in the ass. For a number of years we had celebrated Louie's birthday and one year Gladys asked me why we didn't celebrate hers. Trust me, you did not argue with Gladys, so that October we threw one for her. I remember putting on a grey wig, horned rimmed glasses and a big stuffed bra(probably Mindy's) under a Hawaiian shirt. I got to drink bourbon and water and go around grabbing all the guys hands(not their asses like she used to) and not letting go. It was great fun, and except for the beard, I made a fair imitation.
No one will ever be able to imitate that dynamic duo but we can still celebrate them tonight by dressing up and dancing and laughing together as we remember what special people they were and I know they surely made my life richer for knowing them.
Happy Birthday Louie! (and don't forget Gladys)

Friday, March 28, 2008

Sunrise ..... Sunset

On Caye Caulker, one can easily watch the sunrise and the sunset.
The island is about 7 miles long and less than half a mile across. After all my years of working late nights, I seldom see the sunrise. Of course in my youth I might have stayed up late enough to see one now and then. Something about being on vacation in a tropical place, however, gets me up earlier so I can enjoy as much of the day as possible. Everyone seems to love to watch the sunset on the water especially. In Key West, they gather every night at Mallory Square and make a big party of it with magicians, music, food, dancing and everybody applauds as the sun dips under the ocean. On Caye Caulker the celebration is nothing like that, but people still gather to watch and sometimes give a toast to the day. Placencia, being on a peninsula is much the same way. It's about a ten minute walk from the east side to the west. I never saw the 'Green Flash' (some kind of atmospheric phenomenon that sets out a quick green flash just as the sun's last light disappears). I think I saw it once in Grenada, but that was in my drinking days so who knows? Enjoy your day and remember... Never get up on the same day you went to bed.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Kisses for Louie

Another 'Louie Night'! Louie Heckert was born March 29th, 1914 in Merino Colorado. This Saturday is our celebration of our beloved Louie. It will be the second one without him, but his legacy will always live on, as will his lovely Gladys'. I hope it will be as well attended as always. Last year was different without him , but so many people showed up that it seemed like he was still with us (and I'm sure he was!). I love the folks who show up wearing polyester outfits that don't match, dance, laugh, reminisce and share stories about Louie and Glady. A year ago we were excited to raise money to restore the old jeep, which due to help from many hard working friends with the encouragement and leadership of Peter 'The Painter' Esmonde, was realized on time at the Memorial Day Parade. I've got more
to say here, but wanted to get this done in hopes people would show up Saturday night at the Lariat. I will write some more on Louie in blogs to come and welcome comments and stories here. Pictured on the left is the
jeep as it looked in Danny Schneller's shop as
everyone was putting on the finishing touches.Also pictured is Louie dancing with Kristy on his
last birthday with us. Kristy was in a bad accident a few days ago but is going to be alright from what I've heard. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers.
I heard many jokes from Louie over the years, but I'm sorry to say I don't remember too many. Here's one I recall..... A guy walks into a bar dragging a chain behind him, the bartender says " Why are you dragging that chain?" to which the man replies "It's a hell of a lot easier than pushing it!" LONG LIVE LOUIE!!!

You Better Belize It

I'm back!! Guess my beach chair will just have to wait until next time. We had a great time in Belize with our friend and new traveling companion...Lana Weeks.
Lana was a lot of fun to have with us and enhanced our visit so much! I hope she's brave enough to go with us again somewhere. We met lots of wonderful folks on the trip and had a few adventures along the way. Our travels took us through Dallas to Belize City and then on to one my favorite spots .... Caye Caulker. After five days there, it was on to Placencia. Both places are very 'Laid Back' filled with plenty of characters and stories, not unlike Grand Lake. I'll have many more photos and stories in some future blogs. It's good to be home and, of course, woke up to be greeted by some fresh snow this morning. Now it's back to work.... oh well, guess it had to happen sometime.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Otis! A Sheep in Wolf's Clothing

Man how they grow up! Remember when Otis was just a pup? Well he's almost grown now and I'm not sure, but maybe he should be holding Bob up now. OK, there's probably been times he's had to hold Bob up and maybe even drive home. I think Otis is part Malamute, Shepard, Retriever and Wolf. Alright, he's a Heinz 57.
Bob Nichols aka. Chocolate Bob, Nine Toed Bob, and other names I
probably shouldn't mention here, is the manager of the Lariat Saloon and Otis' faithful companion. Otis found Bob a couple years ago and they've been best friends ever since.

So next tme you're in "The Rope", say hi to the dynamic duo and maybe buy 'em a drink. (Otis likes Baileys and water)

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Travel Section

Who: Carol Ann, Maloyski & Debbie Damn-it

Where: Grand Lake Colorado

Best Meal: Lariat Slider

Best Hike: From Pancho & Lefty's to the Lariat

Favorite Drink: Helicopter

Things to see and do: All of the above

Favorite Song: 'Ripplin' Waters'

It was good to see three of the 'Ladies of the Lake' out and about today! Someday I'll have to write about all the great things the 'Ladies' do for our little community.

The sun's out today and even though it's still a little chilly(28f), it feels much warmer with a little Sol shinning down on the snow covered landscape. I got home from town and was greeted by a moose lounging in the backyard right next to Mary Jo's house! He's still out there as I write this and the magpies are sitting on him and picking away at his winter coat. Just another day here in 'The Hood'.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Fatter Saturday

What's better than Fat Tuesday? Fatter Saturday!! This was the fourth annual fundraiser hosted by the Lariat and put on by our good friends Doug and Julie Husa along with many others who cooked up an incredible spread of Cajun food. They served Gumbo, Catfish, Crawdads, Boudin Balls, Crab Cakes to fire up the pallet and a whole bunch of tasty treats including Kathy Whitman's King Cake( A.J. Rhone got the baby prize baked inside). Brad Pregeant and Peggy Mann joined me on stage for an afternoon of great music and food! Everything was donated and all proceeds went to the Mountain Family Center to help with needing families in Grand County. Thanks to everybody who helped preparing the fantastic food and to all of those who enjoyed a great afternoon and donated to the kitty. I can't wait for the fifth annual Fatter Saturday!

Friday, March 7, 2008

SEEEE...WEEED, seaweed, seaweed, SEEE..WEED!!

A boat and a bicycle. That's all you need to get around on Caye Caulker besides hoofing it. The only vehicles on the island are a police car and the truck that delivers that wonderful Belican Beer!

It only takes about 20 minutes to walk from one end of the island to the other, if you don't stop to get a bottle of the local drink. The guy that sells it uses a tricycle like this one and rides around the main drag yelling 'SEAWEED... seaweed, seaweed, seeeeee..weeeeed'!!!!! It's a combination of milk, seaweed and spices and is very tasty. It's kind of an island energy drink and not bad with a little 'One Barrel' rum mixed in. I can hardly wait to get there and swig down an ice cold one!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Born Under a Wandering Star

This Winter's been colder than a welldigger's ___, colder than a witch's ___, it's been COLD! I guess it's time to blow this pop stand and find a warm beach somewhere.(sounds like a song, doesn't it?)

Speaking of 'Somewhere with a Beach', Ronnie Roo has resurected the old gal from the CD cover and has entered her in a T-Shirt contest (not a wet T-Shirt contest I hope). You can check it out and leave a comment to vote for it at... or her web

You should also check out her blog at

Well, like my friend Ben (pictured here), I was also born under a wandering star and will be seeking out that place in the sun soon. I might try to keep the blog going while I'm gone, but if not, I'll start it up again when and if I return. In the meantime...keep those cards and letters coming!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Back in the Studio

As you can see, my faithful engineer is back at the sound board and I'm back in the studio again. The first cut I'm recording is 'Ribbons of Hope', a song I wrote last fall for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure here in Grand Lake. Hopefully, besides Tigger at the controls, I'll be joined by local artists such as Peggy Mann, Larry Bishop, Walter Holland and Brad Pregeant. I've already laid down some bass, guitar, banjo and rhythm tracks.
It's been entirely too long since I got in to record anything and I'm excited about the new songs. I can't wait to get it together so Ray and I can start mixing.Look for more progress on the new CD (tentatively titled 'No Bad Days') and possibly some rough cuts on this blog or on my website. Also...Happy Birthday Rene!!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

He Ain't 'Heavy Metal', He's My Brother

'Washboard Annie's got nothing on my brother, 'Real Elderly'! It's not a well known fact, but he and Chuck Schmuck were called upon by President Regan to "clean up the music business". So with Chuck on the washtub bass and Real on the washboard, they toured the country scouring all the well known Honky Tonks and Dive's until they happened upon the one and only Lariat Saloon.

It was there that I first hooked up with the 'Mr. Cleans' of percussion and formed the core of one of music's legendary bands, 'The Elderly Brothers'. After a while, Real took to playing the harmonica and was replaced on washboard by Alligator Al. This lasted until Barky Lew gave Al's washboard the 'Federal Buoyancy Test' in Grand Lake one night and therefore ended the washboard phase of our musical progression.

Real still makes it up to sit in on harmonica now and then and was on hand last Saturday night for 'Jimmy Buffett Night'. Though a series of conga players, guitar players, keyboard and tambourine and even the dreaded 'Egg Shakers' have come and gone, my brother is still with me keeping the crowd going. His secret harmonica cleaning solution of Canadian Club and water keeps both he and the harmonica in 'TUNE'. Thanks brother, and hopefully we have a few more 'road trips' still left in us!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Get in the 'Way Back Machine' Sherman

Here's a blast from the past! Remember when the Lariat had the old stagecoach out front? Back in the 1980's they used it for the Buffalo Bar-B-Q parade and displayed it out front during the summer.
It only lasted for a summer or two and then Gene and D.W. moved it back to Sombrero Stables. Also in the picture you can see the Grand Lake Pharmacy, maybe even before Kent Laflin owned it. I believe at one time a guy named Vic owned the pharmacy and it was only opened in the summer months, as were most of the businesses in town at one time.
I'm not sure but I think the horses in the picture were Dick and M.P. Himes' trusty steeds.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

I Survived Another 'Jimmy Buffett Night'

Well, another 'Jimmy Buffett Night' has come and gone. It's right up there with Forth of July and New Years Eve as one of the busiest nights of the year for the 'Lariat'.
Last night was no exception and proved to be a great night for Parrot Heads! My brother 'Real' Elderly was on hand to help me with the music on his harmonica and 'Nine Toed Bob' made an appearance, but then he got high, then he got high, then he got high!
We always do this night of Jimmy Buffett songs the first Saturday of March and it helps to get over the pain of 'Cabin Fever'. Margarita specials and Land Shark beer got everybody primed for action. It was a great night, so thanks to everybody for dressing up in Aloha shirts and Leis to help break up a long and frosty Winter. See ya all next year!!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Leeper Speaks Out on Leap Day

So , if Leeper sees his shadow on Leap Day, do we have four more years of Winter? Well I've been a little annoyed about this whole Leap-Day business so I thought I'd check with the one and only Leeper. He's the head of 'The Breakfast Club' and always seems to know what's going on. Yesterday, February 29th, I tracked down Leeper and asked him what he thought about Leap-Day. He said he thought it was all a bunch of hooey and he was not responsible. He said if it was up to him, the extra day that occurs every four years wouldn't be in February, when it's below zero most of the time, but rather in June or July. Why not an extra day in the summer and why every four years. Why not get rid of February all together and just add a week to every month from June to September! Well it makes perfectly good sense to me and I admit I have to agree with Leeper. Let's have more Summer and less Winter, we've got enough. Anyway, February's history now and we don't have to worry about this issue for another four years. Thanks for the advice Leeper!