Sunday, December 16, 2007

12/15/07 Cowboy Chuckwagon & a Dance

I'd like to tell you that the weather here in Arizona is delightful. If I did that I'd be lying to you. It's chilly here. No, that isn't right . It's cold. No, that doesn't quite cut it either. It's freakin' COLD! Where is the sunny, warm weather we expected here in Arizona? I think its in Florida! Needless to say the temperatures here in Arizona City are certainly a topic of conversation among the winter residents. Our day time highs are barely in the 50's and our night time temps are in the 30's. This is NOT what we came here for! We have to keep telling ourselves its winter but even that doesn't help. We can only hope this is a cold snap and that our days in the 70's again aren't that far off.

This is our last day of work for this week. Today we had to set up the Carnaval Room for the country/western dance we're having tonight. Tables and chairs for 120 were set up and then our day was pretty much done.

This afternoon we just stayed in and kept warm and then it was time for us to dress for a Chuckwagon dinner at the Pinal Cowboy Church. Our next door neighbors, Don and LaVon invited us along with neighbors, Dave and Darlene to go to a cowboy dinner with them. Don is our park chaplain. Don and his wife are members of a traveling ministry and live full time in their 5th wheel traveling wherever they are needed.

A little after four we loaded into the trucks for the ride to the church in Casa Grande. Now keep in mind how chilly I told you it is here. We arrived at the church and the realization that this dinner is going to be outdoors really set in! It wasn't too bad when we first got there because the sun was still up but boy oh boy the temps really dropped when it went down!

Here is a picture of an authentic 1890's chuckwagon that was used for cooking the dessert.
The horses that got it here. Well, they are tethered to a horse trailer so I'm sure they were just here to bring the chuckwagon to the field for the "show" part of the dinner.

Another view of the chuckwagon.

The cooks preparing Apple Cobbler in cast irons pots for our dessert.

Soon it was time to get in line for chow. I didn't know what we were having so imagine my surprise when the first thing I see are flour tortillas and red beans. I don't eat red beans and I've never eaten a tortilla! Where is my favorite standby the good ol' American hamburger???? I nudged LaVon and told her I didn't know how to eat a tortilla or what I was supposed to do with it. The ladies in the serving line heard me and even LaVon looked a little surprised when I said this. Oh well, tortillas just aren't part of the standard dinner fare in the suburbs on the east coast. The lady on the left in the picture below handed me one and said to try it. My first impression was that it was "bland", not a whole lot of taste to it. They told me I could put the brisket that is further down the line in it or the red beans. Uh...I don't think so.

I did take some of the brisket and the potato salad and cole slaw they had to offer and all three were very good. Bob, on the other hand, was in hog heaven! He was just lovin' this! Between the food and bluegrass music playing in the background I don't know what made him happier. Bob would have been so in his element had he been born in the times of the cowboys and the wild west.

The chow line....

There was a flatbed trailer set up with a set of drums on it so we knew live music was going to be happening later in the evening. Several firepits were dug and huge logs were in place for the fires that would keep everyone warm.
With the main course out of the way we were anxiously waiting for the apple cobbler to finish cooking. All the ingredients were put into the cast iron pots and hot coals from the fire laid on the lids of the pots and then stacked.
We made our way to the chuckwagon when we saw the cobbler was done. Oh my gosh, was it ever good! It was well worth standing in the cold to get this warm treat. Until we were done eating it that is. LaVon, Darlene and I soon made good use of the truck heater in Dave and Darlene's Chevy.

Bob and I couldn't stay much past six since today is a workday for us and we did have the dance back at the park that we had to attend and give a hand with any last preperations that had to be done. That was our plan anyway. On the way back we ran into a detour and made our way through that and then had to wait for a train to pass by so we didn't get back to the park as soon as we would have liked. We still had to change clothes so a stop at home was a must.

We made it to the dance at about 7:15 so we weren't too, too late. We had a pretty good turn out. Our DJ for the evening was Cactus Carl. Carl and his wife, Sandy,who is my line dance instructor, are winter residents in the park. They spent their morning picking out the music for tonight and printing the words that will be projected on the wall for an occasional sing a long. This couple is one of my favorites in the park. They are just so much fun.

Sandy and Cactus Carl

A few random shots of park residents at the dance tonight.

All too soon the dance was over and we again assumed our workamper roles because the country dance hall had to be transformed into a church, if you will, for Sunday morning church services. Quite a few of the residents stayed behind also and in 25 minutes we had the pulpit, chairs and hymnals in place.

Another busy, but fun, day in the lives of these fulltimers.

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