Rushing to finish my Thanksgiving cooking list, Pumpkin Pie, Frosted Apple Pie Slices, Sweet-potato Puff, and a bowl of Romaine Crunchy Salad, I veered out of control.
I pumped the brakes with the newsflash on TV, “Just in! ALL Romaine lettuce – RECALLED!”
Yikes! Hubby dashed to return the Romaine we had chilling in fridge, and I headed to our favorite neighbor grocer for gourmet lettuce to replace Romaine.
I dashed to make up lost time, and hurriedly flipped on my KitchenAid to whip the sweet potatoes, using both hands at once, I flipped the speed to high with my left hand and I pulled the lock lever on the mixing bowl with my right hand. Unfortunately, I had not seated the bowl into the locking groove at the bottom of the mixer stand.
My sweet potatoes went flying. The bowl flipped and wedged against its base at a 45-degree angle. The motor froze.
I panicked, of course. Fortunately hubby saw this as an opportunity to employ his engineering skills and ran to the garage for tools.
“Rufus” insists on wearing his favorite Christmas ornaments for you. As far as lineage is concerned, Rufus, the mule, is a distant cousin to “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer.”
Rufus is not your traditional mule. He’s from the Ozarks. He’s a powerhouse and a trend setter who prefers argyle sweaters to bib overalls and a life of eating sorghum to pulling the treading pole of the sorghum press.
Birth of Rufus
Rufus was born in an art studio. Darrell’s [Wiskur] imagination was in Christmas mode as he sketched and carved patterns and characters with Peter Engler, a famous wood-carver and friend.
Peter designed Santa carvings after the style of St. Nicholas or Father Christmas. His Santa’s were coveted by tourists to his woodcarving shop in Branson, Mo. He was always carving, but no Santa of his ever sat on the shelf with a For Sale tag. Rather, they were sold by special requests from a long waiting list of tourists who became friends and collectors of his delightful characters.
The mule is noble in Missouri, so Darrell whittled twigs for antlers and added a bulbous nose and a Santa hat. It wasn’t long before Rufus the mule emerged as Rufus the red nose reindeer!
Home in the Ozarks
Twinkling lights (over four million at Silver Dollar City, Mo., alone) outnumber neon lights in the Ozarks during the holidays. Here, deer wander into our yards and nibble on shrubs and rose bushes; buffalo graze on ridges at our premier golf course (Buffalo Ridge, Branson, Mo.); and mules hold a place of distinction on farms and at theme parks, pulling plows and grinding sorghum. It’s a perfect home for Rufus.
It’s Christmas Eve, and I saw Rufus peeking out the barn window, hoping to catch a glimpse of cousin Rudolph at the head of Santa’s sleigh.
Merry Christmas and the happiest of newest New Year’s!
I am an Ozark tourist every day. It’s one of the perks of living in Harrison AR, a burgeoning city in the Ozarks.
Because I have lived in the Ozarks for over 30 years, I officially attribute “hillbilly” to my nomenclature.
Travelers flock to the Ozarks because (1) it is an amazing place for family vacations and (2) it is within a day’s drive from the big cities of St. Louis, Chicago, Kansas City, Dallas, Oklahoma City, etc.
Over 71 million tourists have passed through the gates of Silver Dollar City since it opened in 1960.
Shoe Essentials for an Ozark Tourist
Campers and RVs roll into Branson, filled with fishermen, nature lovers, golfers, and show goers. When the tourist season rolls around, I become a tourist, too — I throw on my flip flops and sun glasses and off I go. That’s the beauty of living in a tourist region.
Further, in a mountainous terrain filled with lakes and rivers means countless occasions for entertainment. Suggested shoe wear: cowboy boots, wading boots, hiking boots … flip-flops, boating shoes, water shoes, sandals, tennis shoes, loafers, golf shoes, pumps, slippers, and heels.
When you shop for a pair of travel shoes that seem comfortable at first try, ask yourself, “Are they comfortable enough for a day at Silver Dollar City?”
I heard the rustle of leaves today coming from outside our patio door. It was rather unexpected, but I am sure it came as no surprise to the birds.
I had grown accustomed to the green leaves and the chirping, basking in the summer sun. Now the leaves are issuing an S.O.S. with their crackling sounds to signal everyone, winter is coming.
As soon as the trees shrug off their lifeless leaves, they will hunker down for winter with their bony branches, making ideal perches for bird watching.
With autumn in the air, Darrell added bird seed to his shopping list. It’s time to show some southern hospitality, and fill the feeders.
We live in an urban/ suburban area and feel honored when birds choose our yard for a winter respite. The titmouse, who grace us with their presence year round, have a greater presence in the winter when they flock together. They put on a winter show when they flutter in the bird bath on icy days.
I’m curious now that fall has arrived as to what birds will befriend us this year when migration goes into full swing.