I'm not sure you know this, but I'm sort of a big deal on Twitter (@KSZ714). I have 568 followers. Calm down. I'm not going to let the fame go to my head or anything, but I do feel the need to do a solid for my tweeps (that's twitter peeps) when the opportunity presents itself. One of my favorite gals is the ever-adorable author Gina Henning whose new release Going Pecans is making noise the world over. I'm sure that you're following her on Twitter and friends with her on FB, and you too have enjoyed emoji cocktails with her.
What? You don't know Gina? Well, stop reading right now and Contact her--she's all over the interweb: Facebook Author Page Twitter Website Goodreads
|Order your copy of the book here on Amazon link: Going Pecans|
So Gina has taken on the task of driving this crazy train, and I am thrilled to hop aboard with all of the others who are headed for Pecans, Crazy-town. I'm like a hobo on this train. I've been to Pistachios, Macadamias, Walnuts, Chestnuts, Cashews, and Almonds so often you could put me in a can, toss me on a shelf, and market me as mixed nuts.
The truth is, I'm a high school teacher of English. That's it. There's my story of Going Pecans. It started seventeen years ago, and the ride has never ended. Oh, I'm also a mother of two toddlers. Two girls--1 and 3. No need for specifics, right?
Since I happened to write a memoir about a time in my life when I was the conductor of my own little crazy train, I've decided to share an excerpt of my book for this blog hop. For those who don't know, I drove across the country alone in the summer of 2002 because I felt that my life was falling apart. I was Going Pecans--seriously. The weeks on the road allowed me to experience things that I had never encountered in my life, like seeing Old Faithful erupt, the awesomeness of Moab,Utah, the scariness of being alone in Burley, Idaho in a shady little motel, and the garish decor of Graceland. In this excerpt, I had arrived in Cody, Wyoming to find that the major entertainment for the night was--of all things--a rodeo! While I realize this might not seem too crazy to a large population of this country, it felt to me like I had entered another world. I couldn't believe it. It seemed crazy for a girl from a small town in Massachusetts. The night was one of the most entertaining escapes into a little slice of pecans that I had while on the road. It's a little more light-hearted than the rest of the book because there are so many ways to go nuts.
From Finding My Way Home: A Memoir about Life, Love, and Happiness by C.K. O'Neil
For the first time in my life I watched in awe as live men in Wranglers and cowboy hats saddled upon ferocious beasts fighting to maintain balance upon their wild backs. Others galloped on horseback with their lariats swinging wildly through the air chasing after the fearful calves racing to safety. It was the makings for a Marlboro commercial where Stetson men and women competed for the lead role.
Wrangler and Dodge banners decorated the stadium. The event blasted off with a parade of horses circling the arena. Upon each horse sat a man, woman, or child proudly carrying a flag representing a sponsor, an honor to our country, or a symbol of the wild west. A clown with puffy hair beneath a red cowboy hat wore a white polka-dot shirt with extra large overalls and oversized cowboy boots. He wheeled around his red cart of tricks to begin the show. He was silly, but then again, he was a clown. I giggled at first and then joined in with the roaring laughter of the crowd. In a few moments, he exitd right and the announcer introduced the first hero of the evening.
A loud rumbling ring released the metal gates to the left. To my surprise a man on horseback charged out alongside a running bull. He finagled himself close enough to grab hold of the bull’s horns then lunged his body somehow straddling both beasts. Instantly he swung his legs from horse to bull and tried to steady himself on the back of the angered creature who snorted and bucked wildly. Within moments, the cowboy crashed down and the crowd gasped, then released a slow exhale.
A series of events from barebacking to steer wrestling, barrel racing, and bull riding continued. Between each heroic feat the silly clown offered comic relief. I enjoyed a beer and popcorn as I took in this sampling of life in the West. Another bell, the gates burst again. This time an angry bull with a strapping cowboy on his back bucked wildly about the arena. The bull was shreiking and mad, yet the man rode him with determination. He believed he would win. It was a contest of man and beast, and this wild animal wanted the man off his back. The bull dueled with impressive strength and jumped with the sole intention of propeling his opponent off of him. In all of this tossing and jerking about, the cowboy never lost his hat. It was impressive, but it was also the final performance of the rodeo.
That evening I thought about the vitality of the show I had seen, and the danger and risk involved in the daily lives of these cowboys and cowgirls. To the audience, these strapping riders appear invincible. I watched them all enter the ring, battle the beasts, and exit victorious. As with most people, it was their strength and fortitude that I saw, but their battered bodies and behind-the-scenes defeats are not showcased in the stadium. I’ll never know the stories of those who were so severely beaten by the bulls that they were rendered crippled. For it is only when the body has been beaten that others can see the physical pains we suffer. We all, at some point, appear to the world to be something other than who we are—stronger, more confident, more stoic, more at ease. Yet appearances are not always what they seem. Outside of a rodeo, few have the courage to admit that they are battling an internal beasts.
Going Pecans Blog Hop
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