Welcome to Chuckwagon supper in Flying w Ranch! It is dinner followed by country singing in cowboy style. We weren't sure if children would enjoy it and also they were complaining that they didn't get enough time at the pool and so we decided to leave Mom and kids behind at the hotel and left for the supper - just the two of us.
It was a lovely evening, the temperature had started to become pleasant and bearable, it was still day light and we managed to click the picture of the entrance post this time. Inside the ranch there were several activities going on. Ranch homes from the past were on exhibits, some were set up as stores inside where we could buy memorabilia and snacks and such. Still most rooms were kept intact to understand how people lived in this part of the world not so long ago. What struck me the most was how closely it resembled my Grandma's home - a sewing machine in one corner, a cot against the wall, a dress hanging by the rope tied in one corner across the room, a Bible by the bedside shelf, wooden toys here and there... etc. I took some pride knowing my Grandma lived in style - that too western cowboy style :)
In another corner of the ranch they had a performance by American Indians (Red Indians as we know them). They danced and flipped in the air to the heavy drum beats, did some trick with sticks and hula hoops and what not! It was amazing. There was a huge crowd enjoying the show - only till they passed out baskets for donations. It was quite interesting to see most of the crowd dispersing quickly clutching their wallet. To be honest Israel too pulled me along - saying we will be late for the dinner... reluctantly I followed all the while feeling sorry for the performers and kidding myself for not bringing my purse with me.
Sharp at 7:00 the bell rang announcing dinner will be served soon as we rushed to find our tables. There was a brief introduction of the history of the Chuckwagon dinner over the past 60 years and instructions on how food will be served and how to avoid a mayhem finding our tables after getting our food etc. Grace was said. The tables were color coded and we were called in according to the colors. So when red was called we filed in with our fellow table mates to the kitchen.
I must tell you about the kitchen. It was a familiar site with aluminium pots and pans and utensils - very similar to the kitchen in some Children's home I have seen when we were little. There was a tall stick with a sickle attached to one end - that could be used to pluck coconuts or other fruits from tall trees - leaned against a wall, there was another bigger sickle kept at the window sill top, smokey room with very little opening called a "window", it was a sight to see. It was an all too familiar scene from decades ago when my Uncle served in the Children's home ministry my Grandpa had helped establish.
The plates and cups were also made of aluminium, we grabbed ours and stood in the line to be served, a decent piece of steak or beef or chicken depending on your choice, a steaming baked potato wrapped in foil, home cooked corn cakes, apple sauce, biscuits and butter and coffee or lemonade or apple cider. The portions were huge and the flavor was incredible. We got back to our table and started to devour the meal. Our table mates had joined and we had exchanged nothing more than smiles and nodding of the heads. I was like 'Hmm... way different from NJ where people would start a conversation right off the bat!'
Sometime during the meal there was a little tug at my shirt by the little girl at the table next to me. Her question was direct: "Where are you from?" My response was: "New Jersey! Where are you from?" Her: "Kansas!" (causing her family to join in and say hello.
Me a typical Jersey girl started off at once: "Where in Kansas?" "How far was the drive?" "Have you come here before?" "What is your name?" "Which grade you are in?" etc etc.
She was Aliya from Kansas and was going to 5th grade, the oldest of six siblings and they too were here in Colorado Springs for a wedding. By then the whole family had joined the conversation and we were introduced to two sets of grand parents and the shy siblings. Aliya's grandfather is a farm owner from Kansas and he gave us a open invitation to keep in touch anytime we visit Kansas.
Soon the show started - cowboys singing beautiful western songs playing guitar and violin.They would poke fun at each other between the songs and it was hilarious. Some of my favorite songs were Lonesome Wind, El Paso, Western Skies, Cool Clear Water, Western Soul etc. Each song would take you to the scene and captivate your attention to what was happening around you - the cowboy who was in love with a Mexican maiden, the thirsty cowboy who looks around for some water - cool clear water, the cowboy who had no other company than the lonesome wind, etc.
I loved it all. Israel too. The fun part was when they taught us how to do cowboy yodel. What I learnt I'll pass it on to you folks with a knock-knock joke to help you...
Who is there?
Little old lady
Little old lady who?