Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Not Only A Right, But A Responsibility

This photograph of Alexandra Knight with her son, Truett, appears in the book “Chicks with Guns.” “I’m so eager to teach my boys everything I know,” the Houston mom writes in the book. “Knowing that one day they will be teaching their boys or girls the same thing with the same gun makes me smile.” Taken from an article written by Laura T Coffey, 9.28.2001 on

Years ago, while traveling back from the Reno Rodeo in Reno, Nevada, on my way to Elko, Nevada; I had a blow-out on the front driver's side of my extended-cab pickup. It pulled me into the barrow pit, and the pickup slid halfway down a very steep embankment. The angle that the truck was left in, made it very difficult to change the tire.

There were two other things that made this bad situation worse:
1) It was 2 am
2) I had my four-year-old daughter and year-old son with me.

I knew how to change a tire - but like I said - the truck was sitting at a bad angle and jacking it up was fairly dangerous. One young man stopped to ask if I needed help when I was just getting the bad tire off. He said something about it being at a "hairy angle", and the next thing I knew, he was speeding off on his merry little way! By the time I got the tire completely changed, a highway patrolman stopped. Good thing! He had to hook up to me and give me a pull out of the barrow pit, as the truck was just a 2-wheel drive.

When he first stopped, he of course checked over the situation. He looked me square in the face and asked, "What do you have with you for protection?" I felt sheepish when I had to answer that all I had was a tire iron. "You need to have more than that with you, if you know what I mean!", he exclaimed. I knew from the concerned look on his face and the tone in his voice, that he strongly felt it to be my responsibility to not only care for my own safety, but the safety of the kids. "I would hate myself if I came upon you too late to help you!", he continued. I thought long and hard on his words, went home, and wrote this poem:

Not Only A Right, But A Responsibility By Eileen Phillips

"I just don't think I could touch a gun!"
Said the woman with a shudder;
"I didn't grow up in a gun atmosphere",
She ended with a mutter.

I have heard this conversation,
And never knew what to say before;
I have never quite agreed with it,
But arguing is such a chore!

There is a time when one should,
Give an opinion albeit humble;
For I feel that if the world goes on like this,
Our society will certainly crumble!

We depend upon the government
To protect, provide and preserve;
To pay for the unexpected,
And to "give us what we deserve"!

We're a people of wants and needs,
And expect others to get us through strife;
But do we have a God-given right,
To ask another to trade in his own life?

Should a policeman or woman on duty,
Have all that laid at THEIR door?
Or should we as individuals,
Do a little something more?

We have the responsibility,
And we certainly have the right;
To protect, provide, and preserve,
Our families, our freedom, our rights!

And yes, it's work to learn to do that,
It takes a lot of practice and time;
Self-protection is a skill,
That could prevent a crime!

It's true, that old saying,
"God helps those who help themselves!"
One certainly cannot do that,
With a gun tucked away on a shelf!

We wouldn't think to starve ourselves,
We look upon suicide with distaste;
And yet we turn our noses to guns,
And would give up our life in such haste!

We have the responsibility,
Each and every one;
To keep ourselves alive,
And that could mean with a gun!

There is some really useful information on this site:

Thursday, January 26, 2012

What's In A Name?

What's in a name? Well, sometimes it's all about the marketing. For instance - my Dad's brand is "IF" and he registers all of his AQHA horses with IF in their names. My barrel horse's registered name is "IF I Am A Dandy". However, I shortened it to "Roy". Why? Well - long story - one of my favorite movies is Quigley Down Under, starring Tom Selleck, as "Quigley". "Crazy Cora", who latches on to Quigley in the movie, insisted on calling him Roy. I just love when she yells "I just knew you'd come to save me Roy!", in her exaggerated southern drawl. Quigley tries to correct her, but eventually just gives in and lets her call him Roy. So - although my horse's name is not Roy, I insist on calling him that - and he just lets me!
Then, there is "LeRoy" - because he is Roy's little brother. So he's like a little Roy!

And we have "Domino", our registered Hereford bull. Although the reason for the name is not visually apparent, but it is when you see one of his calves! (Notice the spot on the calf's face?)

There is "Rubber". He also has a registered name - but earned his given name. He got his bump on his face from a fit that he threw one day in the horse trailer. That, and a few other episodes, where he bucked and/or threw his fits caused my husband to name him "Rubber" because, and I quote, "He is sure-fire evidence that his father should have used a rubber!"
Of course, if you've read my previous blog about my dog -  "Yekce" (Yeck-Chay). That is the Muskogee Creek Indian word for Stray Dog:
Then there's my husband Rex - which, of course, is code for "Wrecks":

And, my absolute pride and joy - my granddaughter, Lilly! Is it not obvious? This child is definitely a Lilly!! :)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Stray Dog

If there's one thing I have learned over the years: Prayer works! I learn this over and over again - sometimes in big ways, and sometimes in smaller ways.

When my daughter moved out on her own and went back to Montana, I was devastated. When she told me that I was going to be a grandma, I felt my life had spun out of control! I just knew that soon I would be wearing Depends, and dying my hair blue! GRANDMA? How could this be? I picture me as a 21-year-old; and yet scare the hell  myself every time I pass a mirror! I'm not kidding - it is a shock when I see my tired-ass face, in the light of day, in the rear view mirror of my Bronco!

Last summer, I struggled with all these changes. I thought about life,  how short it can be, and how mine was soon to be over. I started to feel overwhelmed with a kind of grief. No more babies of my own, no more school for the kids, yadda, yadda. I prayed on more than one occasion that I would have something come into my life to care for; to spend time with.

One hot, July day I was taking a short cut over a lonely, dirt road. It was 106 degrees and I had no air conditioning, so had the window down. I received a text from Rex and had pulled over to reply. I thought I heard a baby cry and shut the engine off so I could hear better. I heard the sound again. I got out of the Bronco and crossed the road, entering the brush. And there she was. A little black puppy, not more than five or six weeks old. Too young to wean, with a cracked and dry nose, and very unhappy. I thought to myself "a mutt!" And planned to take  her to the nearest rescue shelter. When I got her to the car, I opened her mouth to inspect. Black roof. She looked to have some Border Collie in her. "I just can't keep her", I told myself. After all, I had been waiting to find a Red Heeler. I have never gotten along with Border Collies. However, when she crawled into my lap and cuddled against me, I started to realize that she may be an answer to my prayers. I silently thanked my Heavenly Father, and made a promise to care for her.

Since moving to Oklahoma, I have spent some time with members of the Creek Indian tribe. I have fallen in love with the people, their language, their generosity, and their willingness to share their culture. I researched and found that Yekce (pronounced Yeck-Chay) means Stray Dog. What a fitting name for her! And so that is how Yekce became my companion, my partner. She comes with me everyday now, seated on the passenger side of my Bronco. She has already been to Montana, traveled to some barrel races, and listens to my every thought as though I really make sense!

 Here is Chenoa with Yekce on my fall trip to Montana.

Stray Dog, or Yekce, is God's answer to my prayers. She is someone to care for and I'm truly thankful for her! She is my constant reminder that God does care about my silly requests and worries!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Where did "Galloping Gertie" come from? She came from a combination of my dear Grammy (or "Jinks") and a neighbor, her friend, Gertie Brewer. In addition, Gertie is comprised of all the grand ol' gals I have had the honor of knowing over the years: Brownie Smith, Floydena Garrison, Charlotte Priddy, Carrie Nett, my Aunt Kathy, and my dear Grandma Moss. Others whom I've always admired, but did not know: Betty Steele, and Sammy Fancher. Gertie is the part of me that cannot control my language, cannot be tactful or lady-like, and does not care if I have hay in my hair and shit on my shoes when I go into the grocery store!

She made her first appearance in the Elko Daily Free Press, Elko, Nevada, in 1997.  We were living on a 200,000 plus acre ranch and there was always lots to talk about! I told stories just the way I wanted, each and every week. And they printed them - four letter words and all! I've decided Gertie has more stories to tell, so she's been revived!

I spend a lot of time by myself everyday - although I do call my girly friends on my cell phone while I'm out in the field or on my horse. The other day I called a friend after getting the snot knocked out of me while I was graining the cows. (Oh how I HATE to walk through my horned Hereford cows with a 50 lb sack of grain!) I didn't realize how she took the call. Later, she expressed how wrong she felt it was for me to have to grain by myself and that a man could handle it much easier than I.

I know I get knocked around sometimes - and that at times my days are frustrating - but I really do love it and told her so. "You LIKE it?", she asked with her head cocked sideways. Then she looked down and said "Hmmm". She understood.

It's true. I may complain and I may cuss and rant and rave - but I really do love it. When I start complaining - it's all in fun.  So that is where Gertie comes from. She's a combination of those that I've always admired; what I do; and what I hope to be someday.

My days are broke into blocks. 5-6 hours of feeding and graining; 1-2 hours of housework (yuck!); and 1-2 hours of working with my horses. Not necessarily in that order. Nearly everyday there is something that happens, or just something that pops into my head. It may be in poem form or story form - you never know!

Here's my feed truck/tractor:

I load the grain in the back and pull the bales with a chain, hooked to the trailer hitch. Works like a charm! (Well, most of the time!) We have cows in three different locations - and it's a 40 mile round trip. My dog Yekce (Yeck-chay is Creek for Stray Dog) always comes with me. I'll have a picture of her next time :)