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Cowbelles lunch was a rousing good time

Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune

A steady crowd flows through a food line during the annual Cattlewomen’s Chuck Wagon luncheon.


On Thursday the Madera County Cattlewomen held its annual Chuck Wagon luncheon, and it did not disappoint.

While the deep-pit beef sandwiches are intended to be the star of the meal, and they are, I much prefer the homemade salads and desserts donated by members. I am not a fan of green salad. From my perspective green salad is rabbit food.

The best salads at the luncheon were a wide variety of fruit concoctions and ambrosia. I am not a fan of potato or macaroni salad because the dressing on these mixtures tends to be mayonnaise, mustard or vinegar based. I don’t know how many dozen devilled eggs were served but there were dozens and dozens of them.

The only condiment I eat is ketchup and I have often wondered: if it weren’t red, would I eat it?

When I was a baby my mother would make tuna sandwiches for my brothers and me. I refused to eat anything made with condiments or pickles. She had to reserve some plain tuna for me before she mixed it up. I’m a very picky eater which is pretty hilarious since I have always been a plus size gal.

At the Cowbelle luncheon the diners arrive in waves. There is the 11 a.m. crowd and another wave that arrives at noonish. And then there is the 1 o’clock group arriving, based on what time the people take their lunch breaks.

The members work three solid hours just serving meals. They arrive at the fairgrounds early and it is late afternoon before they have it all cleaned up and can finally go home.

This event is a very enjoyable social occasion. Our photographer, Wendy Alexander, and I arrived with the 11 a.m. crowd. I selected a place for us to sit, put my purse in my chair and didn’t think about it until it was time to leave. It may be naïve but I am comfortable with this practice at many of the parties hosted by local service clubs. I sure hope Madera never gets to the point where this no longer works.


Since my recent visit to the Charles M. Schultz Museum and Research Center, I have been reading a lot about the cartoonist, including many of his comics. I was especially delighted while reading the comics from the year I was born and to see the strip that appeared on the day I was born.

Looking at his almost 50-year body of work you meet each of the characters as they originally appeared. If you have ever felt that Charlie Brown doesn’t deserve the horrible treatment he receives from his band of friends, you should read some of the early strips. In the beginning of Peanuts, Charlie Brown was quite the little knucklehead.

At the top of this week’s column is an artist’s rendering, courtesy of Laurie Brooks, of how I might look were I a Peanuts character.

“Monday’s child is fair of face, Tuesday’s child is full of grace, Wednesday child is full of woe and Thursday’s child has far to go, Friday’s child is loving and giving, Saturday’s child works hard for a living, but the child that’s born on the Sabbath Day is fair and wise and good and gay.”

I was born on a Sunday and when the poem was written gay meant happy. I have a first cousin on my mother’s side whose name is Gay and she is none too happy about how that word has been hijacked.

Mother Goose is credited with the Monday’s Child nursery rhyme devised as a fortune telling game and to teach children to remember the days of the week, according to


If I have offended anyone with the term “hijacked,” I apologize. Many perfectly good words have been hijacked in the name of political correctness.

One of those words is “secretary,” as a job description. Apparently administrative assistant is the preferred nomenclature. Secretary’s day, which occurs on Wednesday the last full week of April, is now known as administrative professional day. What a load of nonsense.

When I was a little girl we lived way out in the country and there were no kids my age in the neighborhood. As a result I spent a lot of time playing and entertaining myself. Playing secretary was one of my favorite games. I made a typewriter out of cardboard boxes and typed a great deal of imaginary correspondence on it. In 1965 my parents rented a typewriter from Madera Business Machines when my older brother Brian Hill took a high school typing class. In addition to the typewriter, my parents rented a clarinet from Jerry Venturi’s House of Music, when I thought I wanted to be in the band. Renting instead of buying proved to be a good idea because I lost interest in the clarinet fairly soon.

The typewriter proved to be a much better investment. While the Vietnam War raged in Southeast Asia, Brian worked as a clerk-typist in Korea. Our older brother Rocky Hill (actually Oliver Ralph Hill, Jr.) was already in Vietnam and the military doesn’t send siblings into the same war zone. My family was very blessed during this period. While Rocky initially was stationed in Vietnam to fix helicopter radios after he was in country for about six months, the solider that managed the Enlisted Men’s Club was discharged. He spent the rest of his tour-of-duty as a bartender. He also extended his tour in Vietnam at the relatively safe job until after Brian was discharged.

The other thing I remember best from that time period was the seven-inch portable television Rocky brought home from Vietnam for me.

While in 2017 a television in a high school student’s bedroom is fairly common, in 1971 it was quite a luxury. I also had my own phone line. It was the only thing I wanted for Christmas my sophomore year.

My father thought it was a good idea because I would no longer tie up his line for hours-on-end yakking with my friends.

The first telephone installed in the home Fred and I shared was on an eight-party line. Unfortunately there were teenagers on the party line too so the phone was practically useless. The irony of kids that weren’t mine tying up my phone line was not lost on me.

Have a great weekend.

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