November 15, 2008

Weldon's Saddle Shop and Western Wear

I think I’ve mentioned that I’m a displaced Yankee? I’ll let you in on a secret, I’m not just a Yankee, I’m a New York Yankee.
Oh yeah. The yankiest of Yankees, I’ve been told.

That said, when I tell you Weldon’s Saddle Shop is fun for everyone – you can completely believe me. I mean, if there was ever a woman less naturally inclined to groove to a western wear and tack shop, I’d love to meet her. We could drink (gin) martinis, listen to NPR, and discuss Vanity Fair articles together.
Now, one of the best things about Weldon’s might be the first thing you notice – the pervasive and delicious smell of leather.
Oh man.
This is the smell Ralph Lauren couldn’t bottle.
This is the smell that makes anyone who isn’t a rock star buy hide pants.
This is the smell you want in your new car. (If, you know, you’re not an ethical vegetarian.)
This may be the smell that gets country-bar cowgirls hot and bothered.
If they’d just pump that intoxicating scent out into the square (like Mrs. Baird’s used to pump the smell of baking bread into a Ft. Worth underpass), I certainly would have found my way in sooner. 
As it was, I entered while on a quest for a Stetson.
Not for me! Oh no, no, no, no, nooooo (though I DO think I look rather fetching in one) – for my significant other (SO). A native Texan, and great lover of the outdoors, he has the perennial red neck to prove it. Prior to my entrance into his life, things like sauerkraut, mustard, angst, and sunscreen were unknown to him. As a concession to my constant worrying, he now wears a brimmed hat to work in the yard.
Sadly, that original hat is faded and falling apart, and, when worn with his preferred (shall we say ‘eclectic’) gardening ensemble, makes him look like Woody Allen. Only crazier.


No more.

So I suggested, a straw cowboy hat. And why not? Designed to take a beating in a truly tough job, and with a wide wrap-around brim, they’re not just practical, they’re culturally relevant.
And, can you imagine, they’re buy one, get one for a penny, right now!
Turns out they’re moving out the summer stuff for the winter/felt hats.
Go know.
Two hats turned out to be $40.01 for us.
(So it looks like there WILL be one for me to wear, whilst cutting irises…)
Even with that amazing sale, we ended up dropping around $80.
“How did that happen?” you ask.
Well, let me tell you.
Not only do they have hats, boots, and Cruel Girl jeans (don’t you just love that name?), they have a nice selection of kids stuff, appropriate for gifts. And Texas is one place you can still get local-ish gifts. You know what I mean? Even other parts of the country (and world) sort of understand and can be enchanted by the myth of Texas.
So even a non-native will be sending Texas-ana around the country as quick as she can.

**Hanukkah\Christmas Spoiler Alert**

Want to know what I found? HAPPY to share:
Tex and Sugar
L is for Lonestar: A Texas Alphabet

And don't miss the Texas Centennial antiques and life-size horse mannequin, sporting a beautiful sterling silver saddle and bridle. You could be a holiday hero delivering that, if the $15,000 price tag doesn't give you pause. While you're there, check out the vintage lunch boxes. I spotted a Roy Rogers and Dale Evans for $399. Yep - Weldon doesn't fool around with the collectibles! Go on; swing by and talk to him about them. You know that guy has some great stories.

November 9, 2008

Texas Jack

For those of you who are not native to Denton, to Texas, to the southwest, or, I’ve come to understand to ‘big sky country’, a jackalope is the rare cross between a jack rabbit and an antelope – resulting in a creature that looks like a large rabbit with a set of antlers. Feel free to look it up, if you don’t believe your friendly neighborhood Dentonista. OR, you can take it on faith that such an animal exists, if some artist would go to the trouble of combining barbecue (the national sport and religion of Texas) with the jackalope, to create a working smoker\BBQ altar.


Now I know you know I love Denton for the crazies; well I also love the free-spirited artists. And this here is an example not just of art, but craft. Art feeds your soul, but Texas Jack (and his creators) feed your, you know, stomach too.

I wish I could give you a sense of scale for this bad boy... Do you see the bar on his 'saddle' area, above the platform, on the right of the trailer? The platform is for the pit master to stand on, and the handle opens his smoking belly! Now, while you're at it, take a good look at old TJ. Delicacy prevents me from being too specific, but perhaps you’ll notice the grease drain/trap? The, ahem, anatomically correct trap? That’s a buck jackalope there, giving credence to the phrase “pure brass ones”.

I think this sculpture is so noteworthy, that I have been known to drive out of town visitors by. You want to see it too? Swing down Bolivar to Taliaferro Street some time soon, and hope he isn’t off competing in some cage match BBQ smackdown, or being bred by his handlers. Now wouldn’t that be something?