Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Harkin Back to Simpler Times at the Carson City Rendezvous

I can't believe it! I actually spelled "rendezvous" without looking. Like most French words, the spelling of "rendezvous" baffles me.

Like my spelling ability, many long for simpler times. Last weekend's Carson City Rendezvous was a reminder of simpler times -- times when men and women gathered to trade, tell stories and catch up on long past friendships.

Mountain men, Western entertainment and plenty of simple food filled the air at the 23rd annual gathering of people from distant times and places.

Three aspects of the rendezvous atmosphere drew me back for the third time -- country atmosphere, western music and food.

If there's one aspect of the rendezvous that impresses me it's the people. Scores of folks wandering around in garb reminiscent of simpler times, a time when the most complex aspect of their lives was the spelling of "rendezvous."

The rendezvous had something for everyone. Leather-clad Mountain Men and Pony Express riders with a Peacekeeper and double-barrel shotgun at the ready educated folk of a bygone era.

There's something for everyone: A fiddle contest under the watchful eye of national fiddle champ Randy Pollard, Cowgirl Tricks by Karen Quest and the Docie Do Band. My only regret was I didn't get to hear the fiddle contest this year because it was moved to a far away stage.

My favorite entertainment act of the day was Sourdough Slim of Paradise, California, graced the stage with his unique brand of cowboy song and humor.

I heard Sourdough last year for the first time. I listened as I cooked, but didn't walk over to the stage until the show was over. Tunes like Barnacle Bill and Frankie and Johnny from his sixth CD, Six-Guns 'n Sage, have entertained me since.

This year I heard his brand of light humor, including Sourdough's "recent trip to the bad side of town" where accordion-toting thieves busted the rear window of his rental car and deposited two accordions in the back seat. Like much of Sourdough's humor, hay bale seats and an accordion-loving crown add to its richness.

I've mastered the spelling of "rendezvous" for the first time in five decades. I'm already counting the day until the 24th Annual Carson City Rendezvous.

Maybe next year I'll work on "atmosphere" and "reminiscent."

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