When the Cactus Is In Bloom

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"When I grow up we're going to live on a ranch. Dad and I are going to have to carry guns when we ride on horseback," my son Rae, 7, says. "Mom, you can stay in the house and take care of things."

Well that's a nice fantasy, but today Mom's the one out on the prairie, as I am every Saturday, piloting our station wagon around town with my young cowboy in the backseat.

It's a beautiful sunny morning, and with one hand on the steering wheel and the other on a fresh cup of Starbucks, things are off to the right start — we're headed for my son Rae's gym class and we are ON TIME.

The cowboy CD we're tapping our toes to only adds to our good moods:

"It's roundup time, away out west
When the cactus is in bloom

My husband Tom found a collection of authentic old-timey cowboy music that everyone in the family likes to listen to. The strains of Jimmie Rodgers, Tex Owens, and Herb Jeffries slow us down a bit and add a daydreamy quality to our ride as I nose the car in and out of traffic.

And there's enough western imagery — rounding up the cattle, sleeping under the stars, drinking coffee from a can — to paint the pictures a cowboy enthusiast hungers for. My favorite songs are those of the lady crooners, Patsy Montana, and a duo listed as "The Girls of the Golden West."

If you're being held hostage by bad kids' music on your car stereo, try one of these CDs. Instead of feeling oppressed by errands and the tedium of shuttling kids to and fro, you'll feel your Saturday unfolding before you full of possibilities, just like out on the Plains, "west of the Great Divide."

"Cattle Call: Early Cowboy Music and Its Roots"
Rounder Records

"Herb Jeffries: The Bronze Buckaroo"
Warner Bros. Records

"Patsy Montana: Inducted into the Hall of Fame 1996"
King Records

How do you keep peace on the homefront? Click the comments link below to find and share ideas.

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When the Cactus Is In Bloom

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