My dad taught me many years ago it takes a lot of saddling up for that new colt and you to both become comfortable with your surroundings. Every time is little different from the time before and there are always new sights to see and new obstacles to over come. I’ve found that to be the same way in life and also with our more frequent trips to New York City. Let’s just say I feel a whole lot more relaxed after the fourth saddling than the first.
Now I’m not fixin’ to move up their and take up permanent residence, but let me tell you – that skyline with the Freedom Tower reaching far into the sky is an awesome sight, especially for an ole chuck wagon cook gazing out of the plane window at ten thousand feet.
This latest trip to NYC was for some pre-promotion for our new cookbook coming out, A Taste of Cowboy (pre-order available HERE, and more to come on that).
When we landed there was even one of them fellers standing in the terminal with a sign that said ROLLINS. I told the little woman this is living in tall cotton here. But in a way I did miss the taxi ride with someone whom I couldn’t understand and he couldn’t savvy Okie. It sort of took the excitement out of it.
When we got to the hotel there was a feller who wanted to tote my bags. First of all they weren’t heavy and second there was just two of them. He told me it was his job to carry them and I told him where I come from we carry our own weight! He smiled and said well let me get the door for y’all. He was a nice young man and I could tell that we would get along just fine.
When you’re on someone else’s horse you ride where they tell you to. So that evening our publicist took us to do a radio interview in Brooklyn. No one told me we were going to take the subway. Don’t get me wrong I had been on it before, but I saw some rats in that tunnel that could whoop our Beagle! This was my fourth trip into the belly of the aluminum snake that shook and rattled more than my wagon going down a rock hill without the brake on. The subway ride is a lot like getting on a bucking horse – they don’t give you a warning it just speeds off and when it stops you better be grabbing the saddle horn otherwise it’s down on the floor! Finally we got to our stop and above ground where I breathed a sigh of relief. You know there is just something about being under the ground that just don’t seem right to me.
The Radio show was a hoot! I love visiting with folks who are aren’t familiar with how Shannon and I cook (you can listen to the program HERE from The Joshua David Stein Variety Hour on Heritage Radio).
After the show it was time to dine. Well, after looking at the menu and not seeing anything I could pronounce I just told Shannon you better order for me. They brought out some horse-dervies and the waitress called them roasted beets with duck prosciutto. Our publicist and marketing guru, who joined us for supper, explained to me, “It’s like duck bacon.” HELLO! Ducks don’t grow bacon where I come from! So needless to say I ate light that evening.
The supper conversation was even more confusing. They proceeded to tell me all the foods that were “in fashion.” Apparently beets, turnips and brussel sprouts are all the rage right now. Hold on, I think my worst childhood nightmare is coming true. Is food now becoming trendy like a new a new line of clothing in the fashion magazine? I need to get out of here and find some beef before they start convincing me to wear asparagus earrings… although I would be slightly open to a bacon man-bag and matching wallet.
The next day we had a meet and greet with some media folks to introduce them to the upcoming cookbook. The restaurant we were at cooked three dishes from the book and it was a fun casual gathering. I did my best to explain what cowboy is, what cowboys do, and what we feed cowboys. These folks were mesmerized to learn about the way we cook and also the conditions in which we do it in. They were especially astonished that we didn’t use electricity.
I tried to visit with everyone and make them feel welcome. I appreciated that they took time out of their busy days to come and see what this cowboy was all about. Regardless of what people tell you, them New York folks do like to visit. Maybe it just takes a little time for them to warm-up, sort of like that colt.
The next morning I got up around 5:30 EST (my biological clock goes off at the same time no matter what time zone I’m in). I gave Shannon a kiss and headed off in search of that black magic elixir. When I got to the lobby there was one of those friendly doormen and he asked if I needed a cab. “No sir,” I answered, “but I would like someone to drink coffee with.” So we got us a cup and began to visit. We visited about a lot of things and discussed the finer arts of coffee and my fear of underground things. As I got back in the elevator and headed up I began to think how we may all seem a little different but we all have common ground. Good folks are everywhere, and to get to know them you first have to learn to visit. You know that is what’s wrong with the world today, there is a lot of communicating but not much visiting.
We then got ready and headed down to the Time Warner Center for a meeting with a TV producer. It sure is a fancy place, but if you plan on doing your holiday shopping there you may have to rob a bank first. They got a lot of nice things but they sure are proud of it.
At first, Shannon and I were pretty nervous because this particular program is one of our favorites and we pictured him as a high-powered producer type in a suit and tie, and maybe even a few bodyguards following him in dark glasses. After our introductions and just talking with him a few minutes you would have thought we had known him our whole lives. He was just normal folk. When training I buying horses, I always looked for a soft eye and its the same way with people. I told that feller he had a kind eye and knew he was good people.
Later that afternoon we went to Central Park. I have never seen something so peaceful amidst a city with so much going on. Shannon and I walked around down there, forgetting that we were in a city at all. There were still a lot of folks walking around, but it was refreshing and relaxing to look up and see sky. It was a true oasis, a place to come and remember where I came from and where I’ve been. It was like being on a familiar horse, I needed that little bit of peace and something that I was used to.
It was time to head back to our hotel some two miles away, and we decided to forgo the taxi and the train- let’s see some new country. Another saddling with a slightly different ride. From Grand Central Station to St. Patrick’s Cathedral,
the Empire State Building to the 9/11 Tribute: New York City and its people are a resilient bunch of folks. There are a group of people who not only have endured and survived, but also thrived. We all face different and unique challenges regardless if we live on the 80th floor or on an 80 acre pasture.
All it takes is a few saddlings and you’ll beginning to feel more comfortable in your surroundings. Remember: new trails lead to new beginnings. Hey try it out, it don’t buck long and after a while it’s smooth as butter and you will feel better.
I tip my hat to NYC and and thank y’all for your hospitality, I hope that if I’m up that way again, and I’m sure I will be, that there are new trails to ride and new sights to see.
That new colt called New York CIty, well let’s just say I’m getting a little more comfortable sitting in that saddle.
Read about my first NYC adventure, Urban Cowboy, HERE.