Tumbleweeds

(Frank) See now, didn’t you like that? (Deb) Oh, I loved it. (Frank) The rest of the story, Elvis. You know, when he was very young…now, I also gotta tell ya, that I kinda did a little more looking into that, and Elvis recorded that song on a 78, 78 RPM record. That’s what they had. (Deb) Yea, for you kids, look in the antique stores and you’ll find it. Yea. (Frank) And actually because the song, My Happiness, of course was his mother’s favorite song. So, he recorded that as a birthday present for her. Well, the Presleys were poor and they didn’t have a record player. So, they went to a friend’s house that did have a record player. They played it, and of course, Elvis’ mother was just very, very grateful and they left. And they left the record. OK. That record stayed in that family for six decades. (Deb) Wow. (Frank) Now, it came out in 2009 in an auction. And that record a 78 record of My Happiness, which he sang a cappella by the way, sold for $300,000 dollars. (Deb) Wow. (Frank) Yea. (Deb) Isn’t that something? Well, my friend, Allen Blasco, his mother wrote the lyrics and his dad of course had the…they had the publishing company, Betty and Lou Blasco did. And Allen is a performer. He’s a professional musician. Performs with the bank Riverrock. So, they’re in Kansas City a lot, I think every weekend. And I’ve heard Allen do that song many times. And he’s always very emotional over it, because that song meant so much to his family. And so, it’s really, yea what a wonderful story. I’m so glad we got to share that with you. It is. (Frank) It really is. And we should, we should start thinking about, and now the rest of the story. (Deb) And now the rest of the story. Yea, this great segue into tumbleweeds. (Frank) Tumbling Tumbleweeds. There’s a song about that too. (Deb) There’s a song, exactly. Sons of Pioneers of course, you know a great cowboy band, Sons of the Pioneers that, who thought you could take tumbleweeds and make something that pretty out of it? But they sure did. And when I was researching, talking about the tumbleweeds story, the lady in southwestern Kansas who is now selling tumbleweeds on line, you can order tumbleweeds, can you believe that? People actually using tumbleweeds for wedding decorations. But I guess if you live a cowboy life maybe it would be appropriate. I don’t know. (Frank) How would you put one though, on your wrist? (Deb) Corsages! Tumbleweed corsages! (Frank) Gotcha. (Deb) That is brilliant. That is brilliant Frank. (Frank) Let’s take a look. (Deb) In the black and white television world many of us grew up with, there were a few images that set the mood for the shootout at High Noon or the train robbery: The saloon doors creaked as they swung in the winds, boots with spurs clacked and jangled on wooden sidewalks, and tumbleweeds blew lonesomely across the dirt street. As iconic a symbol of the American West as it is, the tumbleweed is not native to the high plains of Kansas. It arrived, most experts agree, with flax seeds imported into the Dakotas from the Ukraine in the late 19th century. The Russian thistle then proliferated throughout the West. Roy Rogers and The Sons of the Pioneers secured the plant’s place in Western folklore when they recorded, Tumbling Tumbleweeds in 1934, romanticizing the invasive species. As is the case with nature, the tumbling has its purpose. It is the plant’s way of spreading its seeds. After drying, the main stems of the Russian thistle can break off at the ground level under windy conditions, which exist most of the time on the high prairies. The plant skeletons will usually persist for at least one year and are typically found along fences and ditches. The plant requires very little water, another characteristic that suits it well to the American West. A large tumbleweed can produce 100,000 seeds. Some animals feed upon these seeds, quail, ground squirrels, pocket and white-footed mice, prairie dogs, kangaroo rats, and mule deer. Livestock, on the other hand, face dangers of poisoning since nitrates build up inside the plant. It appears to be naturally impervious to weed killers like Round up, putting it in that category with other pests that will likely survive nuclear holocaust. If you don’t naturally have tumbleweeds you may order one, or more, from the prairie tumbleweed farm in southwestern Kansas. No kidding.

No Comments Yet.

Leave a reply