I was born in Arkansas, my Dad died when I was four after we had moved north. I remember the train ride home to bury him. I grew up with my big Brother, and half sister in Michigan, never having the large family I wanted at that age. I missed my father, it is an emptiness within, not having ever known him.
After I graduated I moved to the east coast where I lived in New York, New Jersey, and Lynn Massachusetts, where I was living - one block from the ocean - when the movie "Jaws" came out. I moved again, heading to Colorado Springs, Colorado, but stopped in Minnesota, where I lived for over 23 years. It's a beautiful state, but those long cold winters got the best of me. I grew, hybridized, and showed Tall Bearded Iris. I raised, bred, and showed/trained Boxers. Then George Strait entered my life in a big way. My Boxer Dillon enjoyed going to the lake more than Dog Shows, so a lot changed in my life those last years living in Minnesota.
I was laid off from Honeywell after 13+ years working with engineers in word processing then Configuration Management on semi conductors, etc. on the space program. Then after losing Dillon I moved to the State of Texas to be nearer my Mom and step dad, several years after they had retired to south Texas. I was in San Antonio the first time in 1980 for their anniversary, and it was then, when I was sitting there on Riverwalk enjoying the atmosphere, that I knew someday I would live in that part of Texas. I loved the wide open sky, traditions, history, and music. George Strait was making a name for himself then, and it was only a short time later that he recorded "Unwound."
Years later I have completed a child hood desire to be "where the cowboys are!" The tradition, and the Cowboy way of life is alive and well. There are some wonderful down to earth people in Texas, and some awesome ranchers, horses, and team ropers. And of course this is Strait Country. I have no wish to live anywhere else. I am ~ a Texan by Choice.
I find the simplest things in life to be the most enjoyable, I enjoy the beauty of a horse, the "critters" around me like my neighbor the Roadrunner, and the little geckos, the beautiful Texas plants, trees and flowering shrubs, and the wide open spaces and big blue sky.
This is a picture of 'Shine D Light.'
From growing up a child of the south, to living in the cold northern states, and the east coast where I had quite an adventurous life with my Italian boyfriend (who was road manager for a popular singing group) I'm finally living in the hill country of the heart of Texas. I am retired now, spending my time as I wish. I look out my windows or sit on my porch, enjoying the flowering shrubs, the plants, flowers, and watching wildlife, enjoying the serenity. Even the night Owl that hoots every night near my window gives me a smile. This life I am living now suits me just fine.
I enjoy the continued life, and career of George Strait who has touched my life in so many ways. I have so many wonderful moments that he has given me, and there are things he has done that I would love to share but the time is not yet right. What I can do - as a way of "getting it out of my system" and sharing - is to continue my Strait Fever websites a little while longer.
My mother Deanna has passed on, just a few years after my step father Jim passed. Not having a large close knit family life my life would have been very different without some wonderful friends that I have been blessed with along the way. I hope that I can give back. I am thankful and grateful for a very special kind and thoughtful Texas friend who has been there for me in time of need helping to make my life a full and happy one.
My life is different from the struggle of past years. Not having a father I was raised to be independent, to handle things myself, not trust nor ask for help. I've grown to know that life is better when you can trust, confide in, and laugh with a friend. I seem to have reached a time in my life when I can now do that. I know my priorities, appreciate the simple things, know who I am, and I am closer to having an inner peace. I'll borrow from a favorite George song; "my life's been grand."
The above right picture was taken by a friend at a George Strait concert years ago in Dallas Texas. I was unaware of Susan taking this picture until she gave it to me later. I was watching George's antics up on stage and as usual was oblivious to anything or anyone else. As you can tell from my ecstatic smile experiencing George up on that stage doing what he does so well is one of my favorite things in life.
One of the first times I saw George at a concert was in Illinois about an hour south of Chicago. I had made the drive from Minnesota and it was well worth it. I was in the 13th row on the right aisle. At one point I got up and went closer to the stage to try to get a decent picture. I hadn't any zoom lens at the time. I got within about five rows of the stage, and felt like I was really being sneaky and would be caught at any time by a security guard and sent back to my seat. I had George Strait in my viewfinder, and stopped in the aisle to focus on a side view shot. In the years before I had gone to Marty Robbins' concerts, and gotten some experience taking concert photos, but Strait was much more an artist of the time, and his fan following was already gigantic and still growing. I knew it would be difficult to get very close before Security sent me back to my seat.
As I was trying to focus for a decent picture George finished a song, the band stopped playing, and the audience applauded. As I was leaning over, trying to focus on him, George suddenly walked towards me from center stage. To my astonishment he stopped right in front of me. The camera was forgotten as I looked up in surprise at his kind handsome face, now so much closer to me. And then he smiled at me. That shocked me into remembering the picture I was trying to get. To my surprise he stood there and posed, smiling, until I had taken my picture, and lowered my camera. I said "Thank you so much." He nodded, then strolled back to center stage to start the next song. His band was waiting for him, I don't remember which song they started, I was standing there in shock.
I stood there for a moment after he had gone back to the microphone. His smile had taken my breath away (now I know what that means), and that feeling I had then has stayed with me throughout the years, compounded every time he smiles at me. I have seen alot of top performers in my life including Marty Robbins, Merle Haggard, Willie, and the great crooner himself - Sinatra. No one has ever affected me more than that handsome smooth-baritoned cowboy with the awesome smile. He had shown me that in that huge audience he was aware of me as an individual. He had made the decision and the effort to come over and stand in front of me. His eyes had met mine, and I had felt his presence, kindness, and awareness in my mind, clear down to my toes. I was totally impressed with George Strait that night, with his singing, his stage presence, the entire package that makes the man.
Not long after that I traveled again to see him in Des Moines. I went to see him again when he played the Minnesota State Fair. Strait fever had taken hold. I learned more about him from acquaintances, saw more shows, experienced his talent, his class, and consistency in his shows. I learned that George was not an act, he was "the real deal." I realized that loving George was not a passing fancy - I was in for the long haul.
Over thirty years later I'm still enjoying the phenomenon that is George Strait. Through the years as I have matured, changed, and lived my life I have watched him manage his career, keep his fine booted feet on the ground, and his priorities Strait. Norma has been there beside him the entire time, in the good times, and the bad. A large part of his success is due to the support from his family; Norma, son Bubba, his Dad the late Mr. John Strait, and his wife Anna, late Brother Buddy, and family. Bubba is now a young man and has married, and added his own little Strait to the fold. Little Harvey has captured his grand parent's hearts, and spends a lot of time with them.
George has lived his life well, and matured beautifully into the Man that he is today. I'm very proud of who he is, how he got there, and how he lives his life. George has been a huge part of my life, loving him and his music has pulled me through some rough times. His music and that wonderful baritone, and the way he uses it so masterfully never fails to lift my spirits, and get me back in a good place.
In September, 2012 King George gave notice that in 2013, and 2014 he would be doing his final two year c0ncert tour, titled "The Cowboy Rides Away." Those two years went by fast. His last concert was June 7, 2014. Because it was such a huge audience, and a special concert they recorded it for a CMT special showing. They also released it as a CD/DVD package with almost the entire show (missing only one song). George had a good time that night. I think it turned out better than he had even imagined it would after planning for it for two years. I could hear in his voice though, and see in the DVD that he had a hard time getting through several parts, especially during songs like "Troubadour," and "I Will Always Rember You."
I believe that George Strait's best is yet to come, since he is now writing, and has more time to do so. We have a lot to look forward to. George will continue writing, singing, and recording. He re-signed with MCA for a five album deal, and will continue to influence Country Music, and an untold number of fans and artists. He is much loved for being himself - the real deal, the Texas Troubadour.
God bless you Mr Strait. Thank you George for the wonderful music, the heart pumping smiles, so many wonderful sweet memories, all the good times, and for all of those special moments that I will always carry with me. You have been "The Voice" in my life, a special friend, and have touched me in every part of my existence.
The above pictures are of my first Boxer, Nicki. During her long lifetime she saved me from harm several times. I was so impressed with the breed that when I settled in Minnesota I found a breeder, and purchased 'Robin,' whom I showed to her Championship, and bred. Before I first saw George in concert I was breeding, raising, and showing Boxers. I had a Caprice Classic I traded in for a Caprice Station Wagon, and traveled to dog shows in the tri-state area of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and South Dakota. I sometimes made it down to Illinois, Iowa, and Kansas. One of Robin's pups - CH. Sundancer's Autumn Flame - had a beautiful litter after she finished her Championship, and several of her pups went on to a show career so I can still see descendants on the Internet.
Eventually there were several things that happened that made me make the decision to stop breeding my Boxers. My pups were sold to owners as far as Florida and Texas, and they were doing well on the show circuit but I had lost the enjoyment of showing, it was too political with the professional handlers in the ring and the judges. One day on the way to a show Dillon leaned over the seat, and put his big ol' head on my shoulder. His tongue sneaked out and he gave me a little kiss on the cheek. I made up my mind easily, turned the car away from the Expressway, and drove over to Dillon's favorite park. It had a large lake with a walkway all the way around it, and there were Canadian Geese, and Mallard Ducks, and squirrels for him to chase. He was thrilled, his little tail was wagging, he jumped up on me and gave me a big hug, and then we set off on our walk. That was the last time I entered a dog show. It was more important to enjoy my wonderful Dillon, give him a happy life, and be outside with nature. Those were some happy times, and some wonderful memories. I don't know that I will ever again have the closeness to a four footed friend that I had with Dillon. He is always near in my mind. I miss him so much still.
Dillon became my last Boxer, and as sometimes happens if one is lucky he was my best and very special. He was intelligent and lived life to the fullest. He took care of me and he taught me much. When I had to put him to rest to end the pain it took the heart out of me. I created a website for him and it is still on the net. I occasionally receive letters from people that tell me how my Dillon story has helped them give into their grief over losing a special four footed friend. I have left the page up; the link is below. I have not had another Boxer. I tried going to a smaller dog, had a Border Terrier for a while, and although Harvey was a neat little dog it just wasn't fair to him that I couldn't seem to get attached to him so I returned him to his breeder, completely trained, and he lived out a happy life in Minnesota.
I love to read, and Louis L'Amour is my favorite writer, has been since I was a teen-ager. Whatever writing talent I have is fashioned after his style. He made you feel that you were right there with the character. I have a complete collection of his works and have read them over and over again.
When I have time I can lose myself in writing. Since I was a child of four I have loved horses and cowboys, and the tradition and history of the old west. In my lifetime I've had a bay quarter horse mare named Dottie, and a gray Arabian gelding named 'Ali Bhai' (above) but I called him 'Dusty.' I'm partial to Arabians, Appaloosas, Quarter Horses, and the Red Dun color, or Buckskin.
I still watch horse shows, have studied 'Secretariat' in detail, and was addicted to watching the competition in Team Roping. Two beautiful well trained horses, and two determined Cowboys getting their work done in a matter of seconds - it's some great watching! There are some professional Team Ropers I have enjoyed watching through the years, including Mr. Strait himself who is a natural in the saddle. The horses are beautiful, know their jobs, and are awesome to watch. Sadly, we all grow older, and things we can do change.
~ Linda Robbins
"(Lying Here With) Linda on My Mind" as sung by George Strait, 1997 & 1998.
That's a long sweet story, he sung it to me, little old me. He sung it a few more times in his 2005 Tour. For me those were some very special moments.
He's the real deal, a fourth generation Texas Rancher, and Cowboy.