Sunday, August 28, 2011

Gordon Tonips August 16, 1950 - August 23, 2011

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Dear Friends,

It is with a heavy heart that I post my blog tonight. Our dear friend, Gordon Tonips, has left us to be with the Great Spirit. Gordon was a direct descendent of Comanche Chiefs: Warhorse (Quahadi Chief) and Quanah Parker (Quahadi Chief); also of Kiowa Chief Stumbling Bear (Medicine Lodge, Signer).

He had his 61 birthday in the hospital in Fort Worth, Texas. Gordon was born in Arkansas City, Kansas. He was constantly around his grandmother who worked in the Chilocco Indian School in northern Oklahoma. He spent much of his time in the Art Department drawing, painting and sculpting while being immersed in Indian culture. He proudly served in the Air Force from 1969-1971, where his duty was officially in supply, but he actually assisted the local General with all the needed artwork at the time.

Gordon met and married Tomazane (Tommye) Rains of Benbrook in 1973. After a few years working for the city of Fort Worth in the Planning Department, he struck out on his own. He and Tommye opened a small printing company on the East side of Fort Worth called Wampum Graphics, where he was heard to say, "There is no money in it, but we are happy." After 19 years in the printing business, his Indian roots called to him so strongly that he began to explore his sculpting talent full-time. In an interview he said, "When I began to explore my talent in native art, I was encouraged by the Comanche artist and flutist, Doc. Tate Navaquaya who guided me to follow my dreams when he told me, 'If you want happiness, look in your own backyard.'

"Thus, I discovered these beautiful sandstone boulders and to my surprise they spoke to me with images of the ancient past. When I sculpt a stone, I travel into the past a thousand years and re-live the daily lives of the great people who built and lived in these sacred places."

Gordon and Tommye have two extraordinary children who are the light of their lives and they have their wonderful spouses and children whom he loved and was so very proud of. For the past fifteen years he was an award winning sculptor, painter, dancer, story teller and living history reenactor.

He is survived by his wife of 38 years, Tommye; son, Eric Tonips and wife Rachel; daughter Ameé Bynum and husband Anthony; Eric's four children Keisi, Karli, Gavin and Kenli; Ameé's boys Andrew and Colin Bynum; mother, Almeta Tonips; sisters Nina Taylor and Patty (Bea) Tonips; niece Melody Fischer and son Garrett Fischer.

Service is at 1:00 p.m. Tuesday, August 30, 2011 at Shannon Rose Hill Funeral Chapel & Cemetery, 7301 East Lancaster, Fort Worth, Texas, 76112.

We first met Gordon at an Indian event in Grand Prairie and my first impression of him was that he exuded kindness and when I shook hands with him, I was reminded by the softness of his hand that he was indeed an artisan. We now own three of his sculptures, one is Texas Sandstone and is titled "The Water Jar"; another is a pale pink color and is titled "Baking Day" and the other is representative of the Anasazi area of the Four Corners area in variegated pinks and browns of a cliff dwelling titled "Puyé".

Not long ago, Doug and I met Gordon and Tommye for lunch and after lunch he gave me two eagle feathers from his personal eagle. I was humbled by this grand gesture and extremely grateful that he thought me deserving of these eagle feathers. We loved this beautiful, talented man and the world is deprived by his departure. As I am Cherokee, I will simply say in my language "donadagohvi" (til we meet again).

This is all I have to say for now.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Red Hat International Convention 2011 in New Orleans

August 18-21, 2011

We actually drove to New Orleans on Wednesday, August 17, 2011 which took us about 10 hours with Doug and I splitting the driving. When we arrive at the beautiful New Orleans Riverside Hilton Hotel, there is a mix-up in our hotel reservations so we are given a beautiful suite with, of all things, a Murphy bed and a lovely view of the mighty Mississippi River. We unpack and fall into bed; I mean this literally because the bed is flat on the floor! That 10 hour drive did us in.

Doug and I at the hotel coffee shop

Thursday morning we make our way down to the hotel coffee shop where we experience sticker shock at the prices of breakfast; even something simple like cereal is $7 to $9. We eat breakfast there, but vow to find something more reasonable for the rest of the week. I have a tour that is to take me to The New Orleans School of Cooking. When I go to the designated place to catch a bus, I am told that since there are only two of us going at this time, we can just walk there. I don't know who the second woman is, so I catch a cab which is quite reasonable. I thought I would be cooking, but this school is set up like a restaurant and the chef stands at the front with tilted mirrors above and behind her so attendees may view her as she prepares the dishes. I regret I did not get her name, but she was marvelous and had a running commentary about New Orleans and all the past inhabitants from various countries who helped form this fabulous city into what it is presently.

Here I am with this fabulous chef wearing my Red Hat chef's hat.

We are first presented with what she calls a lagniappe, some lovely breads with dipping sauce. Our next course is corn & crab bisque and it is absolutely fabulous. Then we enjoy shrimp creole, an exquisite mixture of shrimp, rice, onions, celery, green pepper, green onions with tomatoes and plenty of "Joe's Seasoning" among other spices and ingredients. Just when we think we've died and gone to culinary heaven, she takes the bread pudding out of the oven which is like no other bread pudding ever tasted. It contains a whole bottle and then some of Pina Colada mix and is covered with whiskey sauce. The final pièce de resistance results in something that derives their name from Marshal Luplesis-Praslin (1598-1695) and his butler's recipe for almonds coated in sugar, used as a digestive aid. When Louisiana was settled by French colonists, native pecans were substituted for almonds and thus, we have the praline. I've never tasted a praline as delicious as this one!

It was a grand gastronomic experience and I highly recommend The New Orleans School of Cooking at 524 St. Louis Street, New Orleans, Louisiana. I am told that people who want to attend make reservations a year in advance and you can call them at 800-237-4841 or go to their web site

Queen of Gaudy, Gail Box aka Midam Moola and Carla as a flapper.
My colors are reversed because August is my birthday month.

The event for the early arrivals occurs on Thursday evening where we all board buses bound for Mardi Gras World. Many of us are in costume and wearing masks. With Red Hatters, one never knows what to expect, but imagination and fun abounds. We are escorted through this huge building housing float after float being worked on for the next Mardi Gras. Eventually we are ushered into a huge dining area for a dinner of jambalaya and other Louisiana delicacies. Exalted Queen Mother Sue Ellen Cooper and Vice Queen Linda Murphy even circled the room a couple of times in their very own Mardi Gras float led by a motorcycle cop. We were all trying to catch the beads they threw.

l to r: Barbara, Carla, Gail and Anna,
Wild West Women of Weatherford

Gail, our Queen

l to r: Gail, Carla, Anna and Barbara

Anna and Gail in front of a float

The King and I getting acquainted!

On Friday, August 19, 2011 we all headed for the buses to take a tour of New Orleans. Our tour guide is a lovely lady who is very knowledgeable in the history of the city.

Front l to r: Anna, Toni and Barbara
Back l to r: Pat, Gail and Carla

Pat and Queen Gail (her hat is Texas large so it's
stored in the overhead bin!)

Anna and Barbara enjoying the ride

Kay and Toni

Commemorative plaque where the flood wall
broke after Hurricane Katrina

This is one of the above ground cemeteries and
looking along the back wall where you can see
an empty space is where people are buried who
can't afford the expensive marble crypts.

This lovely lady beside me is Grandma Luge,
an Olympic Champion and booster of
Tena products for incontinence.

This is my attire for
the Friday night event
and Doug shot this in
our room.

Don't Anna and Barbara look wonderful
all glitzed up!

This is Toni in her hat creation and the
lovely pin scarf Kay made for each of us.

Saturday morning was the Pajama Breakfast and
here, Pat, Kay and Toni are wearing the
gorgeous bed caps that Kay made.

These ladies all dressed in prison stripe gowns
and said they had to escape from prison to get
some decent food.

Doug took this shot
just before I went
down to the Pajama

Speaker at the Pajama Breakfast was
Tina Sloan, The Guiding Light soap
star. Here she signs a copy of her book,
"Changing Shoes" for me in the
Hat District after breakfast.

Queen Gail all ready in her beautiful dress and hat
with plenty of sparkle to match!

Barbara all decked
out wearing her own
red hat creation!

Pat, our lady who loves to gamble and
I believe she took home some moola
from Harrah's!

This is Linda with the beautiful mask
she created for the contest and then
forgot to enter it!

Queen MaryKay from
Ft.Worth, Texas
looking gorgeous!

Again, Doug shot this
in the room just before
the Saturday event.

Vice Queen Linda Murphy and
Exalted Queen Mother Sue Ellen Cooper,
the Red Hat Society's fearless leaders.

This is just a fun shot!

Back at our sports bar/coffee shop on Sunday
before heading back to Weatherford, Texas.

It was indeed a fabulous convention and we so enjoyed meeting all our sisters from around the world. I believe the tally was something over 1700 of us and we're already looking forward to next year in Las Vegas, Nevada in the Paris Hotel on June 28-July 1, 2012. See you there!

This is all I have to say for now.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Missing in Action

Monday, August 15, 2011

I can't believe I haven't posted anything since July 3. Life absolutely got in the way as well as my writing. I'm trying to finish the second book of a trilogy and my goal is to publish this month. I'm close, but have to stop to attend the International Red Hat Convention in New Orleans. We leave on Wednesday, August 17 to drive to New Orleans. It's about a 10 hour drive, but it's always better to drive to a Red Hat convention if at all possible. One must take so many hats, changes of clothes, shoes, bling, etc. that it is almost impossible to get it all in the allotted baggage the airlines have stipulated we can have without paying almost another person's fare in luggage fees.

Life has not been totally quiet around the Kerr household. We've enjoyed birthday parties for grandsons and visiting with the great grandsons as well. I gave a dinner party for my daughter's 55 birthday for 15 people plus the three babies. Cooking went on for three days for this one and the menu included King Ranch Chicken Casserole with a doubled recipe; Confetti Salad, Corn on the Cob; Green Salad; Wacky Cake and ice cream for dessert. I was certainly glad I doubled up on the chicken recipe because there was only about a third leftover in the second pan.

My daughter reciprocated with a birthday party for me to celebrate my 73 years and we all had baby back ribs, salad, corn on the cob and, of course, cake and ice cream. She has a lovely home in Azle, Texas and we played darts on her back patio.

L to R: Andreas, Ingrid, Horst, Doug and Carla

Also, back in July our friends came to visit from Germany. Ingrid, Horst and their son, Andreas came to America on holiday and first flew to Montana, then to California and then to Texas on the final leg of their trip. We visited the Ft. Worth Stock Yards and watched the cattle drive with the long horn cattle being herded. Then we went through the Cowboy Museum and lunched at Dos Vaqueros. The next day we visited Ft. Worth's new Science Museum and attended the IMAX theater watching a movie about tornado's. That was a scary one. Andreas really enjoyed it. He is 9 and interested in everything. He speaks German mostly, but we manage to communicate. We played a couple of card games which probably should be renamed "Andreas Wins". It was a lovely visit, but much too short.

A sad note: Our dog, Daisy, 12-1/2 years old, became very ill and we had to take her to the vet and have her put down. She just quit eating and lost her zest for life. It was so difficult but we know we made the right decision. We have decided we'll just have pet fish from now on. I know fish die too, but these fish are four years old and getting bigger every day. We may have to build a pond for them!
August 12, 2011

This was the end of the fiscal year luncheon for the PCWNC and it was really a fun time. Sue Coleman put together a slide show depicting the events of this past year and it was great seeing everyone on the screen. We also had a speaker on Decorating Do's and Dont's;Kathye Buckallew of Bele Chere Design in Granbury who was quite interesting.

Dottie Young, outgoing president was presented with gifts; this hat among them.
Doesn't she look like she is ready for an island getaway?

L to R: Rhoda Wollaston, Linda Waters, Patsy Vawter,
Jo Cheatham, Joy Williams and Gail Simko

Linda Waters, Gayla Fletcher and Gail Simko

Several past presidents brought their scrapbooks for all of us to peruse and each was asked to say a few words about their experience at the helm of the organization. Scrapbook creators were also recognized. These scrapbooks are absolute works of art.

Speaker Kathye Buckallew with gift winner Marcy Brooks

Incoming President Jackie Dixon with outgoing President Dottie Young

The rest of my days have been spent volunteering at the Weatherford Public Library at the Children's Summer Reading Program. This is so much fun to do and the children seem to enjoy themselves. I've also become even more involved with the Freedom House program and I truly look forward to interacting with these women. They may be down but they are not out and it's pure joy to watch them grow more positive about themselves each week.

Guess I'd better get off this soapbox and finish packing for the New Orleans trip. I'm sure I'll have great stories to tell after this convention.

This is all I have to say for now.