Posts Tagged ‘Fort Worth’

Our Song…

Posted on: February 14th, 2013 by R.W. Hampton 4 Comments

So yesterday I asked the folks on Facebook if they had a special song with their “sweetheart” and of course to share what it was.

I love to read the answers and why people love a song. A lot of it has to do with timing…   If you fell in love in the 60’s your speical song is more likely to be from Sonny & Cher than from George Strait.  There is also the matter of what you danced to when dating or what made your heart sing when you were married.  Timing is everything.

Our song has a lot to do with timing too.  And, mind you, not all timing is good timing….

You see, Lisa and I had been friends for several years but when the magic happened things moved along pretty quick. We were both single parents doing the second-time around romance long-distance so if truth be told we really came to a point where we couldn’t afford to keep dating and paying all our money to phone bills and airline companies.

Yes, fall was in the air and Lisa was going to meet me and my boys in Fort Worth that October where I was playing Red Steagall’s Cowboy Gathering.  I mustered up all of my confidence as well as what little was left of my pocketbook and headed for the nearest mall with a jewelry store the week before the Gathering.

Lisa flew down to Fort Worth where my trusty side-kick, my brother Jeff, picked her up from the airport and brought her to the Stockyards.  She looked as pretty as ever, so with the ring in my pocket we spent the day with my family enjoying the event,  and me nervously waiting for the right moment to pull her aside and pop the question.

After dinner we all walked back to the big tent where Red and his Bunkhouse Boys were puttin on quite a dance.  “Ahhh, here is the place.” I thought.  We watched the dancers for a while then I turned to my friend JB Allen & his wife and asked if they would keep an eye on the boys for a moment while we danced.  Well, JB knew something was up so of course he wanted to stick around for the spectatin’.

Ammassing all my will power I ushered Lisa onto the dance floor and we swirled around the tent until I finally gathered enough courage to stop in a corner, and on one knee, I asked my very surprised sweetheart what she was doing for the rest of her life.  Without missing a beat she gave the answer that every nervous man hopes to hear, “Following some ol’ cowboy around!”. It was then I slipped the ring on her finger and said “Welcome to Texas!”

And…., then, as the song ended and we were making our way back to JB, Margaret, and the boys, Lisa paused and said the words I will never forget….  “Oh, I want to remember this moment forever Sweetie… What song were they just playing?”

It was at that moment that “our song” was created.  And it just so happened that Red and the Boys, which happened to magically include all the living Texas Playboys that night, were playing an old blues standard… “Misery” sung by none other than the great vocalist Leon Rausch.

Timing….. it is everything.  I can assure you, we laugh about it now, but we will never forget it!

Happy Valentines everyone. From our house to yours, we wish you a wonderful day wherever you are.

Cowboy Cap Guns

Posted on: May 24th, 2012 by R.W. Hampton 4 Comments

the prize

Here a while back, I was invited to do a concert at the Parker County Cowboy Church, out west of ‘ol Ft. Worth.  Real nice folks, and afterwards I got to talking with a super family, Bob & Johnie and their three grown kids.  I kinda got the feeling that we’d met before.

Well, turns out that they occasionally have a vendor booth at various events and set up their Western toy store , and I’d met them in Abilene, TX at the Western Heritage Classic a few years back. I had even bought a cap pistol from them.

“Oh yeah,” I replied, “I remember now!” I went on to exclaim how much I enjoyed cap guns, and that they are a kid’s icon that seemed to be “going the way of the buffalo” and getting harder to find; the good quality diecast metal one’s anyway.

Well, that’s when they told me that they were the last, and one and only maker of “Made in the U.S.A.” American toy cap pistols left, and would we like to come out for a tour?

Like a chorus, the Hampton’s replied, “You bet!” in unison.

The Wild West Toys folks went on to tell us that the family makes all the guns themselves and that the molds they were using had been rescued from the scrap heap and had once belonged to the vast Gene Autry empire! Needless to say, this got my attention and was topped only by their invitation to let the two boys build their own cap pistols.

That’s when I informed them to count heads again, that there were three boys — not just two!

Next afternoon found the four of us at their self-built 1860’s style, Texas log home. We visited and drank coffee while I threw my neck out of joint looking at what amounted to a wall to wall, floor to ceiling, western museum. There were toy guns, a wonderland of Western toys, saddles, movie posters, vintage hats and boots. I could have looked forever except for the fact that my sons were chomping at the bits to get out to the shop and see where the real magic happens.

Ethan is not too enamored with his safety glasses.

We soon found ourselves in the heart of Wild West Toys, picking out the model cap pistols we were going to build. We guys selected the Bronco 44, while Lisa chose the Maverick. Both designs are made of heavy Zinc and are finely engraved and etched.

These toy pistols have the heft, feel, and workmanship of that by-gone age when toys were made to last, and there was pride felt by both maker and owner.

Ethan at work on his pistola

We watched and (of course) helped out with the assemblage of precision pieces,

I'm listening to the directions

the finish work, then mounting of cylinder,

building my new Colt 44 (toy)

hammer, and trigger assemblies, followed by the heavy springs, arms, and levers.

My new pistola, complete with Federally mandated orange plug.

For the final touch, all four of us kids individualized our weapons in the hand grip department.

Choosing our grips

Out of a huge selection of different styles and colors, I chose a classic Ivory set with raised Longhorn steer heads.

Making Lisa's "Maverick" model.

The wow factor was about as high as it gets, but went even higher when Bob handed us each our own supply of caps then said, “It’s time to load em up, make some smoke and noise!”

the prize

And so we did.

Call it magic if you will, but in that short time I had gone from a responsible, middle-aged man, who had carved out a respectable place in the Western entertainment world, to a gun-toting ten-year-old, just waiting for anyone to draw down on me.

My alter-ego, Sheriff Dubbya and Deputy Hampton

As we stood quiet for a moment, letting our barrels cool and the smoke clear, Johnie looked up at the low, dark clouds saying she thought they could use another rain, but that it didn’t seem like it was gonna turn loose anytime soon.

At that I swaggered out into the open, pulled my brand spankin’ new Bronco 44 pistola out and emptied it into the Texas sky proclaiming that “Some well-placed holes in the clouds would do just the trick!”

I was ten-feet-tall as we walked back to the house, my shirt soaked from the rain, my powder smoke drifting away in the breeze.

Sheriff Dubbya & his Posse

This is by no means an endorsement and I’m not getting paid, but if you want more information on Wild West Toys American Made toy cap guns or their store please visit their website at and tell them “Sherriff Dubbya and his posse” said “Howdy!”