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Rated: NPL · Letter/Memo · Friendship · #2254668
Fans of the show from all over the USA meet at Kathy's for a Pponderosa Blast!
NOTE: I'm posting this in 2021 after finding it in an old email.
I cannot remember what year this took place 2002 or 2003, but two years later, we did it again!

This is written entirely by Barb:

I'm going to ignore all the heckling and tell you about Saturday anyway. :lol:

I picked Mem up and we headed for the shore and Kathy's place with Mem in charge of navigation. Let me say right here that Mem navigates in good Jersey style with a minimum of words. "Here" as a directive, for example, means "Please cross four lanes of Turnpike traffic so you can pick up the Parkway exit on the right in half a mile." The scary thing was that I knew what "Here" meant. We had Ricky Nelson going on the CD player, the sun was shining and we were headed for a party. Life was good.

We got to Kathy's place fashionably late. (That means we were the last to arrive. Beach traffic, you know...) Introductions all around and there we were, face to face with such legendary and daring Ponderosians as Kate O'Neill and PonderosaLover, as well as the intrepid Lone Ranger (aka Only Adult Male) Slim, husband of incredibly attentive Ponderosa watcher, Janet. Also present were lovely LUVBonanza, intrepid Ponbon, elegant LadyGrove(Maureen), madcap Marge, and the generous, warm, hostess with the mostest on the Ponderosa, Kathy. She allowed her lovely house to be turned into party headquarters and even had at least half the guests stay overnight!

The effort that went into the decor was amazing. Identified by very clever and witty signage, we had the woodshed, the outhouse(guest bathroom), Jack's Ho-tel (a big red arrow pointing upstairs), Adam's Library, LJ's toys, Orowitz's Mercantile (the waist high divider between the kitchen and dining area) Shelby's Saloon (the sliding glass door to the patio and drinks cooler), Hop Sing's kitchen(the kitchen). One wall had been given over to a bullseye captioned "PAX Executives" so we could all take shots with rubber bands. There was even a M*A*S*H style signpost with pointers to such destinations as Hangtown, Jersey Shore, Eagle Station, etc. My favorite area was the cemetery, a white sheet hung against a door with tombstones on it honoring Exploded Marie, Carlos (with the rose ILC had left for him), Jack Roberts, and Mr. Covington, a poor man and a poor shot. The Ponderosa ranch house itself was set among trees that were captioned "Cut" and "Don't Cut", true to Ben's every other tree philosophy. Marge had made a wonderful chalk board menu of venison (out because Joe didn't shoot the deer), trout (out because El Monstro got away), squirrel and other succulent items such as escargot and souffle (not recommended).

Kathy had planned the most wonderful menu and had assistance from her sous-chefs, namely Kate and Slim. Slim had made his super-secret, guaranteed to melt your fillings and clear your sinuses chili. Ummmm Ummmm. Man, that was good. Kate had made chili con queso with ingredients she had brought with her from Texas. It was absolutely delicious. In fact, I asked her to post the recipe for us. *Hint, hint, Kate!* There was plenty of fresh fruit on a beautiful platter and all kinds of beverages. Ice cream cake with an image of the ranch house decorating it was served for dessert!

PL had brought copies of her LA Danny pix to give to all of us. Such a nice surprise. Pon and Janet and Kathy blew us away with a one-of-a-kind Jersey Shore Party T-shirt, created with special permission to use a well-loved copywrighted design. Way to go, ladies!! T2, who could not attend, contributed her floor plan of the The Ponderosa's ranch house. We got an immediate opportunity to verify the position of the bunkhouse, as we were watching "The Promise" at the time. She's right. That's where it has to be. LOL Janet created a colorful quiz to test the most diehard fan's attention to detail. Never, never, never go up against Janet in a Ponderosa trivia contest. A few of us begged to differ, but all in good fun and to prove we were paying attention, too. LOLOLOL

One of the guests had a close encounter with a Ponderosa star recently. No, not PL and Danny. We heard PL's wonderful stories about her trip, by the way. So much fun to hear them in person and ask the questions inquiring fans NEED to know. PL was generous in sharing her experiences and insights. She brought it to life for all of us.

This most recent close encounter was of the Carmody kind. He's been in a play recently in LA and another intrepid Ponderosian made the trek to see him up close and personal. She saw the play twice and spent some time in the Mattster's presence. She was able to discourse at length on eyes, hair, height, eyes, acting ability, voice, eyes, charm and oh, yes - she said he has the most beautiful blue eyes.....LOLOLOL Way to go, girlfriend!!!!! She shared photos of Matt, plus extra playbills and postcards featuring the play's logo. I think she's glad she went. LOLOLOL

We yakked and watched episodes and ate and drank and yakked some more. We reviewed "The Promise" and "A Time to Win" for Mattaholics, looked at "Spoils of War" to watch Carlos die again, "Secrets and Lies" was my request so I could watch "the ax handle" and "the lean". We also cued up the Pilot, and "Samson and Hercules". There was a squabble or two about the remote. Pon, Marge and Janet were mostly in charge of it, but they would get distracted and we would end up watching commercials. Not good. Pon had a special treat for Mem - a tape of Robert Fuller playing the spoons and talking to his fans, including a few old friends of ours.
Kathy kept bringing out wonderful things to eat. As it got toward suppertime, she produced a huge platter of shrimp cocktail with lemon and seafood sauce. We went through a couple of pounds of that without a problem. She also made a delicious spinach dip and served it in a bread boule. Very tasty. Crudite of carrots and celery and a dish of pretzels and it was the cocktail hour. Janet and Marge kept whipping up Margaritas, the beer flowed, the wine poured and everyone was content at The Ponderosa.

Soon Kathy was broiling an enormous salmon fillet, poaching scallops, steaming asparagus and preparing salad. We drifted back and forth from the dinner table to the TV to the dinner table, but finally at about 9PM the party moved to the dining table.

Somewhere between 9PM and 3AM, Slim went to bed. I think the guy deserves a medal for cheerfully and willingly hanging out with a dozen or so women and three growing boys on a summer Saturday. I'm pretty sure he had a good time, but he looked awfully glad when the neighbor guy arrived complete with ref shirt and whistle to organize a little street football. :lol:

We had a true meeting of the city and the country. Kate and PL come from a background of family ranch and family farm although both are in high-tech jobs. They have a knowledge of land and animals. The rest of us are city chicks and we have our own wildlife to contend with. The discovery of each others' backgrounds made for some uproarious goings on.

Kate, PL, Kathy, me, Pon, Janet, Mem and Marge started to REALLY talk. We told stories about our lives, we told Ponderosa fan and board stories, and we learned quite a bit more about moths, cattle and horses, bears and goats, sheep and dogs, cemeteries and popcorn and "Jaws" and "Carrie" than you might expect from the usual dinner table conversation. Mem even had a "Jaws" story - something about a string bikini and a lifeguard. How did that go, Mem?

I have a few words of advice (large wink and grin to PL and Kate):

If PL offers to show you the quarry, beware of the animals - all the animals. :roll:
If PL offers to take you to the movies, get a bungie cord for your popcorn. :shock:
If PL offers to give you a lift home, hit the ladie's room before you hit the road. Once you get into the car, be careful where you sit and don't try to identify that oddly familiar odor. You'll thank me later. :oops:
If Kate offers to give you a lift home, be sure she doesn't bypass the town. 8)
If Kate offers to give you a hand with your new cows, make sure the gate is locked. :(
Never tell PL you're having a cow. She'll want to help and it won't be pretty. :o
If PL announces she's off to LA and she WILL meet DHK, saddle up. She's as good as her word! :D
Both of these women are no strangers to bull. :lol:

Gentle readers, those who were at the party are now on the floor laughing helplessly because they know what the references mean. PL is one of the great raconteurs of our time. Mem is one of the great straight men and commentators when she's not telling stories of her own. Where PL's stories of farm life left off, Kate's stories of ranch life began. We all were literally screaming, out of control, bent double, pounding the table. I wish I could explain this to the rest of you, but...

A. I don't think I can do it justice.
B. I think there are laws about putting this kind of information on the public airwaves.

I think the only business I haven't covered is Pon and the duct tape. Pon's big mistake was in telling us that she wasn't displaying any "simpsons" of having imbibed a wee bit of Guinness. After we picked ourselves up from laughing at that one, Janet got the tape. Well, it wasn't actually duct tape. It was heavy masking tape of some kind and even though Janet put two big strips over Pon's mouth, Pon still managed to continue to - uh - contribute. Once we had taped her up, she would make her comments and put the tape back on. She would also eat or sip her Guinness and put the tape back on. It was almost as though there was no tape. It was a great visual though. If we had had the real stuff, the gray stuff, the kind they use in movies and on TV, it would have been a different story. Let me stress that Pon was off-duty, in for the night and seriously entitled to relax!

That's about it. We broke up at about 3AM, having had the best time! These wonderful people are now friends who know each others faces and voices and laughter and some of each other's history. Once again, the magic of The Ponderosa created a gathering of very special people who can't wait to see each other again. Isn't it wonderful? Whether our show ever makes it back to the air or not, we will have this. This is ours.

Barbara E. Taylor
as a forum post on The Shadow Board

"I am relatively convinced that in a past life I was Walter Mitty!" -- me
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