Friends · My Thoughts

Rose Ward: Another Woman to Celebrate!

Rose Ward, Today
Rose Ward, Today!

Rose Ward comes to my mind as I continue to celebrate National Women’s History Month, and focus on the women in my history. The other four women I’ve written about this month are gone, but Rose lives on at 94 years old! And she’s quite a woman!

Rose was born December 14, 1928, in a boxcar in Watervale, Colorado, a spot on the railroad lien between Trinchera and Branson, the town I grew up in. Her family lived in a boxcar there for many years because the railroad provided them for the workers. Often, she caught the train to Trinidad there to pay the family bills. Then, moving from the boxcar, they lived in a rock house owned by the Doherty’s for many years in Watervale.

This fascinates me because I have only known Watervale as a ghost town or small settlement.

Rose’s dad worked for the railroad—he started at thirteen and worked for fifty-two years. Watervale was a water stop on the line, a necessity for the railroad cars back then. She had two brothers and two sisters. I, not only grew up with Rose’s children, but her brother Hildo’s, too.

From Watervale, her family moved to Trinchera and bought a bar. She met Tom Ward, her future husband, at her parents’ bar there. She remembers he rode up on horseback, a real cowboy.

Tom asked Rose’s dad if they could marry. On December 20, 1952, Tom came for her, and her mom wasn’t even awake yet. Rose wore a beautiful black dress. As they drove to Raton, New Mexico, to be wed, the car stopped and they had to crank it. She worried about it stopping, but it finally started up and they made it to Raton and wed. The young couple had a second wedding at the Catholic church in Trinchera.

During their young married life, they lived out on a ranch where she had to haul water and use an outhouse. Rose had had enough.

“Take me home,” she told Tom. So, he gave her a sizeable check and took her to her parents.

When she arrived home, she told her dad, “I left Tom.”

He had a quick response, “Go back to Tom!” so away she went.

So, Tom changed ranches, and their next home had another problem—skunks! So, Rose left again to her mother’s. Then, Tom changed ranches again and found a wonderful spot with Tom and Jack Morrow.

Tom and Rose raised four children. Tom passed away on October 23, 2003. They have ten grandchildren, twenty great-grandchildren and two great great-grandchildren. You can see that Rose enjoys her large family by all of her pictures surrounding her in her home today.

Rose also gave foster children a home, so many she can’t count them!

­­Growing up, I remember Rose in my life mostly as the mother of my classmates and friends. I got more acquainted with her after my dad died in 1996. She had moved to Branson, and Mom and Rose became close friends. Yes, they were friends for decades before that, but these two widows became extremely close in the loss of their husbands. Rose helped Mom with her loss of dad. They had daily contact and helped ease the horrible loneliness of women who had spent decades with their husbands.

Rose enjoyed going to our ranch with Mom. Often, these two small powerful women sat on Mom’s front porch facing a busy county road, drinking beer or Tequila Rose and not acting like grieving widows. They both had rascally personalities and fed off of each other. Supporting small town life, they went to school activities together and just had fun together.

Since Mom died in 2013, I try to visit Rose anytime I’m in Branson. We laugh, have ice cream or any of her delicious desserts, and talk about Mom and the gossip of town. Any time Rose reminisces about her childhood or younger life with Tom, I sit back and enjoy the tale. What a different time that was! I can’t imagine Branson without Rose.

What a hard worker Rose has been as long as I have known her, whether it’s cooking up dozens of tamales or cleaning someone’s house. She just offered to clean my house this past week! Amazing!

My husband, Lin, loves to be with Rose, discussing their gardening interests. He also loves to dance with her, as shown in this picture at the Branson-Trinchera Reunion.

Rose and Lin dancing at the Branson-Trinchera Reunion
Lin and Rose Dancing!

Rose defies the stamp of what 94 years old looks like. She lives alone, cooks delicious Mexican delicacies like tamales and sopapillas and still takes care of herself. Each morning she starts her day off with a cup of coffee with her son, then her daughter checks on her in the evenings and provides an evening meal if needed. Her out-of-town family members visit often, and she has pictures up of all her precious children.

She still does embroidery work and likes to keep a jigsaw puzzle going. In the evening, I often catch her watching her favorite Spanish Telenovela, and she has bought each one of my books!

Her laughter, her mischievous twinkle in her eyes and her loving, giving heart makes me choke up here in writing this!

What women in your history make you smile? Tell me about her/them!

In collaboration with Rose’s daughter, Jackie Mock

If you missed my other National Women’s History Month celebrations of four amazing women, here are the links:

News, News, News!

All available at my website: or

~For me, it’s Christmas all year long! Here’s a variety of Christmas greetings from Flippo & Neeca, featuring his song, “When It’s Christmas Time in Texas”:

Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? meme - Rose
Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy a chapter!

~My new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? WON the 2022 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards in the Body, Mind & Spirit Category. Have you bought your copy yet? Vist my website: or at Amazon.

Just Another Square Dance Caller: Authorized Biography of Marshall Flippo meme - Rose
A relaxed time with a latte and Flippo!

~Have you bought a copy of Flippo’s biography yet? Believe it or not—it’s been three years. Go here for your hardback or paperback: or at Amazon.

Books · family · My Thoughts · Ranching

Truth and Fiction: My Next Two Books!

Cowboys working cattle—truth

Truth and fiction! My next two books again centered on ranch life and my family through truthful nonfiction and historical fiction. One was truth—how my granddad put our family ranch together during the depression when others were losing theirs. The other was historical fiction where I fictionalized a story I had heard my whole life.

Let Me Tell You a  Story—Truthful nonfiction. Truth
Dad on the cover!

The Truthful Nonfiction–Let Me Tell You a Story

My dad celebrated his 75th birthday on March 20, 1993. So, Mom and I worked together on producing a chapbook of the story of how our family ranch was put together for his gift, titled Let Me Tell You a Story. Dad dictated the unique stories to Mom about the technique Granddad used to put together our ranch during a time when many lost their homesteads. Dad, the master storyteller, relished the telling and retelling of these familiar family stories. Then I typed them up on a 2E Apple computer with floppy disks. Then Dad helped me edit it, which was hilarious for this ole cowboy—he didn’t trust computers but immediately saw their usefulness. As a finishing touch, we added pictures to it.

Originally, I had copies printed for only our immediate family members and twenty-five copies for a classroom set for my literature class. Again, this lay aside for over twenty years. In 2016, I self-published it, again. It has become a favorite in Etsy Shop, Larada’s Reading Loft.

To tell the truth, this small chapbook warms my heart each time I reach for it because Dad’s words live on in it.

When Will Papa Get Home? Historical Fiction. Truth
The Philly Place

The Historical Fiction—When Will Papa Get Home?

In 1986, I taught my first year in Denver, Colorado, and the school district lent me a 2E Apple computer for the summer. I visited my parents on our family ranch, and we ventured to my favorite homestead on the place, the Philly Place. It got its name from the original owner, Philadelphia Cardenas. I had been there many times, but this time as I was leaving the homestead, I stopped out of what was the living room, looked down and found a blue marble.

I asked Dad about it, but he did not know. “Probably some arrowhead hunters out here with kids.”

I stuck that marble in my pocket, went back to Denver, and the story came pouring out of me, based on a story I had heard my whole life, told by Dad in Let Me Tell You a Story:

Charlie Garlutzo was working for the County Sheriff Department. Bob Gleason had “Phillie” (Philadelphio Cardenas) up on cow theft. Charlie got the one hundred and twenty acres bought from Phillie for seven- teen dollars and fifty cents an acre while he was scared about the charges. Garlutzo had the choice of selling the land to either Horner or Doherty. He chose to sell it to Horner.

Phillie was sentenced for a one-year term but got out in seven months for good behavior. Had Garlutzo not got the land bought from Phillie when he was scared, he would have been right back out there, back in business.

Larada Horner-Miller, Let Me Tell You a Story ( 2016): 15.

So, I fictionalized this true historical story and made the supposed culprit a horse thief with a twist. I told the story through the eyes of the daughter of the man accused of the thievery, and the blue marble belonged to her. The sheriff falsely accused her papa, and the story unfolds. Through extensive research, I wove their story of immigration from Mexico to the high desert prairie of southeastern Colorado. In doing that, I discovered how much I liked research and dove in. I researched adobe house building and much more.

For this book, I laid it aside for almost thirty years! After my successful stab at self-publishing, I released When Will Papa Get Home? in 2015. My aunt now owns the Phillie Place, and she gave me and my brother to revisit it to take pictures. So I took the picture on the cover. We had a delightful day rummaging through the ruins and marveling at how much of the original homestead was still there.

So, I featured truth and historical fiction in these two books. Retelling my family history in the one book encouraged me to jump into the historical fiction in the next. Enjoying both genres, I loved celebrating my country roots and heritage.

Do you have family stories? Truth or fiction? Share your thoughts! (Scroll down below!0

Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? Truth

Visit my website to find out about my new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? and my other five books and three cookbooks:

family · Holidays · My Thoughts · Ranching · square dance

Why Celebrate Father’s Day?

The Last Time I Danced With Dad!

Having just returned from the Colorado State Square Dance Convention in Pueblo, Colorado, I choked back a tear or two and felt a little nostalgic about the influence my Dad had on my life. Father’s Day is a day to celebrate our dad’s, so I wanted to share some of my fond memories.

My cowboy Dad loved his wife, his children, his ranch and friends. My brother and I inherited the ranch my grandfather put together—the place my Dad worked his whole life. I just returned from a drive around the ranch with my brother in the early evening looking for wildlife. I feel a special connection to Dad any time I’m standing on a ridge overlooking the canyon or eyeing a windmill he put in many years ago. Dad is everywhere on that ranch for me, and it happened again tonight.

Dad left a small souvenir all over the ranch—wrapped up baling wire for hay bales that he tied in a certain way and pitched out the truck window. We have tried to gather them up over the years, but a stray one appears, and I smile.

Yes, Dad loved this ranch, but another couple of his passions were dancing and storytelling, and I inherited both of them!

Dad and Mom met dancing, and it continued to be their main hobby until he couldn’t dance anymore. They danced to many of the big bands in Raton, New Mexico—a Catholic priest brought these famous bands to town, and the folks were on the dance floor—the cowboy donned a suit and boots and danced the night away. They glided across the floor as smooth as any other couple. During this time, they danced to the bands of Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, and Glen Miller for sure, but I bet there were others.

It wasn’t until I took round dance lesson after Dad died, I learned that he did the Foxtrot instead of Country two step—that was so surprising to me, but he loved big band music, and he danced many a mile to them, so they influenced his dance style.

He had a special step he did in his jitterbug repertoire; he said he stumbled one night when he was drunk and liked it so much, he kept it. Mom and I tried to reconstruct it after he died, but we couldn’t, so that dance move died with him.

When I was growing up, Dad was our 4-H club square dance caller, and he loved to teach people how to square dance. For a couple years we took two squares to Fort Collins, Colorado for the state competition. We never won, but we had a lot of fun.

He also liked teaching folk dances. Dad and I did the Jessica Polka to any polka played at a local dance. He taught us “Put Your Little Foot” or the “Varsouvianna,” the “Lily Marlane,”  the “Schottische,” and many others.

In this video, Cal Campbell explains the origin of the “Varsouvianna.”

This is the music I grew up to doing the Schottische:

Because of my family’s interest in dancing, I learned to country swing in the 80’s. One time, I came home with my newest move—the snake. Dad and I moved to the kitchen, I grabbed his hands and whipped him around, and his old shoulders shouted at him and then he at me! He couldn’t move like that anymore, but he wanted to, more than ever.

My Dad’s other passion was storytelling and he was an expert. Many guests sat around the round table in our dining room at gatherings and listened to his tales. He told stories of growing up in a small country town in the 1920’s, the depression with the lack of tires and life as a rancher during the World War II. He had asthma, so he couldn’t go to war, but he told about working on ranches around the area for cattlemen whose sons did go. Dad got to know the parents of his buddies during this time by working with them–what stories!

Dad told stories of a time and an era long gone—helping Mose Russell drive a herd of horses from southeastern Colorado to Cimarron, New Mexico. He often talked of horses; he had two horse accidents to share. The life of a rancher never has a dull moment, so he spoke of cattle incidences and the wonders of his life—mother nature was his God, and he told of glorious sunsets and miracles with a hard birth for one of his favorite cows.

Dad’s health declined, and death came quickly—in August 1995 things changed, and by January 1996 he died.

“. . . he progressed to the point of not being able to talk—his lips moved to form words but they just wouldn’t come out, and his left hand curled up in a ball.
His intense, frustrated glaze locked in on me. His frightened eyes searched mine for the words. Sometimes I finished his sentences; other times I had no idea what he wanted to say. He struck the table with his clenched fist, more desperate each time it happened.”

A Time to Grow Up: A Daughter’s Grief Memoir

Yes, he could no longer speak, and his stories ended; the last time he danced at our school gym to celebrate his 75th birthday, he gasped for air and couldn’t finish a complete circle around the floor. Every once in a while still, when the music is right, I can almost do his favorite move, but I haven’t yet!

When I come face-to-face with Dad in the hereafter, I’m sure the first thing we do after shedding a few tears and a bear hug is a glide around the celestial dance floor, doing his move once more and laughing and enjoying the beat of the music! And then he will tell me his favorite story once more, starting with “remember when . . .”

Check out my web site at

FATHER’S DAY SPECIALS GOOD UNTIL JUNE 24, 2019: 25% off of 2 BOOK BUNDLE: This Tumbleweed Landed & When Will Papa Get Home? paper copies. The men in your life would love these two books. Visit my Etsy Shop, Larada’s Reading Loft, to purchase my books.

Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Read snteresting posts about Flippo’s life.

Do you want to pre-order the Marshall Flippo biography? Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways!