365 AMERICAN JOY-GIVERS for 2021: The Trick or Treat Birthday Party

(Photo from 3yummytummies.com)

The invitation for “The Trick or Treat Birthday Party” this Halloween weekend suggested fun costumes inspired by the American West—“YEEHAW, y’all come as your favorite singing cowboy or cowgirl.” This was “come as you are” for Roy Rogers, Will Rogers and Kinky Friedman but our other birthday celebrants, roped, tied and branded their own memorable salutes to happy horseback-riding heroes and heroines. 

Roseanne Barr came as “Patsy Montana,” the first singing cowgirl star, and sang “I Want to Be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart” with Montana’s Prairie Ramblers backing her. 

Charles Atlas, the bodybuilder and agile tumbler, came as a muscled-up Gene Autrey and pantomimed Autrey’s hit, “Tumbling Tumbleweeds.” 

Even Juliette Gordon Low, the genteel founder of America’s Girl Scouts, joined the fun by dressing like her contemporary outdoorswoman, Annie Oakley. 


Tie on a bandana and climb onto the fresh, mile-high haybale Richard Serra designed. You feel the joy as you hear the spurs jingle, jangle, jingle. 

HOORAY FOR THE JOY-GIVERS! (Note: The comments attributed to these famous joy-givers come from words they have written or said.) 


Oct. 30—CHARLES ATLAS (born Angelo Siciliano) was an Italian American who trained himself to develop his body from that of a “scrawny weakling” to eventually become the most popular bodybuilder of his day. He marketed his bodybuilding course with headlines including these: 

“The Insult That Turned a ‘Chump’ Into a ‘Champ’” 

“Hey Skinny! Yer Ribs Are Showing!” 

“How Jack the Weakling Slaughtered the Dance-Floor Hog” 

“Battle Fought in Bed That Made Fred a He-Man” 

“How Joe’s Body Brought Him Fame Instead of Shame” 

“Are You Tired of Sand Being Kicked in Your Face? I Promise You New Muscles in Days” 

“Let Me Prove in 7 Days That I Can Make You a New Man” 

Oct. 31—JULIETTE GORDON LOW was the founder of Girl Scouts of the USA. Inspired by the work of Lord Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts, she joined the Girl Guide movement in in England in 1911. A year later, she returned to the United States and established the first U.S. Girl Guide troop in Savannah, GA. Her birthday, October 31, is celebrated each year by Girl Scouts throughout our nation as “Founders Day.” 

Here are quotes by Low and others about Girl Scouts: 

“Girl Scouting is not just knowing…but doing…not just doing, but being.”—Juliette Gordon Low 

“At Girl Scouts, we create leaders.”—Anna Maria Chavez 

“Scouting rises within you and inspired you to put forth your best.”—Juliette Gordon Low 

“The Girl Scouts is an organization that constantly gives you new goals to achieve and that is what life is all about.”—Maria Bartiromo 

“One Girl Scout can make a difference but together we can ROCK the world.” 

“I am smart…and I am strong…and I can do anything.” #IAMGIRLSCOUT 

Nov. 1—KINKY FRIEDMAN (born Richard Samet Friedman in Chicago) is a singer, songwriter, novelist, humorist, politician and journalist. He styles himself like those popular, American joy-giving satirists Mark Twain and Will Rogers. Friedman ran a rollicking, winking-but-real, fun campaign for Governor of Texas in the 2006 election and received 12% of the vote. 

Nov. 2—RICHARD SERRA is considered by many art aficionados and academics to be “America’s Greatest Living Sculptor.” He is widely known for his monolithic, self-supporting minimalist works, often made of weathered sheet steel. Serra has dedicated artworks to these other American-ish joy-givers: Greta Garbo, Charlie Chaplin, Marilyn Monroe and Buster Keaton. 

Nov. 3—ROSEANNE BARR is an actor, comedian, writer, television producer and former U.S. Presidential candidate. The Salt Lake City, Utah native began her career in stand-up comedy and is best-known for her work on the television sitcom, “Roseanne” (1988-1997; 2018). She is an Emmy Award and Golden Globes Award winner for Best Actress in that show. 

Nov. 4—WILL ROGERS (William Penn Adair Rogers) was a stage, film, radio, vaudeville, cowboy performer—humorist, newspaper columnist, social commentator and Okie. He was born to a Cherokee family in Indian Territory (now Oklahoma). He traveled around the world three times, made 71 films (50 silent films and 21 “talkies”), and wrote more than 4,000 nationally syndicated newspaper columns. 

Nov. 5—ROY ROGERS (born Leonard Franklin Slye in Cincinnati, Ohio) was a VERY American singer, actor and television host who was branded, the “King of the Cowboys.” He appeared in more than 100 films and made numerous radio and television appearances of “The Roy Rogers Show.” He often appeared with his real-life wife, Dale Evans, his Golden Palomino horse, Trigger and his German Shepherd dog, Bullet. His joy-giving, comic sidekicks were played by Pat Brady, Andy Devine, George “Gabby” Hayes and Smiley Burnette. In his later years, he lent his celebrity name to the franchise chain of Roy Rogers Restaurants. 


“Money can buy you a fine dog, but only love can make him wag his tail.”—Kinky Friedman 

“I was in psychoanalysis and I told my analyst I wanted to be the best sculptor in the world and he said, ‘Richard, calm down.’”—Richard Serra 

“You may marry the man of your dreams, ladies, but 14 years later, you’re married to a couch that burps.”—Roseanne Barr 

“I joked about every prominent person of my time, but I never met anyone I didn’t like.”—Will Rogers 

“Today, they’re making pictures I wouldn’t want Trigger to see.”—Roy Rogers 

“Politics is the only field where the more experience you have, the worse you get.”—Kinky Friedman 

“I support gay marriage. I believe they have a right to be as miserable as the rest of us.”—Kinky Friedman 

“Everything we choose in life for its lightness soon reveals its unbearable weight.”—Richard Serra 

“Half the world is starving; the other half is trying to lose weight.”—Roseanne Barr 

“Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip.”—Will Rogers 

“When you’re young and fall off a horse, you may break something. When you’re old and you fall off, you splatter.”—Roy Rogers 

“Democrats and Republicans are the same guy admiring themselves in the mirror.”—Kinky Friedman 

“If you want to make art, at some point you have to suspend judgment, and you have to involve yourself with play and not worry about the outcome.”—Richard Serra 

“The thing women have yet to learn is nobody give you power. You just take it.”—Roseanne Barr 

“Common sense ain’t common.”—Will Rogers 

“If there were no valley of sadness and death, we could never really appreciate the sunshine of happiness on the mountain top.”—Roy Rogers 

“God created whiskey to keep the Irish from taking over the world.”—Kinky Friedman 

“Work out of your work. Don’t work out of anybody else’s work.”—Richard Serra 

“As a housewife, I feel that if the kids are still alive when my husband gets home from work, then hey, I’ve done my job.”—Roseanne Barr 

“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die, I want to go where they went.”—Will Rogers 

“I did pretty good for a guy who never finished high school and used to yodel at square dances.”—Roy Rogers 

“An editor’s job is to take something great and make it good.”—Kinky Friedman (Note: I’m trying to sneak this past my superb, yes, eagle-eyed, SUPERB editor, Olivia Law.) 

“To see is to think, and to think is to see.”—Richard Serra 

“I quit smoking. I feel better. I smell better. And it’s safer to drink out of old beer cans around the house.”—Roseanne Barr 

“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”—Will Rogers 


APPETIZER—Will Rogers Lasso Rope Cheese (cheese.com) 

SOUP—Charles Atlas Muscle-Building High-Protein Soup (eatingwell.com) 

ENTRÉE—Roseanne Barr Beer Can Chicken (perdue.com) 

SIDE DISH—Roy Rogers Cowboy Casserole (tasteofhome.com) 

BREAD—Richard Serra Steel-Cut Oat Bread (yummly.com) 

BEVERAGE—Kinky Friedman Halloween Candy Corn Cocktail (distillerytrail.com) 

DESSERT—Juliette Gordon Low Girl Scout Cookies (allrecipes.com) 

ONE TO GROW ON—A quick search on Amazon lassoed an array of Kinky Friedman books, including a couple I didn’t already have dog-eared on my shelves. There are also some promising albums. Try these Kinky tomes: “Armadillos and Old Lace” and “Kinky Friedman’s Guide to Texas Etiquette: Or How to Get to Heaven Without Going Through Dallas-Fort Worth.” Get your giddy-up on YouTube and enjoy some Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys music vids and his gubernatorial campaign trail zingers. 

Roy Rogers signaled the end of the evening saying, “Until we meet again, may the good Lord take a liking to you.” Then, “The Trick or Trick Birthday Party,” joy-givers joined him in a cowboy/cowgirl sing-along of: 

“HAPPY TRAILS to you, until we meet again. 

Happy trails to you, keep smilin’ until then. 

Who cares about the clouds when we’re together? 

Just sing a song and bring the sunny weather. 

Happy trails to you, ‘til we meet again.” 




2 ounces bourbon 

4 scoops of vanilla bean ice cream 

¼ cup milk 

¾ cup of caramel corn 

2 teaspoons of toasted, spicy hazelnuts 

1 teaspoon of caramel sauce for garnish 


  1. In a blender, combine vanilla bean ice cream, milk, bourbon, ½ cup of caramel corn and 1 teaspoon hazelnuts 
  1. Blend until desired consistency 
  1. Pour blended mixture into serving glass 
  1. Top with caramel sauce drizzle 
  1. Garnish with caramel corn and nuts