Thursday night is family night, or so it was my entire childhood when we spent every Thursday night with my grandparents and great aunts at The Ranch, a private club in Kansas City "dedicated to equine activities". Well that and swilling cocktails with your cronies at every possible event. No liquor was sold, each member had a locker where they housed their stash, carefully selected to cover all possible needs of each individual member, and their guests. After several cocktail hours we all moved upstairs for a family style meal prepared by Millie, and later Herschel. I think I was about 36 before Thursday night stopped meaning hamburger patty with sliced tomato and cottage cheese, the assigned children's meal.
As my father being the only one who ever actually got on a horse, save my mother who for a very brief time thought it fashionable (oh the boots, and the riding jackets!), I suspect the remainder of my family was in it for the social hours. Teetee and OohOoh being far to short and toddly to ever actual make it to the top of a horse, they enjoyed many a long evening enjoying their locker contents, and of course, Bingo. I loved sitting with them at the old lady widow table, always moving their way after dinner. Surely this is where I learned the true value of a dollar, watching these old women bicker over dime side bets.
Family night being a curious term for an evening spent getting schnokered with your fellow members, I loved it, loved every bit of it. And certainly this was long before drinking and driving became so taboo, knowing my parents counted several attorneys and one judge amongst their family night crowd, skipping Bingo to move back downstairs to enjoy more equestrian activities. In fact the club kindly provided each member with a logo license plate, clearly a community service alert, intended to warn all other traffic to move quickly away from any car coming near you with a club license plate on the front.
It's time to resurrect family night, although there are few options for equestrian activities in downtown Chicago. We could take a ride on one of the horse and buggy carriages so readily available this time of year but the real meaning of family night was knowing that every Thursday I'd be spending the evening with Mimi and Bopaw and Teetee and OohOoh. Sigh. Pass the cocktails, cheers!
Pictures are from Life Magazine, which describes the second photo this way: Members of "Saddle & Sirloin" Club, a civic-minded businessman's organization, taking a Western style morning workout.
Only in Kansas City do you find a photograph of a businessman's organization taking a morning workout in this fashion. Although the first photograph is well before my time, I fondly remember those cowboy themed dishes. I bet these four spent an evening or two with Mimi and Bopaw at the Ranch.