Saturday, June 07, 2003

June 7, 2003
If all of yesterday’s creepy coincidences aren’t enough to make you feel like we are living in a three degrees of separation world, keep reading.

The governor of New Mexico, Bill Richardson, has named—ta-da!—Paul Andrew Hutton the historical advisor on the Billy dig (Paul is hoping the gov doesn’t read my journal). Another small world connection: Hutton, Fusco and I love to stay at Casa de Patron in Lincoln. In fact, here’s the opening line of dialogue from “Young Guns”: "Now, I say, we stop off at Juan Patrón's for one jolly big dram and one ginger beer with a dollop of whipped cream"

I must admit if I saw all of this in a movie I wouldn’t believe it.

On Thursday morning Bob Brink came into my office with a glint of the wolf in his eye. He told me the New York Times had put Billy the Kid on the front page and that we needed to be “all over this,” and own the story. I trust his instincts implicitly (he ran the Hearst magazine division for several decades), so we pulled in R.G. and immediately started talking about putting Billy on the cover of the next issue (October) and deciding who would write it (Jana). The one concern we all had was that by the fall this story could be deader than Martha Stewart’s stock options.

I woke up yesterday morning with a crazy notion. Even though the current issue is good and done and goes out the door Monday to the printer, should we seize the moment and rip up the Pancho cover, carve out enough pages inside and essentially do a “Stop the presses!”? R.G. liberated the pages (Mormon handcart story) and we conferenced Jana and asked her if she could turn the story in by Monday morning. She said she’d try (and in fact, Jana turned in her 1,500 word piece yesterday afternoon complete with quotes from Fusco, the NY Times writer, Hutton, the Hico representative, the Lincoln County sheriff, the NM governor’s office, among others. It is a total joy working with such a consummate professional). Now the only problem remaining is what to do about the cover. As I left last night the whole staff was gathered around Robert Ray’s computer looking at Daniel’s composite layout which includes Pancho and Billy. It doesn’t quite work. We are hanging out now bigtime. I hope to get something going this weekend.

Came home, swam laps, then Kathy and I drove in to the Biltmore for a birthday dinner for her (she’s 53). We ate at Wright’s (as in Frank Lloyd) and the hostess said, “Right this way,” and took us into the wine room where they had a private table with four candles. There was a gift on the table for Kathy (a beautiful candle), The wine steward got us champagne and they basically waited on us hand and foot. It was a delightful meal and when it came time to pay, the waiter said, “This is on Steve.”

I’ll tell you who Steve is tomorrow.

“The only people you should worry about getting even with are the people who helped you.”
—Old Vaquero Saying

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