Sunday, July 13, 2003

July 13, 2003
Big day in Willcox yesterday. It was the Michael Hickey annual confab for Warren Earp Days in Willcox, Arizona. Big breakfast at eight with a speaker from National Geographic. Michael always puts on a good show and treats everyone to a good time.

At ten, I drove down to the Elks Lodge for an author’s booksigning party. This year they invited Western movie stars (actually, Tombstone store owner, Jim Clark got tired of getting no support for the Tombstone Film Festival and moved his show up to Willcox this year). Peter Brown (Lawman), Robert Horton (Wagon Train), Marty Cove (Karate Kid and Wyatt Earp) and William Smith (Laredo and C.C. & Company).

Peter Brown came over to my table at one point and I said, “Peter, I have met you three or four times, but I have to ask you something personal.” He gave me that look, but I pressed on. “You actually dated Ann Margaret? Tell me something about her. Does she like strawberry jam? Did you buy her a motorcycle?” He smiled and told the story of how he met her (she was a singer in a college combo playing Newport Beach). Peter got her hooked up with several producers and agents he knew and in fact he introduced her to Roger Smith (77 Sunset Strip) her future husband. Peter got a very nice mention in her autobiography (that’s how I knew about their tryst).

Also talked to Marty Cove who was in Wyatt Earp with Kevin Costner. Marty was also at True West’s 30th anniversary part in Cheyenne. He signed me a couple photos.

William Smith was a “heavy” in many movies and I was actually an extra in a movie he starred in called C.C. & Company starring Joe Namath and, ta da, Ann Margaret. That was back in about 1970 when Joe was a big deal. William’s memory of it is that the Jets wouldn’t let Joe actually ride a motorcycle (those knees!), although I seem to remember there are several scenes of him riding.

Sold a ton of books. In fact, I sold three slip-case Wyatt Earp first editions for $150 each. Not bad. Many good comments on the magazine. The only negative: “I wish you didn’t have so many ads.” Had a good conversation with Bob McCubbin regarding the business. His dog “Bear” gets so much attention from women it’s downright amazing.

Kathy and I had lunch at the Rose Cafe in Willcox ($19 cash), then drove down to Dave and Doreen Daiss’ ranch near Elgin. Took the ranch tour and saw all the animals, pigs, chickens, dogs, horses and cattle. It’s a real Red River spread (in fact Red River was filmed in the area and the spires and peaks have that haunting, “Man, I’ve seen this all somewhere before,” effect.).

Had a couple beers, solved life, took a nap and then it started to rain. And then it hailed, tiny snowballs bouncing in the grass outside the front door. At about seven we went into Sonoita for dinner at the Sonoita Cafe. Got drenched opening the gates and even getting into the restaurant. Lovely little hometown cafe. Had the crab rellenos and a glass of Dos Cabezas Cabernet (locally grown grapes and wine). Really fun time ($50 cash). Went back out to the ranch as a stunning lightning storm raked the sky down around Fort Huachuca and the Huachuca Mountains (in fact, Dave told us Huchuca means “thunder”). Sat outside and just stared at the electric light show. So much of it was so far away, we never got the sound, but then after a dozen flashes a close one would hit and loudly rip through the atomosphere. Really exciting to witness. Better than any TV show or video game.

“There is no final draft of history.”
—John Carlin, archivist of the Unites States

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