Monday, October 13, 2003

October 13, 2003
Book is due today. Had another speech last night out at Pebble Creek in Litchfield. Long drive, took an hour to get out there. Did a joint appearance with Allen Fossenkemper’s O.K. Chorale. Sold a few books and two subscriptions. Got home at nine. Too much driving, for me.

The air is wet this morning. Sky is clear but it feels like rain. Painted yesterday afternoon. Saved an image of a gunfighter floating above a graveyard. Tombstone reference was from my trip to New Mexico in July. Took photos in Quemado cemetery. Wooden crosses and ornate tombstones in scattered disarray. Also redid a scratchboard of Jesse and Frank James riding double. And started a gouache of the Magnificent Seven (from Madelia, Minnesota) who brought down the Youngers at Hanska Slough. Had good reference for that from my trip up there in September of 2001. The grass and the trees were just starting to turn brown and gold, prefect reference for what it must have looked like on September 21, 1876 (at least for the vegetation).

Jana is coming out today, instead of Tuesday. After the book goes out the door, got to get busy with January issue. Gus and I are doing Davy Crockett for the Classic Gunfight: How did he really die? Swinging Old Betsy or surrendering? Hmmmm.

During my speech in Kingman I mentioned that Billy the Kid’s real name was Henry McCarty. When I took questions at the end, a woman waved a small piece of paper at me. I waded through the tables and retrieved it. This is what it said:

“Billy the Kid’s name was William Bonney. Nephew of Robert Bishop from New Mexico. Robert Bishop was my husband’s Grandfather. —Jennifer Bishop.”

Now how do you handle that? I waffled and said she could be right, there is much we don’t know about so many of these historical characters. Here is someone who grew up with the family tradition that Billy the Kid was part of their family. She is not alone. Such is the power of myth and family stories (most of which are myth also).

“In order that all men may be taught to speak truth, it is necessary that all should learn to hear it.”
—Samuel Johnson

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