Saturday, May 22, 2004

May 22, 2004
Samantha has been selling True West Maniac Club memberships, like, well, a maniac. The dang club ain’t even open for business yet (it’ll be on the site right here very soon), and she’s already sold six. The first one she sold was from a couple in South Carolina who found us on the newsstand there, never knew we existed, bought an issue and called the next day to inquire about a subscription. Samantha sold her and her husband the deal ($149). She is the number one charter member and receives a lifetime subscription, plus tons of other goodies.

This morning I bailed into a scratchboard of John Selman creeping through the swinging doors of the Acme Saloon on a hot and humid El Paso night. Have a couple more I want to do this weekend.

Henry Martinez of Reserve, New Mexico called and said the town is offering a scholarship to a local student who writes the best piece on their local hero Elfego Baca. This is all part of Henry’s efforts to build a museum in Reserve for the famous Old West lawman and to promote and encourage the unique history of their little town. Henry sent me the winning essay. Here it is:

Elfego Baca Scholarsip Application:
Please write an essay of 500-1000 words describing what you feel are the important lessons learned from the life and times of Elfego Baca

Winning entry:
Lindsy Glick
GPA: 4.04
Plans after High School: attend Goshen College, Indiana
Career Goal: to do God’s will for me—possibly mission work after college

Lessons from a Legend
“Most everyone enjoys hearing stories about ‘wild west,’ but it is not often that those stories are factual, and that the events of the story took place a few blocks down the road. These thoughts kept occurring to me as I read about the noble Mexican-born youth, Elfego Baca.

“The most prominent lesson that immediately hovers in my mind from the story of this man, concerns the numerical odds he faced when challenging the huge lot of unruly cowboys. He had one purpose: to stop the actions that he felt were wrong. Elfego paid no heed to fact that he was one man, and the cowboys were a massive group. Yet the odds did matter, and did not win; Elfego’s mission was successful. This lesson is a great one when pondering the gigantic odds that often seemed stacked against us. That is not to say we should ignore opposition to our goals, but we should consider a way to get around them, or through them, in order to succeed. We should not give up, thinking that ‘there are just too many cowboys.’

“Another thing that strikes me about Elfego’s story is the reversal of malice (or at least spite). It is obvious by the 367 bullet holes in the door of Elfego’s hideout that the cowboys did not appreciate the authority and law that Elfego was enforcing. However, after a third party (with a badge) arrived and made a treaty between the sides, the cowboys drank with Elfego, and he told them how he managed to survive their bullet massacre. I imagine gruff, dusty men sitting at the bar laughing at the scene which they just ended—as enemies moments before. It seems that Elfego won the respect of his adversaries; not only by his miraculous survival, but perhaps because he refused to give in even while facing likely death. He would not surrender himself, and with himself his morals and his mission.

“This is an additional thing to remember when facing a multitude of opponents, or even peers: continue to do what you know is right. Even if the others do not agree now, and seem to hate you, you may yet prevail. And, you will leave with a clear conscience, no matter what the outcome.

“Though the wild times that Elfego Baca lived in have come to an end, or settled down, these lessons will never lose their truth. Never give up; you can win against great odds; stand up for what is right; do not give in to any amount of pressure. He proved all of these things to be valid. The greatest of these lessons, though, lies within the greatest thing Elfego did: Elfego Baca did what was right. He did not let anything get in his way, and this makes his feat more impressive, but his most commendable act was doing right by stopping wrong. After hearing about the wrong done to Mexicans, he set out to make it right, with no hesitations. After surviving great peril, he left the small town as he set out to leave it: peaceful.”
—Lindsay Glick

“Cats are intended to teach us that not everything in nature has a purpose.”
—Garrison Keillor

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