November 22, 2004
Forty one years ago? Is that possible? JFK visits Dallas. If the study of history has taught me anything it's that the big myth, yes, even bigger than anything we've seen so far, will really kick in at the fifty mark. That's when the survivors get down to a couple dozen and the stories get bigger and the writers get younger and the theories get weirder and strangely, more believable. At least that's how the Old West characters I love ascended into immortality. It was in the late forties, that would be the 1940s, and early fifties that the fantasies hit full stride and the few oldtimers left, Al Jennings, 93 (who shot and killed a neighbor by accident trying to show him a real fast draw) and Brushy Bill, 74 (Yes, I’m in the James Gang, no wait, I’m Billy the Kid!) captured the center stage. The only thing they were believable on is that every time they retold the stories they'd get closer to the center of the stage.
I was talking to Charlie Waters on the phone this afternoon and he was laughing about me riding my bike in my slippers and red shorts and he told me he remembered seeing old codgers in his neighborhood (Gold Street!) when he was growing up. And just how embarrassed he would be for these old coots in their mismatched clothes and all of their dumpy, goofiness. "And now," I admitted, "I'm that guy. And, I don't care."
I finally understand why oldtimers get so cranky when you try and talk to them about "how it really was back then." I get it. I'm not cranky yet, but I get it.
Rained all day again. Snow closed I-40 east of Kingman for forty miles. My friends Buckeye Blake and his wife Tona were driving down from Idaho and said everyone was stopped at the 93 turn-off east of Kingman and many turned around, but more than a few headed south on 93 and it was wall to wall trucks all the way to Wickenburg, which is a treacherous section without the extra traffic. They got into Cave Creek at two and I met them at El Encanto. We had a great lunch (they bought) and we laughed about everything from crooked art dealers to Italian biker tours to Davey Powell getting accepted into the Cowboy Artists of America to Brian Label's new Legacy Gallery up in Carefree.
Finally finished the Johnny-Behind-the-Deuce copy. It's going to be a great little epic. So much of this story has been mis-reported for so long (see JFK paragraph). Ha.
"When I was growing up, there were two things that were unpopular in my house. One was me, and the other was my guitar."
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