Sunday, February 27, 2005

February 26, 2005
The numbers for January are in and they are record breaking. I'm talking about rainfall. Cave Creek has received over 11 inches of rain (this in an area where we usually get maybe 15 for the entire year), and north of here they have gotten even more. Up at Horsethief Basin they got 19 inches.

I had one of my childhood fantasies come true today.

One day in 1954, my dad brought home a television set to our small rental house in Swea City, Iowa. Kids for blocks came over to watch the meager programming (the networks went off the air quite often because they didn't have enough product and you'd just get a test pattern for much of the time). Over the next year or so, one of my favorite shows became The Range Rider and the hero wore this way cool, pullover fringe jacket. I had to have one.

There was a local TV "Cowboy" show out of Mason City, Iowa that featured Western music (a steel guitar and such) and they played cartoons and old Westerns. Every small market in North America had one of these shows. This one sponsored a contest for kids to draw something and send it in and if they deemed it worthy they would give you the very item you rendered. I became obsessed with drawing a fringe pullover like the Range Rider's and entering it. There was only one problem: my father got tired of the snow and Swedish farmers who wouldn't pay their gas bills and we moved to Arizona.

I still lusted after the fringe pullover and had fantasies of sending the fringe drawing to Iowa and going back there to claim my prize. Even on the trip out to Arizona on Route 66, when my dad would stop for gas, I'd run into the curio shop and try and find a fringe pullover like the Range Rider's. Nobody had one.

Fast foreword several years and the Beatles landed and I went off in another direction (although the Byrds' David Crosby wore a fringe jacket, as did Jackson Browne and James Taylor and believe me I took notice). By the time I could afford a fringe jacket, thanks to the Village People and others, the fringe jacket had taken on a gay connotation. So when I could finally afford one, I felt intimidated out of it.

A couple of years ago I told Kathy that someday I intended to shake off my immature attitude about fringe jackets and be brave enough to get one and wear it.

Today we were invited over to Larry Olson's house. I delivered to him the cover painting for Classic Gunfights, Volume I {Elfego Baca drawing two guns) and he and his wife Joyce made lunch for Kathy and I and showed off their art and gun collection. While looking at the art in the master bedroom, Larry noticed me eying a tan fringe jacket hanging prominently at the front of his walk-in closet.

"I don't wear that anymore," Larry said. "Are you interested in it?" I smiled at Kathy.

It's hanging in my closet this evening. And I guess it’s time for me to come out of the closet and say, "Frankly, I don't care if you think I'm a flaming gayboy—I’ve gone Fringe City."

"My life has been full of tragedies, most of which never happened".
—Michel de Montaigne

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