December 7, 2006 Bonus Blog
Cave Creek cowboy Russ Garrett came by and took me to lunch at El Encanto at noon today. I hadn't been there in months. Sat out by the pond. Beautiful day to sit outside. Linda was our waitress, and she told me this is their slow time. I had the machaca and eggs and Russ had a taco and enchilada ($19 plus $5 tip, I picked up the tab because Russ told me of a tire place that will drive out and fix my John Deere tire!). He has a John Deere and does odd jobs. Put an ad in the paper and gets calls. He loves it. Russ is the guy who hooked me up with the mule owner, Denny Haywood. Russ has nine grandkids and four great-grandkids. He used to live in Stillwater, Oklahoma which is where True West was for many years. Over lunch he told me many horse stories and in fact, told me, shaking his head, that horses have probably held him back in life. He went on to say he is an expert at buying horses, just not very good at selling them (he also told the old joke that horses are like potato chips: you can't have just one).
I should have known that when it comes to books, one blog reader would not only know about the obscure book I just read, but would know all his other titles and his sister! To wit:
"Marshal has good taste. The Conquest of Don Pedro has been one of my top favorites since I first read it. All of Harvey Fergusson's novels set in the Southwest are very much worth reading...Wolf Song, Grant of Kingdom, and In Those Days especially. He is really good at his portrayal of women...particularly Spanish women. Harvey was the sister of Erna Fergusson, who I imagine you have heard of, and whom I visited in her home in Albuquerque. She died in 1964. I never got to meet Harvey. Anyway, your mention of the book in your Blog brought back memories."
—Bob McCubbin, Santa Fe, New Mexico
And here's Marshall with a few tidbits on the author:
"I did some checking on Harvey Fergusson Jr. He was the son of Harvey Fergusson Sr, a crusading Democratic New Mexico politician who challenged the Republican establishment in New Mexico. Later he was the first congressman to represent NM following statehood in 1912. Interestingly, as a lawyer, he once tried a case in Lincoln County.
"Harvey Jr. born in New Mexico in 1890, was a newspaperman who also wrote fiction mostly about the end of the frontier and the new West. One of his later works, "The Conquest of Don Pedro" was a historical novel but all the characters and places were fictitious. He continually sought to correct what he saw as a flaw in conventional western writing saying "not that its stories are melodramatic but that its heroes and heroines are lifeless." His best work is considered to be "Wolf Song," a novel based loosely on Kit Carson.
"During the 1930s he moved to Hollywood where he did some screenwriting. Fergusson died in California in 1971."
This is one of the benefits of owning a magazine like True West and writing a blog. I have all of you to do my homework! I'm not kidding, it really is thrilling to me to know such inspiring people.
A Maniac response Pancho's Revenge:
"Say, I just came from checking out the ol' blog—where I noticed something interesting. The first painting of Pancho Villa you have posted there looks (to me, anyhow) amazingly like the painted image of James Coburn in the original Italian poster for Sergio Leone's DUCK YOU SUCKER (aka, FISTFUL OF DYNAMITE...aka, GIU LA TESTA)!
"I have attached some images to compare. Do you see a resemblance...or is it just me?"
—Chris, Maniac #946, Sierra Vista, Arizona
And here's the Mapinator weighing in on my recent mule-renderings:
"I was studying your mule portraits yesterday and was amazed at how much character and personality you have given these much maligned critters. your reference work has paid off on their behalf. i think you’ve embued them with wisened, cat-like attitudes, at least facially. perhaps the term 'dumber than a mule' should be stricken from our vocabulary."
—The Mapinator, Gus Walker
Yes, today at lunch Russ Garrett was telling me about how smart mules are. He told about being a kid in Missouri and trying to get a mule to hoe a row while plowing with his brother, and the mule kept trying to get in the left furrlow from the plow and one of them finally had to get in front of the mule and force him to stay in what they thought was the correct furrow, only to find out when their dad got home that the mule knew which furrlow to go in, and they were the ones who were "dumb as a post." The mule knew more than they did!
“It was a place of old walls, old trees, old songs and stories, old feuds and hatreds, a place where human relations were ruled by old forms and customs too rigid for men to break. . .The town stood on slightly higher ground a few hundred yards to the east, showing only as a cluster of reddish adobe walls, with some treetops lifting above them. Beyond it the mesa, thinly grown with greasewood, was a dull and dusty olive green, reaching away toward a purple loom of mountains. It was a very hot, bright day in early September. The heat waves shimmered and danced above the old walls, as though they had stood at the bottom of a troubled, limpid sea.”
—Harvey Fergusson, The Conquest of Don Pedro
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