Friday, May 23, 2008

May 23, 2008
I had surgery this morning to remove a suspicious melanoma-looking mole on my back. The doctor asked me if I was nervous and I said, "Are you kidding? I had an angiogram two days ago, and this morning I'm looking forward to the stomach time."

Went fine. A six-inch gash and two rows of stitches. As the doctor and nurse snipped away we got to talking and it turns out his wife has a Phd. in History and is doing a book on Billy the Kid. So we had a lot to talk about and the time flew.

Another True West Moment Question
"I have always seen on the westerns and heard about the jail breaks. and i was just wondering if there were a lot of jail breaks back then or was it more peaceful than what is shown?"
—J Collier

This is a great question. There were many jail breaks in the Old West and they covered the gamut. Outlaws dug their way clear quite a bit because many early jails were made of adobe (in Lincoln, New Mexico it was merely a dug out pit with boards over the top), or they used clever ruses (fake weapons made out of wood, or soap), or their friends stormed the jail and simply let them out. In the early days of Tombstone prisoners were kept in one of the hotel rooms with a guard, who sometimes looked the other way, or was easily bamboozled. When one reads about all of the escapes it's hard to imagine anyone being kept for very long, but of course, there were tough jails where prisoners seldom escaped. And usually, there were diligent guards to keep them there. One common thread in many of the escapes is exercise yards, or bathroom breaks. Billy the Kid escaped, killing his two guards after, a trip to the outhouse (legend says a friend hid a pistol there for the Kid to find), in Silver City outlaws overpowered a guard as they were coming back in from exercise, and in Tucson, Johnny Behind-The-Deuce climbed a 12-foot wall and escaped as the prisoners were being put back inside after an outside break. The suspicion is that several of the prisoners held back as the men were going inside and two of them formed a step-ladder at the wall and Johnny jumped up on them and made it over the top, where a friend had left a horse. Of course this was before razor wire. Ha.

Bob Boze Bell
Executive Editor, True West magazine

Working on an Apache running sequence. Having fun (drawing and painting in the Now):

And I've returned once again to the red and black combo in my sketches:

And how!

FYI: my home scanner isn't big enough to pick up the entire sketchbook page.

"Happiness depends, as Nature shows, Less on exterior things than most suppose."
—William Cowper

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