The time before last when I was in Mogollon, New Mexico, I took Lew Jones out for breakfast at the Alma Grill (Alma is where Butch Cassidy, the Sundance Kid and Elzy Lay worked as cowboys and partied in the Alma Saloon). One of the cowboys at a nearby table recognized me from the Westerns Channel and after everyone else left, we chatted about cowboying and the West we love. Little did either of us know at the time but both of us were soon going to get our turn in the barrel.
I had my heart attack in March of 2008 and Monk Maxwell had his in November. The only difference being, Monk had his way out on the range, an hour from the ranch house, and he had to ride back to the ranch, then his wife drove him to Silver City (another hour). At some point they flew him to Las Cruces. His doctors still cannot believe he made it. Especially after his stents failed and they had to do double-bypass surgery. Monk was in the hospital for more than 20 days and this is where our mutual adventure parts company: I have insurance. He doesn't (no insurance company would cover a wild cow chaser). While my insurance company paid the $131,500 hospital bill, Monk got slammed with some $300,000 in hospital bills. He lived and he's eternally grateful to the doctors who saved him, but his beloved ranch is for sale in a very down market.
In spite of this bad turn of events, Monk and his wife are positive about their future. We are running a piece on him in our Vaquero feature in September. Written by his friend Jay Dusard, I think Monk's life is a movie waiting to happen. He has led such an amazing life.
"No one ever gets far unless he accomplishes the impossible at least once a day."