March 23, 2011Going to treat the staff to lunch today at Cafe Bink in Carefree. We've had two record issues and we are going to celebrate by eating great food and telling big lies.
I promised to tell the story of the old cowboy who confronted me at Orme Ranch last week and Pat Dunn reminded me I haven't told it yet. Here tis:
A week ago I drove up to Orme Ranch to sketch the different buildings on campus for an aerial map illustration I have been hired to complete. Jeb Rosebrook and his son Stuart drove onto campus about five and invited me to join them in Old Main for cocktails and a barbecue ribs dinner. While having a glass of wine I introduced myself to some very nice people from New Mexico and New Hampshire who were there for the annual vaquero ride. Must have been about 50 people in the room. They asked what I did and I told them. A few minutes later, one of the wranglers for the ride, an old, grizzled cowboy stumbled by (old cowboys always walk like they've just broken both legs) and someone said, "Hello, Bob Cook. Have you met Bob Boze Bell. He runs True West magazine?"
Mr. Cook looked me straight in the eye and said, "I know who you are. You ruined my favorite magazine." Everyone kind of froze. Bob Cook, in typical cowboy fashion, was very direct, adding, "I used to collect this magazine, but I hated what you did with it when you moved to Cave Creek." He walked away. Everyone kind of cringed, but I laughed and said, "You've got to love cowboys, they tell it to you straight, without ducking, or pretending to be nice."
Two minutes later, Bob came back and we both laughed. I told him I understood his opinion, since I have more than a few friends who agree with him. I told him I loved the old magazine as well but couldn't make it pay the old way. Mr. Cook loosened up and started to tell me stories about running a trading post on the Navajo res in the 1950s and early 1960s. Said he had delivered babies and buried bodies. I asked him to give me an example and he said one day a very pregnant Navajo woman staggered in to his trading post and asked for a ride to the hospital in Gallup. Bob told her his truck was out on deliveries and wouldn't be back for a couple hours. She collapsed. He took her in the back, and in the Navajo tradition, hung her from her armpits, up off the floor, caught the baby, cut the cord, gave her a new blanket and she then proceeded to walk six miles home!
He also told me how he sold the last Studebaker wagon in 1964. Sold it for $600. I remember seeing those wagons up and down the highway, when our family drove through the res in the early 1960s on our way to Iowa. They were all gone in a decade, and today you don't see any.
I told Bob Cook I was going to sic a writer on him and get some of these great stories and run it in the magazine he hates so much. He laughed and gave me his card.
I love these old guys, even the ones who hate my magazine.
Found an intriguing page of sketches in one of my 10,000 Bad Drawings Sketchooks from a couple years ago:
Nice colors and the guy at bottom, is, of course, a favorite outlaw of ours.
"On the Plains of Hesitation bleach the bones of countless millions who, at the dawn of Victory, sat down to wait, and waiting—died!"
—George W. Cecil