Saturday, October 04, 2014

Guess Who's Back In Lincoln?

October 4, 2014
   He's been gone from this town for a day or two, or three, but almost all of my amigos knew he would return, eventually. But it wasn't easy.

   Last night at 5:24 p.m. I saw a Fed Ex van pull up to the Old Lincoln County Courthouse. At the time I was out front of the Wortley Hotel trying to get bars on my phone, so I could call Bronzesmith in Prescott Valley and ask about the status of our big Bad Billy bronze. As I watched the driver run up to the door and put a tag on it, I finally got through to Ed Reilly at Bronzesmith and he assured me it went out express. "Where did you send it?" I asked him as I stood on one foot to try and keep the signal. "To the Old Lincoln Court House."

   I ran across the street and saw the Fed Ex tag saying the package they were delivering had to have a person sign for it. So close, but yet so far. So now, the bronze, which drove right by me, was well on its way to Roswell. Rather than trying to run him down I decided to go to Capitan with Ken Amorosano and eat New Mexico green chile stew at Paisanos. It was a good decision. First, because the chile was excellent and second because it forced me to drive to Roswell this morning and I had two epiphany's on the way down.

   The first is how incredible John Tunstall's ride was from Lincoln to Chisum's Ranch (just outside present day Roswell). I kept looking out the window and marveling at how this green horn from England, rode—all by himself—all the way without a map or a guide. And then, I marveled, at how far he rode the next day and the next. Close to 120 miles in all. I am working on a Classic Gunfight: "John Tunstall's Last Ride" complete with a map by Gus "The Mapinator" Walker and new research from Fred Nolan.

   The second epiphany was this: there have been hundreds of brutal slayings from the Capitans to the north to the Sacramentos to the south, from Agua Negra to Dog Canyon, from Blazer's Mill to Seven Rivers, and a whole bunch of people were slaughtered by Apaches, by Texicans, by outlaws and prominent politicians, and when you read about each one and study it, you get angry and it is just so unfair and awful and what the hell does it mean? Well, a handy billboard at Hondo had the answer:

Billboard at Hondo on the road to Roswell, New Mexico

   Got to Roswell at 11:20 and picked up a very large box from this place:

Fed Ex Headquarters On College Avenue in Roswell, New Mexico

  Drove back to Lincoln (67 miles) averaging about 85 mph ("Look at that guy from Arizona go, I wonder what the hell is in his bonnet?"). Arrived back at the Gallegos House at 12:17 and dragged the big box into my office space and unwrapped it. Even the shroud of it was magical:

A Certain Outlaw Shrouded In Mystery

I am the only person here. Everyone is at lunch down the Wortley. So, I set him up at the end of the table in my art space and I must say, he sure looks at home:

The Boys Are Back In Town (or, at least one of them is)

"Guess who just got back today?
Those wild-eyed boys that had been away
Haven't changed, haven't much to say
But man, I still think those cats are great."
—Thin Lizzy, "The Boys Are Back In Town"