Friday, September 20, 2019

The Jack Rabbit Club Foretells Another Bunny Related Club

September 20, 2019
   Every so often a photo surfaces that makes us all go, "Say, what?" This is one of them.

The Jack Rabbit Club

   Our editor, Stuart Rosebrook thinks we should run one of these photographs in every issue and ask our readers to tell us what the hell they think is going on in the picture. Apparently, there was a "club" and the women wore bunny ears and well, I think Harry put it best when he said:

   "The only new thing in this world is the history you don't know."
—Harry Truman

Thursday, September 19, 2019

All The Geronimo Quotes That Fit

September 19, 2019
   Got out on the road this morning just in time to catch another so so view of Ratcliff Ridge:



   Meanwhile, here's a sneak peek at a quick mock-up of a doubletruck spread which includes many of the quotes I have been rounding up:




   Double meanwhile, here is a video of me working on a painting for the book:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0YBfN8knD8


"That’s the problem with the study of history: it’s one part magnifying glass, one part cudgel."
Stephen Harrigan, in his new book "Big Wonderful Thing: A History of Texas"

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

A True West Moment: When We Bought The Damn Thing

September 18, 2019
   It was twenty years ago today, at noon, two crazy friends of mine (Bob McCubbin and Rick Baish) ponied up, with me, to buy a failing magazine we all loved. We threw a lot of money at it trying to turn the boat. Both Bob and Rick bailed at the $250,000 mark (Bob ponied up an extra $75k before leaving) and then Kathy and I soldiered on alone and remortgaged our house to put in another $100,000. Then Carole Glenn put up money from her house to get another $40,000, and we somehow, someway managed to squeak by.

The two women who saved True West
Carole Compton Glenn and Kathy Sue Radina


   We will celebrate 20 years of continuous publication of True West magazine on October 26th at the Desert Foothills Library.


   The room only holds 115 people at the library, so you need to RSVP to Jenna@twmag.com

What's money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night and in between he does what he wants to.”
—Bob Dylan

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Geronimo!

September 17, 2019
   Gathering up quotes for the Geronimo book. Got some good ones.

"Bob Boze Bell is rightly celebrated for his historical artwork and for his narrative contributions to western American history. Geronimo is an ideal subject for this combination, and Bob does him full justice—in part, I suspect, because he probably got most of his information from my biography of Geronimo."
—Robert M. Utley, aka Old Bison

"Bell gives us a whole new and unexpected perspective on Geronimo in his trademark, inimitable style, complete with illustrations only his masterful pen and brush could create. Bravo, Bob Boze Bell."
—Juni Fisher

"Geronimo—patriot chief or natural born killer? Bob Boze Bell answers that controversial question and many others in this provocative new biography of America’s most famous Indian warrior. Fasten your seat belt for this one! Bell’s trade-mark blend of superb artwork, authoritative research, and fast-paced prose—always accompanied by a wicked sense of humor—makes this another masterful, must-have Boze western book."
—Paul Andrew Hutton

"Dig in! This is the good stuff."
—Billy F. Gibbons, ZZ-Top

"As few should recall I went twice in the '60s on extended tours as correspondent to the Vietnam War—filing hundreds of thousands of words plus acres of photography of battles, riots, coups, air strikes, profiles, nation building, ambushes, civic actions, heroes and flunkies—and of it all, my only brilliant line was, 'Is Geronimo alive and well in the Central Highlands of Vietnam?'   If so, I ventured, the world's greatest military power was about to lose a war.  Godspeed with your book."  —Don Dedera, legendary Arizona journalist and author, "A Little War of Our Own"

"It's been said that a book worth reading is worth buying.  Bob Boze Bell's book on Geronimo is worth reading, so buy Bob's book."
—Chris Enss, New York Times best-selling author

“I hope he explains the paratroopers.”
—Thom Ross, Artist

   Okay, wise guy: In 1940, on the eve of WWII, the Army was in the process of figuring out how to drop troops out of airplanes. The night before the first test jump, some of the soldiers from Fort Benning went to the movies and saw the 1939 film "Geronimo" starring Preston Foster, Andy Devine and Chief Thundercloud. 



   After the movie, one of the soldiers, Private Aubrey Eberhardt, bragged he wasn't afraid to jump and his fellow soldiers laughed and ribbed him saying he would probably forget his name at the door, which was a put down because all the soldiers were supposed to shout their names as they jumped. The next morning everyone made their jump successfully but when the smart ass Eberhardt came to the door he shouted "Geronimo!" Everyone laughed and thought that was great and this started a tradition in the squadron. The army brass didn't like this and tried to discourage it, which only made it even more popular. From there it caught on to include any dangerous jump or feat of daring.

   I'm Bob Boze Bell and this has been a True West Moment.


"When Geronimo jumps out of an airplane, does he yell, Me!"
—Old Smart Ass Saying

Monday, September 16, 2019

Bullet Proof Geronimo, Part II

September 16, 2019
   Worked on artwork for the Geronimo book all weekend. Filling in sidebar art holes like this:


Once Geronimo was at a water hole in Mexico getting a drink with several other Apache warriors when a pursuing Mexican soldier got close enough to fire off a shot, which hit Geronimo in a glancing blow to the face, toppling him forward into the mud. With the rifle report, the Apaches with him fled and the swarming Mexican troops ran by Geronimo, assuming he was deader than a doornail.

Several minutes later, Geronimo regained consciousness and ran off. Another time, once again against Mexican troops, Naiche related that Geronimo was shot in the chest and still managed to mount his horse and escape.

Daily Whip Out: "Geronimo Bulletproof"


   According to the artist E.A. Burbank, who was a guest in Geronimo's home and painted his portrait numerous times in the late 1890s. In one of these sessions, he reported that Geronimo bared himself to the waist. The artist recounted, "I was dumbfounded to see the number of bullet holes in his body. I knew he had been in many battles and had been fired on dozens of times, but I had never heard of anyone living with a least fifty bullet wounds on his body." Burbank went on to say, "some of the bullet holes were large enough to hold small pebbles that Geronimo picked up and placed in them. Putting a pebble in a bullet wound he would make a noise like a gun, then take the pebble out and throw it on the ground." 

"Bullets cannot kill me!"
 —Geronimo

Sunday, September 15, 2019

The Historic Parker Bridge Is On Fire: Connected to Wyatt Earp

September 15, 2019
   How does a railroad bridge catch on fire? Seems like a reach, but,  as reported by Parker Live, the railroad bridge that spans the Colorado River between Parker, Arizona and Earp, California is on fire. Evidently, the fire started last night.


The Parker Railroad Bridge on fire last night.

   According to an oldtimer from Parker who I interviewed, this is the bridge Wyatt Earp often walked across to get rhubarb pie at his favorite cafe in downtown Parker. This would have been in the twenties. Every time I have driven through there, I visualize that old guy traipsing across the railroad trestle to get a piece of pie.


Wyatt standing at the Colorado River
(perhaps staring right at the bridge)

   Two years ago, Ken Amorosano and I filmed a True West Moment along the riverbank and then out at Wyatt Earp's mining camp. A good photo of the railroad trestle is in this post.

"How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book?"
—Henry David Thoreau

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Geronimo The Base Runner

September 14, 2019
   According to the artist E.A. Burbank, who visited Geronimo at Fort Sill, Oklahoma in 1898, one time Geronimo wanted an Apache boy for a horse race and when the old warrior approached the boy he was at bat and hit the ball into the outfield. Geronimo tore after him and chased him all the way around the bases. 


Daily Whip Out: "The Baserunner"

   Geronimo caught up to the boy at home plate and got his jockey, who then rode the horse and won the race. Burbank said the "old Indian went home as happy as a small boy after the circus."

"Don't worry about old age; it doesn't last that long."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Geronimo From All Angles

September 12, 2019
   Going to beat the band today on the book. Making headway.

   Cleaning yesterday, look what I found:


Living Room Flashback

  A promo shot for a certain realtor. The dog's name was Dusty, the jackalope is gone (bugs got inside), I see two Ed Mells and an Edward Curtis, and those are John Weinkauf custom-made boots on the realtor and if you look close you'll see a pink bottle up on the left-hand corner of the fireplace which is from Wyatt Earp's campsite, but don't tell anyone.

   As I keep doing research on the Apaches, one guy sure stands tall and that's this individual:


Alchesay, White Mountain Apache

   He has a high school named for him and rightly so. Look for a big cover story on him by Dr. John Langellier, in an upcoming issue of True West. Alchesay has so much credibility as opposed to say, I don't know. . .this guy?


Daily Flashback Whip Out:
"Geronimo at Embudos"

   However, when it comes to popular culture, no one can top the G-Man in terms of world wide recognition.


Geronimo Italian Comic

Okay, if you think I am being too hard on the G-Man, here's a more sympathetic take on him.



Daily Whip Out: "Geronimo From The Side"


"The Apache Indian language is the hardest to learn but young Wratten exceptionally learned and understood the language in such a short time and as far as we know there isn’t another white man who can speak the Apache language as freely as George M. Wratten.”
—Jason Betzinez

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Revenge of the Herds

September 11, 2019
   Here's a sobering thought. The relatives of the 9•11 hijackers are celebrating today and toasting their loved ones as righteous heroes.


Daily Whip Out: "Out of The Blue"

   Meanwhile, it's time to thank all the re-enactors who have helped me in my quest to accurately portray Apaches in my forthcoming book on Geronimo. For starters I need to thank longtime models, DeAnne Giago (below, left) and Flint Carney.




I also need to give a shout out to Jim Hatzell of Rapid City, South Dakota, who puts on an annual Artist's Ride in August and, even though I have never attended (yet!), he has shared with me many photos of his Apache models. Another resource for me is Dale Miles, the San Carlos Apache Reservation Historian who has also provided me with excellent reference with several San Carlos Apaches who I have photographed over the past 20-some years.





Apache Re-enactors



   I'm tracking down the names even as you read this. Okay, just heard from Jim Hatzell and here are the following credits:


"That's Roland Bissonette who was Mickey Free (kneeling in bottom photos), The scout was Mark Latza, Crook was portrayed by Charlie Weber. Apaches are Moses Brings Plenty (now a regular on Costner's "Yellowstone") Joshua, David and Thomas White, & Joe Brings Plenty. The cavalry soldier on horseback is Brian Carrico and not pictured is Rob Culbertson."
—Jim Hatzell



   Got some big clouds rolling in every afternoon now. Tis the season.

Big Clouds at the corner of Cahava Ranch
and Spur Cross Ranch

"A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is braver five minutes longer."
—Ralph Waldo Emerson



Tuesday, September 10, 2019

The Best Friend Who Edited Geronimo

September 10, 2019
   He's been gone five years next month. We were two small town boys who used to get in trouble for being loud mouths. He edited the original Geronimo manuscript in 1994. We started a band in 1963. He named the band The Exits, because as he put it, "That's where everyone will go when they hear us play." We both loved Mexican food and blonds. We both hated ASU, as any U of A alum would.



Charles Richard Waters



   For many years I called him "No Way Charlie" because he, well, you don't need to know, but it involved parents being absent and a carload of beautiful teenaged girls who snuck out of their house. In his last years, I changed that moniker to "Charles Way" because he actually loosened up a bit and it was kind of funny to see him flower (Charlie acted like he was forty when he was 12, then he tried to make up for all he had missed when he was forty). He called me from the US Festival. Three days, forty bands, something like that. His little brother Johnnie was with him and told me the bands that day were The Cars, Santana, The Kinks and Tom Petty. I told him, "Charlie you don't have to catch up on the sixties in one weekend." We laughed. We both knew it was ridiculous, but there you go.

   I am dedicating the Geronimo book to Charlie for the first class editing and for being so supportive of everything I ever tried to do. A better friend I've never had.


"Funny how blessings brighten as they take their flight."

—Old Vaquero Saying

Monday, September 09, 2019

Heroes & Villains In The Geronimo Story

September 9, 2019
   This is the phase when I usually stop shaving. I've got tunnel vision, I'm grabbing all the rails now, wrapping up spread after spread and getting set for the final march on the Geronimo book. At this point it's a big jigsaw puzzle with floating pieces spilling and floating off of every page. Getting it all shoe-horned in place is not fun, but it can be exhilarating, when it all flows together at the end.


Unsung Hero     The son of a controversial Texas governor, and a graduate of West Point, Britton Davis joined the 3rd Cavalry and was sent to Arizona where he distinguished himself in all of his duties.



   So much so, that when his unit was rotated out of Arizona, General Crook personally put in a request for Davis to stay for another tour.
   The Apaches also loved and admired Davis as well, and the Chiricahuas requested him as their agent when Geronimo, Nana, Chihuahua and Ka-ya-tennae were brought back to the U.S. from Mexico and given land on the White Mountain Apache Reservation. At first everything worked well, but, unfortunately, Davis was no match for tiswin drunks, and when he tried to talk to the chiefs about beating their wives (and worse), they rebuffed him as being merely a boy, and, then Geronimo bolted the reservation on a lie (that he had ordered Davis, Mickey Free and Chatto killed) and went on another killing spree.
   Davis and Chief of Scouts Al Sieber went after them, following the renegades across the border into Mexico and up through the Sierra Madre of Sonora and on into the state of Chihuahua. They came close several times but they were unsuccessful. Fed up with the entire experience, Davis went on leave in September of 1885 and then resigned from the army, June 1, 1886. For the next 20 years Davis managed the Corralitos Mining and Cattle Co. in western Chihuahua and built up a personal fortune, but he lost it all in the Mexican Revolution. He farmed for a while in upstate New York, then sold out and retired to San Diego, California, where he died in 1930. 



  Yes, it is Matt Damon who portrays Britton Davis, in Geronimo: American Legend, the 1993 film starring Wes Studi as Geronimo.

The Translator   The son of English parents, George R. Wratten, from Somona, California moved to Florence, Arizona where young George, 16, befriended several Apaches and picked up their language. In 1881 he was named chief of scouts at San Carlos and doubled as interpreter. Wratten was the interpreter for Gatewood during the sensitive Geronimo negotiations that led to the warriors final surrender at Skeleton Canyon. After the surrender, Wratten chose to go with the Apaches to Florida and accompanied them on the train ride from Bowie Station all the way to Florida. He also went with them to Alabama and Oklahoma.     Wratten died in 1912 at Fort Sill, still supporting the people he loved, the Apaches.


Anandia (also styled as Annandhia)
and George Wratten on the way
to Florida in 1886.

"There ain't no good guy, there ain't no bad guy, there's only you and me and we just disagree."
—Dave Mason

Sunday, September 08, 2019

When Death Stalked Every Trail

September 8, 2019
   It is a well worn cliche that the Old West was a dangerous place. But, somehow in our current rush to politicize history—scrub it clean over here, dump all the evil over there—we forget just how dangerous it was for EVERY person who was out on the deserts of the Southwest, from Taos to Tucson, from Yuma to Baja. The edict, kill or be killed, loomed like a dark cloud over all the landscape.


Daily Whip Out: "Death Rolls On"

   Doing research on the Geronimo story can be so daunting because of the incessant killing, over and over, on and on. And, it comes from every race: Mexicans against the Spanish, the Spanish against the Americans, the Americans against the Apaches, often tribe against tribe, sometimes all of the above against everyone else, and it is relentless. I sometimes have to take a break and go for a walk to clear my head from all the death and brutality.


   Still, if you dig deep enough, out of that overwhelming violence comes a faint, but sweet, brotherhood that can be breathtaking. When Lt. Britton Davis of the U.S. Army said that the Apache Chatto was "one of the finest men, red or white, I have ever known," it strikes a chord of harmony sweeter than any music I have ever heard.


   In fact, it's the ones who see the humanity in all of this ugly violence who are the true heroes. Captain John G. Bourke, going to bat for the Apaches imprisoned in Florida and losing his career over it. Alchesay, who rose above the petty politics of the White Mountain Reservation wars, and who had a school named for him, these are the ones we should remember and celebrate.


    Instead, we put halos on killers and give them powers and virtues they never had. I don't think I can change that, but I can cast a light on it.



"Hundreds of dead animals  were met at every turn. . .Death reigned before our eyes."
—A. Frank Randall, a photographer and correspondent for the New York Herald with Gen. Crook on the trail of Geronimo in Mexico

"Music is healing."

—Prince


Saturday, September 07, 2019

Chatto Story Arc

September 7, 2019
   Went out for a walk this morning and saw these sky hearts up on Morningstar:



   Back to the book. In terms of being an angel, Chatto was, well, no angel. In fact, he could be as badass as his mentor, Geronimo:


Chatto and Geronimo posing with the same weapon at San Carlos, 1884

   In the spring of 1883 Chatto and Bonito led a raiding party of 26 warriors into Arizona. They killed a dozen cowboys and prospectors near Tombstone and then turned northeast, moving up the San Simon Valley with a stolen herd of horses and mules. From there, Chatto's raiding party turned east and crossed into New Mexico and as they passed the Burro Mountains, on March 28, they came upon a family having a picnic in Thompson Canyon. Judge McComas and his wife Juniata were brutally murdered and their six-year-old son Charlie McComas captured and taken.

Charles McComas

   With the McComas killing and kidnapping as a pretense, General Crook with a large force went into Mexico on May 1, 1883 and through the inside information of Tsoe, known by the Americans as "Peaches," they made a beeline for Juh's stronghold. From there the advance scouts, led by Al Sieber and Mickey Free discovered a large Chiricahua village in a valley near the headwaters of the Bavispe River. The village belonged to Chatto, Bonito and Chihuahua. Geronimo eventually came in and he and Crook parlayed for several days. Many returned to San Carlos with Crook more than a few chiefs stayed out including Geronimo and Chatto. 

   Finally, on February 7, 1884, Chatto rode into San Bernardino (Slaughter's Ranch) with fifteen warriors and a fine herd of Mexican horses. After a feast of a captured pony, Chatto moved in with Mickey Free and joined him as a scout for the U.S. Army.

   After Geronimo and Chatto settled on the new reservation they took up farming and General Crook bragged to his superiors in Washington that the best tilled farms on Turkey Creek were those of Chatto and Geronimo, "who last year were our worst enemies."

   The peace didn't last, however. The peace at Fort Apache was wrecked by tiswin parties and drunken beatings of the Apache wives. When Lt. Davis tried to tell them the evils of alcohol and wife beating, the hungover chiefs became angry and said the treatment of their wives was their own business and old Nana, left, disgusted and said, "Tell the Nantan Enchan that he can't advise me how to treat my women. He is only a boy. I killed men before he was born."

   Fueled by false rumors and tiswin, Geronimo lied and told Naiche, Chihuahua, Nana and Mangas that he, Goyathlay had ordered the deaths of Lt. Davis, Mickey Free and Chatto and that they all must flee before the soldiers retaliated, and so, 42 of the 118 Chiricahua men and teenage boys fled, along with 92 women and children. Loco and Bonito defied Geronimo's threats and more than 400 Chiricahuas remained on the reservation.

   To the majority of Chiricahuas at Fort Apache, Geronimo was a lying sack of, well, sugar.

   Geronimo and his res jumpers moved quickly and killed everyone they met on the way to the border. In New Mexico, the group split in two with Chihuahua going in one direction and Geronimo's group in another.

Now a scout, Chatto told Mickey Free he knew exactly where Geronimo would rendezvous with Chihuahua in Mexico. Heading for Mexico, Captain Crawford decided to unleash Chatto and send him into the the Sierra Madre with thirty scouts. Under the cover of darkness, on June 22, 1885, Chatto and his crew picked up the trail of a dozen Chiricahua raiders and followed them into the mountains. Even though a heavy rain wiped out all tracks, Chatto knew where they would camp and went directly there, reaching the camp the next day (June 23rd).

In late October of 1885, Chihuahua and his brother Ulzanna slipped back into the U.S. and as Chihuahua raided in New Mexico, Ulzanna and a dozen warriors headed for Fort Apache to liberate relatives and kill Mickey Free and Chatto. Sweeping across the White Mountains, Ulzanna's men left 38 dead in their wake, with the loss of only one warrior. They didn't, however, manage to kill Mickey Free nor Chatto.

The Army had a cozy relationship with every Republican administration since Lincoln. But now that was about to change. With the election of Grover Cleveland, a Democrat, political pressure on Sheridan began to increase for a solution to the Apache problem. It was the new Secretary of War, William Endicott, who began to discuss with Sheridan, the removal of all the Chiricahuas from Arizona to either Florida or Oklahoma. 

   By the time of the killing of Captain Crawford and the fight on the Devil's Backbone, Crook's defense of the Apaches had worn pretty thin. Everyone, from the president on down now demanded Geronimo in chains, or dead.

   On Saturday, July 17, after an eight-day train trip, Chatto and Noche represented the Chiricahuas in Washington DC. They met with the Secretary of the Interior, L.Q. C. Lamar. After a week in the capital, then the next day, the entire delegation met with Secretary of War Endicott. Chatto told the secretary they were happy at Fort Apache. At noon on July 27, they went to the White House. President Cleveland presented Chatto with a silver peace medal. Three days later Bourke was summoned to the White House. There, Bourke learned, the president was anxious to send all the Chiricahuas to Florida. Bourke was horrified. But even as he tried to defend his friends, he knew the fix was in.

Captain John
Gregory Bourke


At Fort Marion, in Florida, John Bourke came to the rescue. In March of 1887, Bourke met with Chatto, Kaytennae, Chihuahua, Dutchy, Martine, Kayitah and Old Nana. He gave information to the press about the mistreatment of the Apaches and this infuriated General Miles and others. Bourke's career was ruined by this mission of mercy and he was shipped off to a lonely post on the Mexican border, and died there on June 8, 1896, at age 49.

Sheridan suffered a fatal heart attack on August 5, 1888. After lobbying mightily for the Apaches to be moved to Fort Sill, Crook himself had a fatal heart attack on march 21, 1890. The stress of their thankless jobs caught up with both of them.

   His name meant "flat nose," the result of a mule kick to the face when he was a youth. He was a Bedonkohe like Geronimo, but as a nephew of Mangas Coloradas, he had a more impressive bloodline among the Chiricahuas.
—direct quote from Paul Andrew Hutton, in "The Apache Wars"

   As time went on, more and more resentment was heaped upon Mickey Free and Chatto.

"Mickey Free! That miserable little coyote was trusted, and old and honest scouts disregarded. Chatto! Turncoat and traitor!"
—Kaywaykla

Asa (Ace) Daklugie labeled Chatto as "the arch traitor—a sort of Benedict Arnold to us."

   Perhaps the saddest aspect of all these tragedies, is that through Crook's efforts the wife of Chatto was located in Chihuahua City. She had been imprisoned there after her capture by Taharamara Indians in the raid on Juh's camp and now she had been adopted into a doctor's family there and she didn't want to return to the Apache way of life.

   Just when you think life can't get any sadder, it does.

"Hundreds of dead animals  were met at every turn. . .Death reigned before our eyes."
—A. Frank Randall, a photographer and correspondent for the New York Herald

Friday, September 06, 2019

Chatto Deserves Better

September 6, 2019
   In the mind of the public, Geronimo has been forgiven, Chatto has not. In the legend, one has become a towering symbol of Native American defiance and worthiness, and the other is branded a traitor, and worse.

   The historical facts do not align with public perception, nor the legend.

Chatto With Bow & Arrows
Lt. Britton Davis described him as
"one of the finest men, red or white,
 I have ever known."


   His real name was Pedes-klinje, but his Spanish nickname was Chato (Flat Nose). The extra "t" was added when he was given a silver medal in Washington and the engraver added the extra "t" for no apparent reason. 

Still wearing his medal, Chatto lived to be 93.

   We will go with Chatto. He was a sub chief.

   After Geronimo was successfully rounded up in Mexico (thanks mainly to Chatto) and brought back to the U.S., Chatto arrived at Fort Apache with nine warriors and nine women and children in early February 1884, and became first sergeant for Lieutenant Britton Davis’s tribal police at Turkey Creek on the Fort Apache Reservation. 

   Other scouts often broke the rules of the reservation and gave ammunition to the Chiricahuas (for "hunting") and if they came across a cache of illegal tiswin (Apache alcohol) they turned a blind eye. Chatto did what he said he would do. He had integrity. Unfortunately, to small-minded people this can sometimes be construed as being a do-gooder, or a hardass, or even, a traitor.

   Nearly seventy percent of the Chiricahua and Chihenne men were at one time on the army payroll as a scout but very few of them were held in contempt by others in the bands. Why does Chatto get this special scorn?

   This is a question I will answer in the book. Thanks to author and researcher Michael Farmer for much of the above information.

   Bottom line, Chatto deserves better.

"Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many."
—Old Apache Saying




The Wonderful World of Failure

September 6, 2019
   Here's a sobering thought: many of the good things in my life, came from failure. I failed at being a rock star so I became an artist. I failed at business so I bought a magazine. You get the picture. 

   This morning I decided to take stock of my failures and here is what I came up with.


In-din Nails Kingman Boy:
"Little White Boy Good at Failure"


The Wonderful World of Failure
   I've failed exams, I've failed auditions, I've failed expectations and I've even failed to show up. I've failed to get it up and I've failed to keep it down. I've also failed to make payments and I've failed to yield.

  One thing I have never failed is a sobriety test. Perhaps today?

   One of these days I will fail to wake up.

   If I'm lucky.

"Success is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm."
—Winston Churchill

Thursday, September 05, 2019

More Crazy Duncan Connections

September 5, 2019
   Last month I told the story of my crazy Duncan, Arizona connections to The Seventh Cavalry, Tarzan and my mother's babysitter. As if that ridiculous story couldn't be topped, or, get any weirder, well, try this one on for size:

   As some of you may know, the first female justice of the Supreme Court, Sandra Day O'Connor, grew up on a ranch near Duncan, Arizona. And, she co-wrote a book about growing up on The Lazy B with her brother Alan Day. Her son Scott and I have talked many times about whether his mother knew my mother and we never could quite get a solid connection, even though that area is quite rural and isolated, and both our mothers grew up and were in the ranching community at about the same time.


   Scott recently wrote up a piece about his mother and his family and our connection and in it he said my grandmother was born in the Duncan area. I knew that wasn't quite right. Unfortunately, our family historian, Tap Lou Duncan Weir passed recently and, so, on a hail Mary pass, I called my Kingman cowboy cousin, Billy Hamilton to ask if he knew where our grandmother was born. Long story short, he didn't remember, but he told me a funny story: he related that he and his dad, Choc Hamilton, used to attend roping events all over the Duncan area and, one time, Billy asked world champion cowboy Jim Wister if he ever knew our grandfather, Bob Guess. Wister laughed and said, "Knew him? He and his wife Lou were married in my living room."

   Turns out Wister was a cowhand on the Day ranch. So when I told Scott this he laughed and knew right where the ranch house is on the Lazy B. Scott rewrote his ending like this:

   "Louise Guess, one year older than Harry Day, lived in York, Arizona, 15 miles down the Gila
from the Lazy B Ranch. Her grandson, Bob Boze Bell and the O’Connor boys aren’t sure if
Harry ever met Louise, but we suspect they did, because Louise and Bob Guess were married at
the Willow Springs Canyon abode of World Champion Cowboy Jim Brister, on the Lazy B,
about 7 miles from the ranch headquarters. Like Sandra Day’s towering bronze statue in the
Sandra Day O’Connor Federal Courthouse in Phoenix, the 10 foot “Not So Gentle Tamer”
bronze of Louise Guess stands at the civic center of Prescott Valley, representing Arizona
pioneer women. Sandra O’Connor is sculpted with a law book under one arm. Louise Guess,
stands with a shovel in her left hand, used both for gardening and killing rattlesnakes, one of
which dangles helplessly from her other hand. Sandra’s law books killed veritable snakes in the
legislative and litigation arenas, while Louise’s hoe was used more prosaically. Both knew when
and how to use their tools to best effect.
Scott, Brian and Jay O’Connor are the sons of Sandra Day O’Connor, all proud of their family
heritage."

"These kids today know nothing!"

  And, now, thanks to Jean Acosta, Tap Lou's daughter, who went thru her mother's two-rooms of research, we now know my grandmother's given name and where she was born:

Lue Vennie Robinson, August 18, 1896, born in Mineral Wells, Texas.

"Tell me where you were born and I will astonish you with who you are related to."
—Old Women Everywhere