October 10, 2023
Several years ago, someone told me that my son had some big boots to fill. I know it was meant as a complement but I knew even then the boy was fearless and stubborn and he would grow up to fill those big boots perfectly fine.
T. Charles Fills Boots
(on the road to Iowa, 1984)
On The Road With Tom Nix?
"My Dad was a huge Tom Mix fan. One summer we traveled from Minnesota to Dewey, Oklahoma to visit the Tom Mix Museum. As we got close we decided to stop late at night at the Tom Mix Motel-it was dark and we were all tired and my Dad couldn't resist staying at the Tom Mix motel, even for a guy who liked to drive straight through. We were disappointed in the rooms as they were just regular rooms, not even a whisper of Tom Mix or cowboys. In the morning when we packed up to leave I pointed at the motel sign that read Tom NIX Motel."
My crib notes for an upcoming editorial:
Finding Truth In All The Noise
For the past seven decades we have been having a very lively conversation with our readers about the American frontier. Most of that conversation comes down to this: what really happened and what does it mean? This is often diametrically opposed to what the storytellers tell us happened. And that includes all the books, all the movies and all the TV shows. What and where is the truth in all that noise? That is our mission and here is what I believe is our Voice.
We do our best to come to the debate armed with three things:
Our writers and contributors are passionate about our history and they have the scholarship and authenticity to back it up. We are honest when we get it wrong (see Jana Bommersbach's mea culpa for our association with Glenn Boyer in the early 1990s). And, beyond that, the only thing we take seriously, is to not take ourselves too seriously. We believe if we're not laughing at ourselves a little bit, we are not being authentic—or honest.
In our articles we strive for the three Cs: clarity, context and compassion. With all the blame games going on today it's sometimes hard to put things in context, much less find compassion for the people involved, not to mention all the people who hate our history.
But we think it's important.
And, as we contemplate our 71st year of publishing the true stories of the American Frontier, we hope you all will be along for the ride.
"Study the past if you want to know what the idiots are going to do next."
—Old Vaquero Saying