Growing up, I have always been enthralled by Zane Grey and Louis L’Amour’s novels. While most kids my age spent their spare time watching TV, playing video games, sweltering on a ball field for sports or who knows what else, I curled up on our living room sofa with a hard-bound treasure cradled in my hands and, by the occasional flicker of our wood burning stove, and with a sip of hot chocolate, I delved into the world I knew I always belonged in.
No matter what shape the book was in, it was always a gift, an escape. It was a porthole into another, older, much more exciting world. One filled with outlaws and marshals, bank robberies, cattle thieves, gold panning and the everlasting, glorious realm of the king of them all, the Cowboy.
Sifting through the leaves of the book, I could smell the musky odor of a bookstore, but in my head I could see the sage ruffled by the breeze. The radio in the kitchen would be playing, but all I could hear were the wild horses trampling across a sea of blowing sand and the long-eared jack rabbit that sat on his haunches, turned his whiskered gaze toward me and gave me a subdued look whilst he sneezed.
“You become what you think about”, said Earl Nightingale. Maybe this is true. Until I know for sure, I can only hope that I don’t sprout whiskers overnight and appear in full cowboy regalia with a pinto pony, because throughout the day and night alike I dreamed of them–the cowboys and their favorite mounts, that is. With my heroes, I rode in the dead of night to capture cattle thieves red handed. I dipped the tin pan into a shallow crib of trickling water to capture a tiny glistening flake of gold. I sank my high-heeled cowboy boots deep into the leather tapaderos of my favorite Mexican saddle as the devil fanned the spark raging inside of the tiny, wickedly bucking bronco I sat a-top of.
There were many other authors who have inspired my writing as well, but the one thing they all had in common was their talent for weaving a tale with such ardor, such creative beauty, that at the tender young age of ten I was completely and utterly enthralled by the swirling characters. Although, in all honesty, I must also admit that my mother played as much of an inspirational role as anybody else, for it was she who taught me to love the history. To love the west. To respect the past and the legends, and most importantly, to thrive with the colorful people who founded the great nation we now call the United States.
“With?” You might ask. Yes, with. We must thrive with them, not for or upon them. For legends never die and the memories of the legacies amongst us stay fresh and real in our hearts, minds and souls and we will do well to never forget them. With that thought in mind, I will leave you to your browsing.
Thanks so much for stopping by! Hope to hear from you soon, my friend.