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Done a lot of cool things in my time... Was a disc jockey back when radio stations played 45 rpm records, did a stint as the news director of a state-wide radio network in Alaska, and logged more than a few years as a talk show host... Been both a deputy sheriff and a city cop... Seen murders and suicides, known good guys and bad guys, saints and sinners and stone cold killers... and been loved by some wonderful women.
Back in my really younger days, too full of Kerouac and Hemingway, (I think of it as my Nick Adams period now, after, you know, Papa’s Adventures of a Young Man) I was On the Road for a few years, a guitar on my shoulder, sleeping under bridges and in parks and on the subway, thumbing rides, and hopping a freight train or two along the way just to say I had. Never could play the guitar worth a damn, but carrying the thing around got me rides, and into beach parties, and laid more than once.
I don’t really know where I’m from. Grew up in Montana and Wyoming, but spent a lot of time in LA back when LA was cool, and the funny thing is, when I was in Wyoming I always felt like I was from LA, and when I was in LA, I felt like I was from Wyoming... I’ve always been real into western history, though, (livin’ in Tombstone, Arizona now, go figure) and through some combination of direction and DNA, it was no doubt my grandmother who gave me that.
My grandmother the ranch cook. I was a Casper boy who spent my summers on whatever ranch she happened to be working -- the ZN, the Big Creek, the A Bar A -- and man, it's vivid like yesterday... (My little feet sticking straight out on the front seat of a battered old pickup, and she’s saying, “Over there, just over those hills. Hole-in-the-Wall. Remember me tellin’ you about Butch Cassidy?...” Or, another time, another place: “Bosler... It was right around here where Tom Horn was pickin’ off rustlers for the Swan Land and Cattle Company...”) For better or worse, those are character building moments, and memories like that don’t fade much. Not ever.
Maybe, as Toby Keith once said, I Should've Been a Cowboy... Well, who ever knows? I guess that's just one of the roads untraveled for me. But you know, thinking about it, I do know where I’m from... I’m from Wyoming.
So I’m in Tombstone now with Sam the cat. We walk the haunted streets together, and I try to keep him safe from the coyotes and the javelinas that come prowling at night. I write, and I’m with the Tombstone Marshal’s Office, and there’s a lot of weird but cool synchronicity in that, don’t you think?