Friday, November 11, 2011

My Career as a Gunslinger!

Let me tell you about the last gunfight I had. This was back in the summer of '06 or so. Word came from the town of Round Rock, Texas that the outlaw Sam Bass was coming to rob the bank. 

They said they needed a bunch of Texas Rangers. What they got was us.
You see, this sort of thing happens when you're a gunslinger. Several times a year somebody gets a notion to bust loose and shoot it out. So, we get called, me and my pals.

The first time was back about '81. We were most of us new back then, untried and nervous. We actually had to try out for the job. It didn't pay much, practically nothing, in fact. The deal was, we ride into town, get there before the outlaws, stop their plans, protect the citizens, ride out again. Nobody wanted the gunslingers around after.
Can't blame them much. Sometimes it was hard to tell who was who. The man you rode with last year might be on the other end of the gun this time. A mite confusin' it was, too! Me, I always rode true. Always took the side of the law, never went down. Heck, it's in my blood, I reckon. Lawmen on both sides of my family.
Anyway, back to Sam Bass. Funny thing, he's been doing this about a hundred fifteen years and then some. The gang is out gunned. 


Sam gets it in the back, code of the west, I guess, barely makes it out of town. The gang's shot up real bad, blood everywhere.
In the pic on the left, I'm about middle in the background, doing my two-gun thing.
I've got shaving cream on my face. You see, I was Ranger Dick Ware, running out in the middle of a shave.

Surprisingly, Bass comes back for more, sometimes two, three times a day.

Of course the townfolks whoop it up considerable between the violence. Drinking, playing, dancing, buying and selling goods. If old Sam had opened up a booth selling confetti eggs he'd a made a sight more money, and lived, instead of inheriting a hole in the ground.

That's me on the right! Sam's on the run and I'm a'chasing!

Too bad Sam didn't stick around for the dancing girls at least!
Yeah, sometimes a gunslinger's lot is a hard one!

Frontier Days, Round Rock, Tx is still going on, but I moved on after more than 20 years shooting it up. I bet I drew my gun and fired on the desperados more than most peace officers ever get to. 

I did a few other shooting gigs as well. For almost 20 years I was the official starting gun of the Outlaw Trail 100 bike rally in Round Rock.

There I am, my trusty .44 at the ready, and a 10-speed. I tell you, the bike was a challenge with spurs on!

I've still got my guns, but I've hung them up for now. I clean them up occasionally and practice a draw now and then.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Blue Bottle Tree

It's a "blue bottle tree". It's my blue bottle tree. I've been seeking images of bona fide blue bottle trees to go with a mystery story I've been working on. It has been so far impossible to find the "right" tree image. I may have to resort to having someone paint one from my memory.

You say, "what's wrong with your own blue bottle tree?" "What makes a 'bona fide' blue bottle tree?"

Good questions, those, and the same ones I've been trying to explain to my partner, Cat Dancing.
It's all a matter of attitude, and of course, my memory. The trees I remember from my youth are fairly different. And, since my story is set pretty much in that background, then it becomes important.

What are the elements of a "true" blue bottle tree? 
Bare soil, a bushy but dead fig tree, and lots of Milk of Magnesia bottles. Actually any blue bottles that were available. 
No, I said no, wine bottles. 
See the above picture. Almost all wine and mead bottles. 

I did risk three of my precious antique Milk of Magnesia bottles for the picture. 

At the time and place of my youth, most of the old timers took Milk of Magnesia and other OTC preparations. Cat says it's a statement of bad diet, and I suppose it is. That's a whole other subject. 
Hardly anyone would display a wine bottle in the yard. It just wasn't done.
We were in a dry county, to start with, and deeeeeeeeeep in the bible belt.

Few of the average people had grass in the yard, other than scraggly patches of bermuda grass or johnson grass. Enough people were worried about snakes, anyway, that they preferred bare dirt.

And, dead fig trees were common.

I was able to find one picture online of a Milk of Magnesia blue bottle tree. Getting closer!

True, a blue bottle tree is a blue bottle tree. But for the scene I'm setting, and the space I'm invoking, it needs to be right.

I suspect that all the original M.O.M. bottles were scavenged from the existing trees back in the '80's and sold to antique shops. That's why they are so rare today. 

One way or another I'll get that picture!

Hello Again!

I see it's been over a month since I posted here. The thing is, I focus this blog on my writing process, and there hasn't really been any in awhile. 
As I posted before, we moved. It's taken awhile to get settled. That included getting our studio moved and set up, as well as moving my office trailer. (Remember the office trailer?)
We had so many things destined for my office that they were in the way, so I applied myself to finishing the trailer and moving my stuff into it. That is mostly done now. 
Oh, it's pretty messy still. The wall panels are a patchwork of different types and finishes. Not that it matters, for the most part they are covered by bookshelves and pictures. I finally retrieved all of my boxes of books from storage and put them on those shelves. It involved some weeding. 
I have six bookshelves in my office. Two tall library type metal units, and four smaller units. I made this my limit. If my books don't fit on those shelves, then I weed them until they do. I pretty much did it. 
It may change, since we have books in the house as well, and that layout is in process, so I may weed further. 
Did I mention I love books?
I got the books up on shelves, and I'm still unpacking other related office stuff. I'll post finished pix when I get it done. That will also include painting the exterior. 
Working space, man cave, whatever you want to call it. It's here!

Friday, September 16, 2011

To The Far Blue Mountains!

I don't repost others' blogs often, but Bish really nailed it in this one. I've been a long time fan of Louis L'Amour and I adore the Sackett series. I've read most of them multiple times. If I can ever tell a story as well as L'Amour, I'll have certainly arrived!


  BISH'S BEAT: FORGOTTEN BOOKS: TO THE FAR BLUE MOUNTAINS!: FORGOTTEN BOOKS: TO THE FAR BLUE MOUNTAINS! LOUIS L’AMOUR About twenty years ago, I read my way through two dozen or more Louis L’Amour ...