I’m partially back from Texas--I got back late Sunday--but most of my mind has not caught up yet and I’m walking around in a fog. Most of that has to do with the 11 and ½ hour drive each way, and the fact that from Thursday through Sunday morning I averaged only 3-4 hours of sleep a night. Surely the rather large daily consumption of beer products over those days has nothing to do with it.
I had a great time, as I always do at Robert E. Howard days. Cross Plains is a very small town, around 1,000 people and Howard Days is one of their bigger tourist attractions. Most of the people are very friendly and welcoming, and appreciative of the money we spend, but there are some folks who would rather not have us there and are occasionally vocal about it. There was an article in the paper the day we arrived that was very critical of the “outsiders” coming in. From their perspective, though, imagine from 100 to 300 Howard fans deluging your city for three days. Some have traveled long, long distances--we had one guy from Australia--and many of them have long hair and perhaps don’t dress quite as conservatively as the average denizen of Cross Plains. They are boisterous, and they drink! Cross Plains is in a dry county but the town basically looks the other way if we drink just at the Howard House pavilion or at the hotel there. We don’t drink elsewhere in town out of respect for the wishes of the locals.
I can understand why some of the locals don’t care for us coming in, although it seems a bit irrational considering the amount of money we spend there and the fact that it’s basically one weekend. I understand less that, in at least some of the locals, the animosity is directed toward Howard himself rather than the fans. Some people in the town seem to have no interest or appreciation for fantastic literature and, in some strange way, actually seem to find it threatening. I’ve been told many times by locals, “I don’t get it,” meaning they don’t understand why people like Howard and why they’d come such long distances to see where he lived and worked. I guess I don’t get what there’s not to get.
I’ll probably have a bit more stuff about the trip over the next couple of days here, and try to get it back to the writing angle. But for now I’m going to go look and see if maybe I left my mind in the car. I hope I didn’t forget it completely in Cross Plains because I’m not making “that” drive again anytime soon.