Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Cross Plains Return: Part 3
Day 3 of Howard Days began around 9:00 as I made my way to the Howard House and started buying various books, magazines, and T-shirts I’d been eyeing. Since I was flying and traveling light I didn’t pick up as much as I have in the past, but I still got some very nice stuff, including a bunch of Howard specialty items and some books from Angeline Hawkes and Christopher Fulbright. I’ll be posting about some of this material as I read it. I was also briefly interviewed by a group of young filmmakers for a documentary they were producing. In fact, there seemed to be two documentaries being filmed, and both groups were very polite and unobtrusive.
I had lunch with James Reasoner, an ex-REHupan and a fine writer with far too many books to his name to even imagine listing. He and I talked writing for a while and I apologized at one point since I know he is a full-time writer who works for hours ever day at his craft. He just laughed and said he was always happy to talk writing. Me too.
I also chatted at several points with Michael Scott Myers, a Louisiana boy who went out to Hollywood and done good. Michael wrote the critically acclaimed screenplay for The Whole Wide World, which brought Howard to life. The movie is based on a book by Novalyne Price Ellis called One Who Walked Alone. The book is mainly Novalyne’s story of her long-term relationship with Howard. She was the woman who he came closest to marrying, and their breakup, which occurred not long before Howard’s mom entered her final days of illness, certainly helped contribute to the stress Howard was under when he shot himself. Novalyne was one of Michael Scott Myers’ teachers in high school, and if you’ve never seen The Whole Wide World, which stars Vincent D’onofrio as Howard and Renee Zellweger as Novalyne, then treat yourself. It’s truly a fine piece of cinema.
On Saturday for Howard Days, the REHupans and other Howard fans, as well as many locals, are invited out to Caddo Peak Ranch for a barbecue. The owners of the ranch are wonderful hosts and always take a crew of hikers up the Peak, which is named for the Caddo Indians who used to live locally. Howard actually set a story on one of the two Caddo Peaks and spent quite a bit of time on the peaks himself, surveying the land. It was such views that probably gave rise to his creation of the landscapes that filled his tales.
Although I have climbed the peak every year for the past dozen or so, I decided to sit this one out. I had broken one of my ironclad drinking laws the night before and mixed whiskey with my beer. In fact, I had taken to pouring a capful of whiskey “into” my beers. This was a mistake, although one that I did not discover until the next morning.
Saturday turned out to be our earliest night yet. I hit the sack around 2:00 because Chris and I had to get up early the next morning to get back to Dallas and catch our planes. Lana met me at the New Orleans airport late that afternoon. I had a great time, although I surely was tired by the time I made it home. We had some fried chicken that we picked up on the way and I fell quickly after that into bed. It was a sleep without dreams that night. I’d earned it.
I’m sorry for the length of this series. I hope it wasn’t too boring, but I found I had quite a bit of information to impart. My next post will return us to our regularly scheduled blog material, although at Greg’s request, and because others found them interesting, I may post some more of my found poems from Robert E. Howard’s work.
Thanks as always for listening.