I tell stories.
I tell sad stories, glad stories, best-you-ever-had stories; stories of then and stories of now, stories of when and stories of how. But mostly I tell stories of the American West and of the people who lived out their lives in that great and spacious region during the last half of the Nineteenth Century.
I grew up on such stories. My grandfather was a horse trader and owner of the first livery stable in our town. He told me of hauling freight by wagon to far-flung towns in Wyoming and of gun battles he saw and heard about from men who took part in the Johnson County War.
My dad ran sheep in the tens of thousands on the grazing lands of the Crow Reservation in southeastern Montana, and I spent my early years in the company of ranch hands, sheepherders, and cowboys who of course had stories of their own.
To the boy I was their stories seemed exciting, adventurous, and grand as all outdoors. I heard tales of mountain men, of gold seekers and vigilantes. I lived scant miles from the windswept hill where Custer fell, and I have walked among the ghosts. Cowboys told me of freeze-out winters and cattle drives up the trail from Texas, and spoke of other things I was probably too young to hear. I learned the names of the legends–Jim Bridger and Jedediah Smith, Wild Bill and Calamity Jane, Jesse and Frank, Wyatt and Doc.
I was hooked, and I still am. Even learning as I grew older that heroes have feet of clay and that glory has its dark side have failed to cure me.
I’ve told my stories in two nationally syndicated cartoon strips, RickO’Shay and Latigo, and since 1995 in seven western novels featuring the adventures of U.S. Deputy Marshal Merlin Fanshaw. Novel number eight is in the works, even as we speak.
At this late date I’ve abandoned all hope of recovery from my addiction to the history, lore and legend of the Old West, but I take comfort in the company and friendship of my many fellow sufferers, who love it as much as I do.
I tell stories.
For more stories, check my web site www.StanLynde.net.