In 1885, when the big cattle drives had played out, a wrangler simply known as "Cowboy" started an odyssey to find Ray, the one man who could remedy that burning deep down in his soul. But Ray was dead. So, Cowboy went in search of the man who had taught his friend the answers that he now needed. It was a long jouney.
To tell you the whole truth, my writing all started with a big lie.
It was 1959, fifth grade back on the outskirts of San Antonio, and I had this major crush on a girl in my class named Sandy. One day I decided to impress her. So using the technology available at the time — which was one of those old fashioned rotary phones (check Wikipedia if you’ve never seen one) — and I dialed the operator. I asked for the Western Union office so I could send Sandy a telegram.
I had to make it a collect telegram, because my Dad was such a major cheapskate that he wouldn’t spend the extra fifty cents, on something he thought was so extravagant.
Well the next day there was this big uproar at school because Sandy’s mother had phoned the principal's office in a real huff because SOMEONE had needlessly charged that fifty cents to her phone bill to send a really stupid telegram to her daughter. Hell could freeze over first, because there was no way she was going to pay it!
The mysterious sender had just signed just his name “Andrew”.
I was smart enough even back then not to use my real name. Ah, but I WAS dumb enough to use my real middle name.
The principal herded all the boys called Andrew and Andy into the lunchroom. I was home free, until my classroom teacher, Miss Becker, went through the entire fifth grade class list and found out my middle initial "A" was for the name of Andrew.
So, in I went.
In that lunchroom, I folded like a cheap suit under questioning by the dour-faced Mr. Muir, a World War II Army veteran who fancied himself as a hard-ass. My attempt at evasion with him was lame.
“It wasn’t me. I have this friend named, ah, Andrew. And he’s my age. He lives in this tiny shack by himself. He has a telephone. He heard me talk about Sandy. He musta sent it!”
“Really, so what’s this friend of yours last name?”
All I could think of.
So, your friend, Andrew Carnegie, who lives by himself and never met Sandy, took it upon himself to express his sudden and undying affection to her in a lengthy telegram?”
“Yes, that was it!”
So, they called my parents to come get me — and pay for the telegram. Needless to say, I got a whipping when I got home. But more hurtful was when my Dad said to me, “You need to stick to the truth from now on, you’re such a BAD liar.”
I felt so guilty about letting him down like that — not so much about the lying, but being BAD at it. And getting him dragged into my shortcomings.
So I practiced that back and forth with Mr. Muir, the interrogator-teacher, until I got the story better.
Today, I could sell my version of events about the telegram. I made it plausible and believable.
I even sound the innocent.
A good tale.
Just like stories I write now. Let's see if you don’t agree.
Folks often ask me where the story of Dusty and the Cowboy comes from. That's a question I ask myself every day.
When I think about it, the best answer is that I've been lost in this life. Too many times I've ridden down the wrong trail. Sometimes when I didn't know better -- occasionally even when I did.
Then one day a surprising thing happened. Without knowing why, I sat down and wrote the first chapter, called Dusty.
It wasn't until this story of the cowboy and his horse was recorded as an audio track that I figured it out.
Dusty and the Cowboy launched me on my Christian walk, and this book is just a small milestone on that journey.
The Good Lord gave me the talent and wanting to write. My desire is to have these stories spread God's Word.
If nothing else, I want to share a story told well to those who will enjoy it.
As always , "Via con Dios, mis amigos."
Author and Screenwriter
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