By Stephen Bly
A 10-year-old boy. Six old cowboys. A '49 Plymouth with open trunk. A lady in distress. Adventure happens on a rainy afternoon in 1954 Albuquerque.
Cowboy For A Rainy Afternoon will be released June 2010 and it proved to be one of my most fun projects. The story originates straight out of my heart. Sometimes readers think the Old West reigns as ancient history. . .the 1800s seem a long way back from 2010. This novel helped me see that I may not have been born 100 years too late.
Here’s the scenario. A 10-year-old boy visits with his grandfather and his retired pals in 1954 at The Matador Hotel in Albuquerque. Every week these five senior cowboys play cribbage. They’re delighted with the added audience of “Little Brother,” so they spout tales of the old days. In their 70s to 90s, one of them was born during the Civil War. All of them cowboyed from the late 1880s to 1940s. They own first-hand stories of the Old West.
On this rainy afternoon, the lad's spellbound with the adventures. Meanwhile, a drama unfolds in the lobby that propels the men and lad into their last cowboy stand. A lady’s in distress. They pile into a ’49 Plymouth with open trunk to see what they can do. Told from the boy’s point of view, years later as an adult, he admits that he falls in love for the first time that day with Miss Diane Anderson.
I think of it as a reminiscent account of real cowboy life, much the same as Andy Adams’ book, The Log of a Cowboy, written in the early 1900s. What makes it personal: I was 10-years-old in 1954. Though this is not my story, I grew up on ranch in California where I heard many accounts of the old days, sometimes from my dad, often from my grandfather. It’s like I’m right there in the room with those old-timers. Maybe I am.
The Old West wasn't that long ago. For many, it's just one generation away.