Long, long ago–sixty years ago, to be precise–on a Pacific Island far, far away, a friend and shipmate offered an observation and a prediction. He said I had “the look of the eternal transient” about me, and that during my lifetime I was destined to live “in many different places.”
I laughed and said “No Way.”
After my hitch in Uncle Sam’s Navy, I planned to return to Montana and stay put–except for maybe a visit to New York so I could become a famous and beloved cartoonist, or an occasional pleasure trip out to Hollywood (California) or over to Paris (France).
I had spent most of my childhood on the high plains and mountains of Montana, living with my folks in a variety of sheep and cow camps, and in a succession of ranch houses, cabins, shacks, tents, sheepwagons, and dugouts. I never minded the somewhat nomadic life we led, but somehow I thought that when I grew up I’d settle down in one place and live happily ever after, more or less.
In April of 1997 The Lady Publisher and I moved our home and business for the fourth time since our marriage, this time from Kalispell to Helena, Montana, and I moved into my thirtieth home since leaving the Navy in 1955.
So, if you read this, shipmate, let the record show you were right, and I was wrong.
You were a helluva prophet, my friend.
As of this writing, the Lady Publisher and I are thinking about the possibility of another, part-time move–to a place where snow either (a) does not fall, or (b) quickly melts when it does. Here in Montana, snow tends to be of the “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” type. It falls, can’t get up without help, and I wind up helping it up and off my driveway with a snow shovel. Spending a few winter months somewhere down south before returning north for a Montana summer has a definite appeal.
Lynda is considering retirement from her career as Real Estate broker, and would return full time to promoting and marketing both my Merlin Fanshaw westerns and my other books as well. We’ll let you know more as our plans develop.
Meanwhile, the latest novel in the Fanshaw series, The Big Open, will be out in paperback early in August and can be ordered through Amazon and createspace.
Set in the big, open country of eastern Montana in 1889, the book finds Merlin taking off his badge after a tragic accident and turning his back on his law enforcement career. Hired as a cowhand by ranch woman Billie Hart, Merlin is soon drawn into a deepening conflict between Billie and a ruthless cattleman who will stop at nothing to possess her ranch. When violence threatens, Merlin takes a stand, and exorcises the ghosts of his past.
Meanwhile, I just caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. By golly, I do have a sort of ”transient” look!