In baseball the great Babe Ruth is a legend. His records may be broken by folks like Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds but his legacy will never be diminished. Babe Ruth established the records to be broken. The same can be said for writers. In the western genre there are greats like Louis L’Amour and Elmer Kelton but the all time master remains Zane Grey who started the whole thing.
I recently read his first book Betty Zane. This book is about his great- great-grandmother who was a pioneer woman during the settling of the frontier in the Ohio Valley. She witnessed some terrible Indians fights and was a hero in one of the last battles of the American Revolution, which was the defense of Fort Henry against the allied forces of the Shawnee Indians and British.
I had read Zane Grey before and thought Riders of the Purple Sage was a great story. Recently we heard a reading on the radio from Call of the Canyon. It was a beautiful description of the West and rivaled what an artist might capture of canvas. This stimulated my appetite for a revisit to the old master Zane Grey.
On our return trip home, from the Santa Fe vacation, we stopped at a quaint bookstore, we had heard about, in San Angelo called Cactus Books. It’s a small store in downtown San Angelo filled with used and new books, all devoted to Texas and the Southwest. The works of virtually every known Western writer is in that store. I went crazy and purchased four Zane Grey novels plus a couple of Elmer Kelton books which I didn’t own. Found another great book on murals in old Post Offices of Texas. That bookstore is an absolute gold mine.
I have enough to keep me busy for a while on the porch. I don’t have time for the paper or the TV news so I’m in pretty good spirits.