100

Happy 100th birthday in Heaven, Grr. I can hear your fiddle music playing at your birthday square dance and see Grandma smiling. Have fun calling, “chase the rabbit, chase the squirrel, chase the girl around the world.” You did. Thinking of you. Wearing my cowgirl boots for the first time this fall. Tell Copper and Santas I said hi too. Scratch their ears in the spots they liked. I am hoping that an unadvertised good thing about Heaven is: No Horseflies. Love you. Thinking of you extra today. Smiling, not crying. Just a little misty around the corners, like you when you’d hear music playing in your mind as you told a story from long ago. Love, Janean

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Western Wisdom

I’m in the midst of typesettin’ two more of my grandfather’s Western Tales. Yesterday I caught myself readin’ instead of movin’ fast, flowin’ type, applyin’ style sheets, and fixin’ up his wonderful words for bein’ self published and bound into yet another family and friends book. Perhaps his last, as at 97, we know his body is wearin’ out.
Certain phrases and plot twist moments, keep jumping off my computer screen as I work, that make me grin and guffaw. Then there are others that make my heart squeeze in empathy.
The line of dialogue speaking to me right now is after the sheriff received a letter from concerned parents, asking after their hastily married off daughter who was sent away, “in trouble.” Instead of replying that she’d had her baby, and a few days later her worthless, no good varmint, rat of a husband was dead – murdered – Sheriff Wells simply said where they could reach their daughter. His mentor, John Wade, replied after readin’ the communique in progress, “Good shot. Let her tell her own story.”
Indeed. Yes. The other bit of advice I keep readin’ is to keep your head up high, no matter what the circumstances in your life. Lots of horse talk too. How I love that!
I’m completely charmed by my grandfather’s writing. Stories. Songs. Poetry. I have been since childhood. It’s more poignant now. Readin’ with a woman’s heart.
He’s a marvel. Still alive and kickin’, atop a bluff overlookin’ the mighty Mississippi River where he’s lived since he was nine months old, other than those years he was needed to serve his country in WWII. He began writing stories while recovering from night patrol injuries in a hospital in England. The Red Cross gave him paper. He mailed the stories home. All because he’d read everything he could get his hands on, and figured he could do as well or better. Once he started writing, he never stopped. That is a lesson for me, and all the aspiring authors I know. Writers write. A lot.
~ Janean Marie Thompson Baird

April 10, 2013
Quote from, “The Invincible Three” by Erwin A. Thompson.

I’m cryin’ as I write this
I feel like such a mess
wearin’ my cowgirl boots for courage
first time I’ve worn ‘em here
yet it’s the only fittin’ thing to do
I wanna tromp across the pasture
where the horses used to graze
and stand still in the barnyard
where we curried, combed and praised
those two horses of my childhood
Santas, short and stubborn
Copper, tall and true
how I loved them
and the time we spent
atop their steady backs
followin’ the trail you set
ridin’ double
or walkin’ side by side
trottin’ was for sometimes
gallopin’ hardly never
I’m cryin’ as I write this
nothin’ weak in that
you’ve always led by example
some lessons are harder than others
oh, how we both know
I’m writin’ heart thoughts that seem random
but go together ‘cause they do
got my boots and denim on
just like you

written Thursday, November 8, 2012
as I rode the southbound train from Normal to Alton, Illinois
the first leg of the trip