For a change, this post is about the American Southwest. I have written about this part of the world before: Bryce Canyon, Arches and Grand Canyon, Lake Powell and my childhood memories and other posts. This post is also related to my childhood.
I have been a reader since the age of four, but my love for reading took off when I started Elementary and discovered our school library. There were no age limits – teenage book section was at my disposal. I judged the books by the cover – it is how I came across The Ransom of Red Chief by O. Henry, and Johnny became my role model 🙂 I loved the intelligent humor of these books, but some stories broke my little heart. One of these stories is Jimmy Hayes and Muriel. I have read this story countless times when I felt like crying, and it always worked. It is a short story, and if you haven’t read it yet, here it is:
Jimmy Hayes and Muriel
A short story by O. Henry
Supper was over, and there had fallen upon the camp the silence that accompanies the rolling of corn-husk cigarettes. The water hole shone from the dark earth like a patch of fallen sky. Coyotes yelped. Dull thumps indicated the rocking-horse movements of the hobbled ponies as they moved to fresh grass. A half-troop of the Frontier Battalion of Texas Rangers were distributed about the fire.
A well-known sound — the fluttering and scraping of chaparral against wooden stirrups — came from the thick brush above the camp. The rangers listened cautiously. They heard a loud and cheerful voice call out reassuringly:
“Brace up, Muriel, old girl, we’re ‘most there now! Been a long ride for ye, ain’t it, ye old antediluvian handful of animated carpet-tacks? Hey, now, quit a tryin’ to kiss me! Don’t hold on to my neck so tight — this here paint hoss ain’t any too shore-footed, let me tell ye. He’s liable to dump us both off if we don’t watch out.”
Two minutes of waiting brought a tired “paint” pony single-footing into camp. A gangling youth of twenty lolled in the saddle. Of the “Muriel” whom he had been addressing, nothing was to be seen. Read more
Jimmy’s fate didn’t concern me for some reason. I cried for his little loyal Muriel.
An encyclopedia found in the same school library gave me idea about Muriel’s looks and classification, but I have never met the creature in person, until last summer.
A part of a lovely weekend spent in our friends’ St. George house was a trip to desert. We took some dirt roads and short hikes to give our little explorers the feel of wilderness.
There were lizards and insects to admire. I am not sure, but I think it is a Locust and a Mormon cricket. They were huge.
Many wildflowers had passed their peak, but some were still in bloom: Globe mallow, Prickly poppy, Desert buckwheat and some cacti.
It was on our way back when I noticed something under a sage bush. I rolled the window down and my heart skipped a beat. I took a picture and zoomed to make sure it was not a mistake. It wasn’t. I finally met Muriel.
I cannot tell that it is exactly the horned lizard species from the story, but it is the closest I could get to meeting my Muriel. It has been some 50 years…
The lizard didn’t move. It was a very hot day, and I didn’t want to bother the creature and force a photo session on it. I was already happy enough.
Some pomegranate flowers spotted in St. George to brighten your day.
There are six bloggers whose blogs I really want you to visit. As this post was basically about the short story that has been stuck in my head for 50 something years, I want to share the books I have read recently ( or about to start reading ), and their authors. I have read every book of these authors and look forward to the new releases.
Science fiction and fantasy writer Craig Boyack – The Yak Guy Project was the first book I opened after several months of abstinence from reading. I truly enjoyed the protagonist’s journey towards maturity.
Science fiction writer Sarah Higbee – Book #3 Breathing Space of Sarah’s trilogy Sunblinded is a fantastic sequel and I hope for more books in the future.
Historical fiction writer Millie Thom – I am currently reading Millie’s Book #3 Wyvern of Wessex of the Sons of Kings trilogy. This is a completely engrossing read, from start to finish.
Fantasy writer Diana Wallace Peach – Legacy Of Souls, The Shattered Sea Book #2 was recently released, and I cannot wait to open it. Soul swallowers are the most fascinating Diana’s creations so far (You read about them in Book #1)
Young adult fantasy writer’s Jean Lee’s blog is a magical place that is very difficult to leave. You just want to read one more article, then another… Recently, Jean nominated me for the Liebster Award, a great friend she is. Visit Jean’s Book page – read her new novel and short stories.
Artist and author Resa McConaghy – Nine Black Lives, a detective novel, my latest read. Resa’s knowledge of the film industry makes the book stand out. It is a very intriguing piece with much potential for many sequels to come.
Hope you find new friends and amazing books.
Have a happy weekend!