Saturday, November 13, 2004


I spent yesterday going to Brownwood, Texas, about 120 miles southwest of where I live, for the funeral of one of my aunts, who passed away on Wednesday. My mother went with me, and we visited a little with other relatives while we were down there. (Both my mother and my father were born and raised down in that area, and I still have lots of relatives around there.) The driving pretty much wore me out. Time was I could drive all day and not feel it much, but that's no longer the case.

When I was a kid I always liked going to the house of the aunt who passed away this week, Iva Mae Heath. She had a nice back yard where her husband Bear liked to grill hamburgers (every kid should have an uncle named Bear). My cousins knew somebody who worked for the local magazine distributor, so they had stacks and stacks of stripped comic books. (In those days, unlike paperback books, only the top third of a comic book cover was torn off to return for credit.) And they had a color TV, too, which was magical to me. We didn't get a color TV until 1966. My aunt was a big fan of Western TV shows, especially BONANZA. I've never forgotten one time when she said that she watched an entire episode of BONANZA wondering where Adam was, before she finally realized that she was actually watching THE VIRGINIAN.

Today I got back to work on the current book and had a pretty productive day. I only have about half an outline on this one, so I hope I don't run into a brick wall part of the way through. That hardly ever happens, but I always worry about it. Winter-type weather has arrived at last in this part of Texas, cold and dreary. I turned on the heater in my studio today for the first time since last winter.

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