Been There, Done That

Letter From Texas

It is a beautiful April evening in Hico, Texas. My wife and I are having dinner with my in-laws, and I am eyeballing a statue of Billy the Kid across the street from Lilly's Restaurant. Hico, you see, was the home of "Brushy Bill" Roberts, widely believed around these parts to have been the notorious outlaw/folk hero, who, according to the "Hico Legend of Billy the Kid," escaped the long arm of the law and lived out his golden years right here in Hico. Our waitress, a pretty, blue-eyed Hico native named Ann, says that Billy the Kid groupies flood the place for an annual Billy the Kid/Brushy Bill talkfest. My father-in-law, however, insists that Pat Garret sent The Kid to a Wild West version of Valhalla way back when. Personally, I favor the Brushy Bill story, having learned from John Ford that it's better to print the legend. Ann says her father witnessed Brushy Bill's passing (he apparently died of a heart attack on a Hico street). It's a story she grew up with, and she tells it with a certain flair.

Ann turns out to have learned as much in her 21 years as I've managed to pick up in 42. Hearing that we are planning a return to the Lone Star state after a ten-year exile in occupied (Northern) Virginia, she tells us about her (brief) sojourn in the wilds of Manhattan, where she went to plan her wedding to a young man of Northern extraction. Her grandmother was scandalized (You're gonna marry...

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