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Page #4 Of 6

A True West Story

The Wind Blew Very Hard Today And Made The Dust Very Disagreeable In This Place. Sand Storms Are Very Common Here. They Are Heavy Winds That Come From Across The Plains. Something Like The Sandstorms You Read About In Africa That We Read About Samuel Newcomb, Texas

The Shifting Whispering Sands, Part 1

This one has special meaning for me. I often go to the old abandoned ranch near Maricopa, California, in my Jeep. No electricity, no running water, no phone. I sleep in a little shack heated by a wodd-burning stove and use candles for light.There are rabbits, deer, badgers, coyotes squirrels and, once in a while a bear. I know the 480 acres like the back of my hand. I’ve spent hours walking around the original homesteaders homesites. The buildings are long fallen and crumbling into dust. I found a buckboard that had fallen apart when tried to move it. There’s a windmill that sways in the wind. I sat under a manzanita bush one hot day with paper, all set for a song inspiration. I looked around and discovered I was in an Indian burial ground. I sat for three hours, then I wrote " Under the Manzanita Tree-sits a pencil, a piece od paper and me" To my knowledge, no one else knows of this Indian graveyard-and won’t show you where it is. ( This is the ranch, incidentally where Frank Bez photographed the album cover picture ) Out there one night, the stars seemed twice as bright as anywhere else. You can "gaze high into the heavens, where you’re hoping you’ll go when you die. Johnny Cash


The Last Gunfighter


Back in the late fifties and early sixties, the fast draw craze was going round and I got pretty fast with a Colt 45. I kept that thing cleaned with powder solvent, oiled her down every day and had a hair spring trigger. I could draw and cock and fire somewhere under a half a second, and that was just about as fast as John Wesley Hardin or any of the rest of them. I got really livin the role. I thought it was 1881, and somebody was coming after me. Sometimes I’d put on that gun at night and go out lookin for bad men, Wound up shootin every tree in the yard full of holes. And god only knows why I didn’t end up not shoot off all my toes. Then I bought myself a Civil War pistol, a cap and bell job, that fired black powder and when I got a whiff of that black powder smoke up my nostrills, I was like a wild burro. It does strange things to a man. That hammer would hit the cap, the cap would fire, the powder would explode and that round lead ball would go deep into the gut of that imaginary bad man. Then I’d sniff and snort and paw like a bull, lookin for something else. I thought I was invincible. Black powder smoke does that to you.

In the days before the security checkpoints in airports, I carried my pistol and my fast holster on the road. I had a show down with Johnny Western one night in Minneapolis ( Blank Of Course ) and he killed me seven times in a row. In WaterLoo, Iowa Gordon Terry and I had a standoff "sissies use blanks" he said, and my bullet ( blank found it’s mark and so did his (real) the toe of his boot. In Sidney, Australia, in the hotel corridor, Sammy Davis, Jr. and I had a standoff and he dropped me cold. "it only takes one good eye to shoot, Cash< he laughed. Well, I went back to practicing , but by the time I did get really fast, the craze was over had died out and all of those swift gunfighter had hung up their holsters. Of course, every wek I could drw on Jim Arness at the beginning of Gunsmoke, but there was something kind of unfulfilling about drawing against the TV. Later on, I did that movie with Kirk Douglas where we squared off. I think I got him, but I never did know for sure because I couldn’t understand the ending of the that movie.

A few years ago, Hank Williams, Jr. gave me a pistol that belonged to his daddy. ( It’s the picture on this album) I keep her close by and loaded with five bullets, the hammer being down on the empty chamber, cause even though I feel I am now the fastest gun alive, I’d spin that cylinder and give any slowpoke a one out a six chance to be standing when the smoke clears. But want to say to all you weak-thumbed, wishy-washy, gun-shy, lily-livered, young, shaky tenderfoot owl-hoot, whippersnappers, that this ain’t the movies, so don’t come tryin me. You’re not gettin a chance to prove me wrong. Old gunfighters never die, we just go on smellin like powder.

                                    John D.( Deadeye) Cash


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Revised: September 03, 2007


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