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A Different Tale of How the West Was Won - "Cattle Country and Back Trail," by Erwin A Thompson

August 15, 2007 | Comments: 0 | Views: 66

In his cycle of over a dozen Westerns, author Erwin Thompson paints a moral universe in which good, humor, and wit triumph and love unites and conquers all.

Thompson originally started writing Westerns after reading every one he could get his hands on. After this extensive immersion, he decided it would be just as entertaining to write his own. And, so he did. As a gas pipe fitter that couldn't work outside on rainy and snowy days, he found writing in the corner of the locker room during the company's officially declared inclement weather days just about perfect.

I first heard these stories as a child. My father's three children waited eagerly for the next installment to be read in front of the living room fireplace. We thrilled to their characters and plots. Through my father's generosity, we became plot consultants as well as his audience. This training in "What do you think should happen next? What would this character likely do?" was wonderful training for us in our own writing, reading, and just plain living. Grandchildren enjoyed this tradition when their time came. "I always wanted to be a cowboy," my father once told me. In these stories, he rides range as God meant him to.

Recently, we began to revisit this cycle of Westerns when I returned to the homeplace for extended periods to stay with my parents, now 90.We read them as bedtime stories. This time around, I am the reader and my father and mother the listeners. What remains is that all three of us--audience and reader--still thrill to the plots, characters, and turns of phrase in these graceful and compelling books that just seem to get better with age.

These two linked novelettes--Cattle Country, Back Trail --are stories the entire family will enjoy. We are pleased to hand them from our family to yours. The good news, when you get to the last page, is that there are more stories to come in this absorbing cycle that tells a different tale of how the West was won.

Visit Janet Grace Riehl's blog "Riehl Life: Village Wisdom for the 21st Century" ( to share more of her thoughts on connection through the arts, across cultures, and within the family. Janet is the author of "Sightlines: A Poet's Diary," a downhome love story beyond death. You can read sample poems on her website

Source: EzineArticles
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