Saturday, March 26, 2016

Cowboy Billy & the Harmonica Trees

Quite a few of us kids, younger and older, got together at the Chariton Free Public Library Friday morning to hear Cowboy Billy read from his semi-autobiographical "Cowboy Billy and the Harmonica Trees."

A couple of dozen of us were there --- seated around a campfire on a buffalo robe, or the floor, or chairs --- for the occasion.

Cowboy Billy, obviously, arrived by horse --- at least his saddle was there, along with the shovel used for digging the post holes in a previous life, during which he inadvertently planted the harmonicas that later grew into trees and became the subjects for his book.

Several of us there on Friday morning knew that Cowboy Billy is semi-retired now, no longer riding the range or building fences in the desert Southwest, and that his persona Will Ghormley, master leather craftsman, has come to the fore.

Will Ghormley lives in Chariton these days with his wife, Lauri, and their sons --- and his studio windows open onto a view west across the town square toward the Lucas County Courthouse rather than across the desert toward a distant mountain range.

But many in the audience at the library Friday morning didn't know that.

Will specializes now in old west cowboy leather. You can learn more about his work by going to his  page online here. Be sure to follow some of the links scattered around on the page. There's a lot more here than meets the eye initially.

After Cowboy Billy finished reading from his own work, he continued with other stories --- written by others. But the type was smaller.

And so we learned, among other things, that even cowboys wear glasses sometimes.

Once the stories were done, Cowboy Billy distributed copies of pages from his book among the younger members of his audience and the focus shifted to coloring.

Duties called, however, and some of us who were a little older were called away to do other things then rather than join in.

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