Mad Jack Hanks: Tales from the O-NO Ranch 2-6-12
February 6, 2012
Gentle readers, I first heard of Charlie Brown and his misfortunes in 1959. I was just a pup a year out of high school and did I ever have a lot to learn.
One thing that I did learn was that ol’ Charlie and I had a lot in common. Sometimes as hard as we may try, we just could never make four out of two plus two.
I have often written about this circle of life that we sometimes find ourselves in the spin cycle. It’s interesting to say the least. Back then in Odessa, Texas, working in the oil patch I never thought that I would in fact become a cartoonist or live in the beautiful state of Colorado or become a cowboy, all of which were my fantasies. Of course, the very idea of being friends with the daughter of Charles Shultz, the creator of Peanuts would have had to have come from outer space.
Meredith Hodges, famous trainer of mules and donkeys has a ranch at Loveland, Colo., and I appeared on some of her training videos years ago – what a nice down to earth woman she is. We have remained friends and on occasion I make it to her Christmas parties. Ain’t it something the way life works sometimes?
As far as myself being a cartoonist, it just seemed to come about. I have always loved to draw and being involved for so many years on the ranch (and still am in a very small way), I drew what I knew the best, cowboys. Poor ol’ Otis. He is a lot like me and ol’ Charlie Brown. Seems he just never is able to make a bronc ride, say the right thing at the right time, or always be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Otis is a combination of several folks.
He is part me and parts of other cowboys that I have known. My comic panel, Hoots from the O-NO Ranch is featured in this fine paper and several other papers and magazines. I never could have imagined that would come to be all those years back in Odessa, Texas, covered in grime and grease.
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You cannot but be amazed at the wonderful mind of Charles Shultz when he was alive and doing those daily strips, Sunday comics and specials for television. I think for over 50 years he came up with those thought provoking strips. How many times would little ol’ Charlie Brown make a run at that stupid football that Lucy was holding for him to kick? How many times will ol’ Otis throw a leg over that ol’ bronc Puke thinking that maybe today will be the day he doesn’t have a wreck?
I love to draw and I love to create my cartoons. I often have wondered how Mr. Shultz could come up with so many different cartoons without repeating himself. Think about it – 352 cartoons a year for over 50 years. Amazing. Myself, I have been doing the Hoots cartoons for well over 20 years, however I only do one cartoon per week. Still that’s 52 weeks times 20 years. Do the math. That’s well over 1,000 cartoons that are all different. It’s a challenge sometimes, but it keeps the wheels turning inside this old noggin.
Dear friends, life is full of surprises, some wonderful, some tragic, but all in all it makes us who we are. Remember that it’s not what we have said or done so much in our lives that folks will remember us by but it how we made them feel. When I receive a compliment from a reader about my column or my cartoons, it really does encourage me to always put my best foot forward in trying to be more creative and bring a smile to your face or a serious thought to pass through your brain.
Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and I’ll c y’all, all y’all.