Gentle readers, last night I received a call from a woman who asked, “Is this Jack?” “Yes”, it is,” I answered. “Did you move?” After a short pause I replied, “no, why do you ask?”
“You didn’t move?” “No ma’am, I am still at the same ol’ place.” She went on, “I have a friend that told me you moved!“ “OH NO, that’s somebody else you are thinking of.” (I ain’t makin’ this up folks and I know this lady that called as she buys calendars every year.)
She also asked about Baxter Black.
I went on to explain to her that Baxter was the King of cowboy poets and of all he had done to entertain all of Ag America.
I have known Bax (as his friends call him) since 1990. Our paths have crossed many, many times at the Denver Stock Show and at gatherings where he and I were on the same venue.
Many years ago at the stock show I was lingering in my art booth late one evening and I see Bax and four or five fellows walking towards my booth. They are all involved in conversation and suddenly Baxter spots me and tosses the first verbal dart which struck me directly in the heart. Bax is the quickest witted man I have ever come across and I have always been amazed at how his brain works. As they came closer, I offered, “SAY BAX, I HAVE A CONFESSION I NEED TO MAKE TO YOU!” The group stopped and Bax approached with, “yes, and what would that be Mad Jack?” Well, I often get accused of being you… he interrupted with, “yeah, I know, I have folks ask me if I am Mad Jack, drives me crazy,” he grins. “Well, I have found that you get to dance with a better class of women if they think you are BAXTER BLACK, so if Cindy Lou gets any strange phone calls from women, it’s my fault!” “Jack, you sorry, you better not, you better not…” The collective group got a good “laff” from that one. There are those times I can be as ornery as Bax.
A month before that I was at Cowboy Christmas in Vegas where I shared a booth with Cowboy Magazine. I was a contract illustrator and sometimes writer for the magazine and we were introducing the first issue in Vagas and Bax was on the cover in full color. I was sitting in my captain’s chair in the booth one afternoon when this attractive young lady wandered by. She paused, glanced at the magazine promptly displayed right out in front and then her eyes shot a quick glance at me. She looked briefly at some of my cartoons and then back to the magazine and then to me. “If I buy your magazine, would you autograph it for me?” I smiled as the Devil was dancin’ through my head and replied, “ABSOLUTELY!”
“What is your name?” “Rebecca,” she offered. I glanced at her and then across the magazine cover I wrote, “Rebecca, may the soft breeze of happiness always surround your lovely face!” She blushed, paid me for the magazine, said “THANKS” and walked away turning to look over her shoulder quickly. She was a happy woman and I knew Bax would be proud of me. Maybe not. I never told him about that one. Sorry Bax, the devil made me do it.
Baxter Black is a pure treasure to us in agriculture and I told him once that he was our Will Rogers for our time and I meant it. My very best to you Bax and of course Cindy Lou!
Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, live to love and love to live and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.
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