Since I have “friends” now, I’m reblogging this post from 2011. It was a special day for me, indeed.
No Hill for a Stepper was launched Texas style with James “Slim” Hand as our special musical guest. Singing the songs of Cono’s era that would have made Bob Wills and Gene Autry proud, the music was the perfect foreground for our hill country setting. What an evening! The word for the evening was “surreal” as I saw the efforts of the last 3 1/2 years come to the end of just a beginning. I cannot begin to thank all of the attendees who supported me although I certainly tried! Plus they donated sacks of coins that I will give to the winners of the students in Bell County for the “No Hill for a Stepper” essay contest. Payin’ it forward as they say.
To the crowd of over seventy people, my heartfelt acknowledgment of my father was this:
“No Hill for a Stepper” is my father’s story. While my mother, during her lifetime, was thirsty for life, she spoke mostly about her present and her future. My father focused more on his past. There were reasons he did so. First, because he wanted my sister and I to know how very different his life was compared to ours. Pat and I didn’t have to pick lambsquarter for our meals and we didn’t have to live in a dugout for our shelter. But the other reason he talked so much about his past, especially in his later years, was that he had something to resolve before he died.
As many of you know, my father was very much aware of this novel. A pen guided my hand in response to the things he recounted to me. Dad talked. I listened and wrote and wrote and and I recorded. Never in my life would I have been able to make up his story on my own.
Cono is here tonight, along with my mother. They are here in the photos and in the songs that James Hand is playing. They are here in my spirit and in my heart. Together, Mom and Dad are where all questions are answered and all things are resolved. They are now where things are no longer discouraging but instead, they are where things are copacetic.
My father did not live long enough to see the final product. So Dad, here it is – the final product I told you I would finish. “If I tell you a rooster wears a pistol, look under its wing.”
And then, my fellow supporters joined me in singing Dad’s favorite song, “Home on the Range,” loud enough for him to hear.