When I tire of reading about the state of human affairs, I turn to my favorite author, someone who never fails to entertain me, to challenge me, to whet my appetite for adventure.
I know that the book I choose will follow the same plot line of nearly every book this author has written.
I know that the protagonist will be someone who has honed his basic skills of survival, who will shoot straight, knows how to throw a left jab and gets the girl before the story ends.
I want to be lost in the woods, travel over the western landscape, know how to handle knife and gun, sweat along a dusty trail, shiver in the cold, fight off a bear, ride a horse, sit around a campfire, watch the stars light up the sky. I want to be reminded of pioneer men and women who face life-and-death odds and prevail by the sweat of the brow, dogged determination and a willingness to take risks.
Last week I spent a lot of time reading what I call “heavy stuff” about finance, politics, economics and international trade policy. I also worked on the last few chapters of a romance novel that I’m writing. Even penned a letter or two.
Then I did what I always do. I went to the library and picked out a book by the late Louis L’Amour, who knew and wrote about the western landscape and its people.
He wrote 86 novels before he died in 1988, including my favorite, “Conagher,” and books about Hondo and the Sackett family.
Not bad for a guy who left school at 15 and completed his education as he traveled about the world living the characters that appear in my favorite “escape literature.”
Enough of Donald Duck. Gimme a real man and a courageous woman who stride out for the western horizon, making America what it always has been: great.