Talkin Bout Cowboys
by Z.A. Maxfield
While my favorite movie with Kevin Costner is Bull Durham, (because I too, am a charter member of the church of baseball), I very much enjoyed his 90’s Westerns, Dances with Wolves and Wyatt Earp.
Kevin’s a pretty, pretty man, and there’s just something so earnest about him. He brings back the quiet cowboy of the High Noon variety, and probably got himself a lot of comparisons to Gary Cooper. He’s a local boy, or rather, he spent a lot of his childhood in Southern California, and for a long time, he went to school a few minutes from where I live at Cal State Fullerton, our local college. I worked and went to school there at different times in the eighties. I’d like to say I saw Kevin Costner there in person but I was a few years too late. 😦
I remember seeing Dances with Wolves in the movie theater when it came out. Despite how long that film ran, I never spent a minute wondering how much longer we had to go. It was a great, visually stunning movie.
My thoughts are complicated about Wyatt Earp. On the one hand, I liked the movie, on the other, I didn’t like the Earp Brothers. I didn’t feel very connected to the characters and I thought it was awfully violent. I did like Denis Quaid. I thought he was amazing as Doc Holiday. Part of me still wants a love story about Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday. (With liberal poetic license and less tuberculosis.)
About My Cowboy Homecoming
Love can heal the deepest wounds…
A sense of duty brings a soldier home…but a passionate cowboy makes him want to stay.
After his brother’s tragic death, Tripp has to leave the army and return to New Mexico to take care of his mother while his father is in prison for arson. Seeking work at the J-Bar Ranch, Tripp is immediately drawn to injured cowboy Lucho Reyes, whose foot was accidentally crushed by a rescue horse. But will the sins of the father interfere with the desires of the son? Tripp’s father may be responsible for the death of Lucho’s grandfather. Now Tripp must balance caring for his mother, repairing his father’s damages, and trying to win the heart of a man who has every reason to hate him and his family…
Available at: Amazon, All Romance eBooks, iTunes, Google Play & Barnes and Noble
An Excerpt from My Cowboy Homecoming
The road home was less auspicious than I thought it would be. Traffic slowed to a bare crawl outside Las Cruces, and the overheated bus had started to smell.
Just like on every bus, everywhere in the world, people were packed in tight. They stared ahead expressionlessly, as if that cramped, anonymous ride was the best they could expect because it probably was.
All four westbound lanes had been forced into one until at last we reached what seemed like a flare-lit city of fire trucks, police cars, and ambulances. Uniforms covered the highway like ants at a picnic.
When I saw the wreck, my heart gave a lurch. An old yellow school bus with “Iglesias Angelica Bautista” written on the side had been hit head-on by a double tractor-trailer truck. The impact had scattered debris all over both sides of the highway.
A single battered high-top sneaker lay in the middle of the street, blood-spattered and abandoned. I couldn’t take my eyes off it as we drove past.
The front of the wrecked school bus was crushed like an accordion. No way the driver survived the crash. There were others lying still and lifeless beneath sad yellow tarps. EMTs raced between people lying side by side in a makeshift triage area.
I tried to make myself do the deep breathing the army shrinks taught me. I thought about trying the other bullshit stopgap measures I was supposed to deploy before going to the little pills they gave me for anxiety, which I’d thrown away anyway. I tried repeating nonsense rhymes and visualizing my happy place, but the fact is, if you’ve been in a sniper’s crosshairs long enough, it’s hard to convince yourself there’s nobody trying to kill you anymore.
I was home, goddamnit. I wasn’t in danger. Except . . . we’re all in danger all the time. We just don’t know it.
As we inched past the wreck, even I—with the knowledge of how random and tragic fate could be—shook with shock. I couldn’t take my eyes off that shoe lying by itself in the street because my brother used to wear those same Converse high-tops when he was about five. Chucks. I got annoyed every time I heard his little feet padding after me as I tried to run away and play with my “big kid” friends.
Wish I had that now.
Wish I had time to play with him and a chance to know him, now that we were both out from under our father’s thumb, but while I’d been deployed to the valley CNN once called the most dangerous place on earth, my brother got killed on the I-10, exactly like the poor bastard who was driving that bus.
The stifling heat made the Greyhound nearly unbearable. A woman on the seat behind me cried out to Jesus, starting a prayer that three or four of the other passengers echoed. Instinct, still honed to razor-sharp readiness, lifted me to my feet, even though the bus was moving.
“Sit down,” said the old man next to me, whose skin was gray with age and probably cigarettes. Tattoos littered his forearms, including one I recognized, the Devil Dog. Marines. “What do you think you’re going to do out there they aren’t already doing?”
I shrugged and sat.
He studied me. “Just get back?”
That got a laugh. “I thought so. You look it.”
He just stared at me then, and something passed between us. Anxiety and fatigue and that indefinable pinch of pain, as if our lives were too small now, and it hurt to walk around in them.
“Yeah.” I glanced away.
I sat still, even though every cell in my body was telling me I should do something. It was both my nature and, up until recently, my job to keep order. Yet now my TOS was up, and I was going home.
In spite of everything, I stayed still.
It seemed like it took forever to pass the accident.
“Lordy, Lordy.” The woman behind me cried softly. “Sweet Jesus, help your children in their hour of need.”
I let my old, cold friend discipline flow through my heart and I looked away.
Maybe I’d built up this illusion that home was a place made of safety and order, but that goddamn shoe told me different.
Anyhow, that’s why I was late getting into Deming.
About Z.A. Maxfield
Z.A. Maxfield started writing in 2007 on a dare from her children and never looked back. Pathologically disorganized, and perennially optimistic, she writes as much as she can, reads as much as she dares, and enjoys her time with family and friends. Three things reverberate throughout all her stories: Unconditional love, redemption, and the belief that miracles happen when we least expect them.
If anyone asks her how a wife and mother of four can find time for a writing career, she’ll answer, “It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you give up housework.”
Readers can visit ZAM at her website, Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr.
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Don’t forget to check out Gyn’s review of My Cowboy Homecoming to see what she thought of it!