As published in the Bourbon Zeppelin Newsletter .
Since I was a young boy I have been fascinated with the old west characters. Heroes who tamed the cow towns and brought justice to a new big land. People like Wyatt Earp, Wild Bill Hickock just to name a couple. But If I had one chance to sit down and have a drink and a cigar with someone, I would like to have done that with John Wayne.
John Wayne has always been at the top of the list not just because of his iconic movie roles, but that he had stated that his portrayals of lawmen in his movies came in part from meeting and talking with Wyatt Earp when he was a young man working as a prop boy in early movies.
I would have to say at first, I know I would be awestruck and mention how much I loved his movies and the no-nonsense way he took care of business. Above all, I would like to sit and talk about just being a cowboy. In my mind, no one ever paid homage to the Wild West like he did. I would tell him how much I appreciated the fact that he had Cowboy Ethics, and lived by that code, even in life. In the movies, he never shot a man in the back and was very adamant about that. He treated people with respect until he was disrespected and that stayed with me my whole life.
I think that before we had that drink, I would ask Mr. Wayne if he would take a ride on horseback with me and maybe take in some target practice, just so I could say that I shot alongside of him. We would then sit down and discuss everything from movies, politics to horses and shooting. Then I would ask him one thing, “Tell me about Wyatt Earp.”
John Wayne was a man above men, back when handshakes meant something and you didn’t talk unless you had something worth saying.
We could use a few more like John Wayne these days.
Ben Johnson. Real life rodeo champion. Also, Slim Pickens, another rodeo cowboy.
Then there’s non-rodeo people, such as General Robert E. Lee, Jackson, Longstreet, Early, Hood, and you get the message, for a dram of aged batch bourbon and quality handmade cigar, or should I say, “C-gar”? I would say Grant, but between the two of us there wouldn’t be enough of either bourbon, or cigars. Then there’s Samuel Clemens…
All great choices as well!