Last month I shared some of my thoughts on Skeeter Skelton, who I was fortunate to know. This month, another friend of mine, Jeff Hoover, is going to talk about his visit with Bart Skelton, Skeeter's son, who also happens to be a gunwriter and former lawman.
"It's the rare occasion when expectations are exceeded, but such was the case when sixgunning buddy and holster- maker extraordinaire, Doc Barranti, and I headed south to New Mexico. Since becoming a fulltime hide-stretcher, Doc has been getting much deserved attention from a group of grizzled guys commonly known as 'gunwriters.' One in particular was a Mr. Bart Skelton.
"I remember when Bart first contacted Doc. Doc was ecstatic when he found out he was talking to Bart Skelton. You see, Doc has an obsessive-compulsive disorder with anything having to do with Skeeter, as do many of us. But when Skeeter left this world all too soon, Bart stepped up to carry on the tradition of writing about good sixguns and the way of life down by the border. When Bart learned Doc travels to New Mexico periodically, he offered him a place to hole up if he was ever in the area. So Doc made certain one day he would be. Plans were made and firmed up, and the anticipation started.
"Our flight was uneventful. As our rented Pathfinder turned off of miles and miles of paved highway, the dirt road was a welcome change from the heat mirage drifting up off the hot asphalt. It was 105 degrees and the further south we drove, the drier it got. The landscape was vacant, brown and dry. There was very little green to be seen. Everything took on the appearance of a dessicated liver pill. Bart had to text us the final directions to get to the Skelton hacienda, surreptitiously hidden in the desert.
"We cautiously approached the house, not wanting to be mistaken for banditos. Pulling up, we spotted Bart as he waved to us and showed us where to park. Handshakes and greetings were exchanged as Bart invited us in to his home. And what a home it is! Large and spacious, it's a one-story house with Mexican floor tile throughout and large cedar beams in the high ceilings. The bookcases in the living room and paneling for the dining room came from a church in England, as did the front door. A large bookcase pretty much covers the adjoining wall of the great room, leading into the dining room. On its shelves lay items of great interest to any sixgunner--various badges, credentials and memorabilia...