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Which Way is West A Place or a State of Mind? One Man's Journey to Find Out von Elder, Dick (eBook)

  • Erscheinungsdatum: 01.06.2012
  • Verlag: BookBaby
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Which Way is West

This is the story of a man who gives up a comfortable life to follow his dream. The timeframe for this tale is during a turbulent decade-the 1960's. It was late in the evening during the fall of 1958 when Dick Elder placed a call to two friends...Jim Dodson and George Horton. He asked them to come over to the Northeast Ohio Equine Institute and give him and Dr. Vasko a hand getting a horse on which they had just operated into the recovery stall. Later that evening at the Horton home, Dick and his friends, all fine horsemen, talked about leaving Ohio, quitting their jobs and comfortable lifestyle to go out west and buy a dude ranch. During the year that followed the idea of starting a new life blossomed into something more....much more! Ignoring good advice and without a commitment for a loan or investment from others with which to finance the enterprise, the trio purchased five-hundred acres of land near Durango, Colorado for $35,00 and set about to build a dude ranch from scratch. Seemingly oblivious to the obvious fact that what they wanted to do was virtually impossible without proper financing, the guys plunged ahead hoping that they would be able to get a loan before all the funds they had invested were gone. But no bank or individual was willing to pour money into what most thought was an ill-conceived project that had virtually no chance for success. Without money to pay the crew, all work stopped. Jim has no choice but to return to Ohio and find work while Dick and his family remain in Durango. Down to their last ten dollar bill, Dick finally finds work as a disc jockey and time salesman at a local radio station which allows his family to survive, but his meager salary means that the good life they once enjoyed is gone. Life becomes nothing more than a hard grind. Dick continues his search for investors without success. Banks aren't interested but a banker suggests he try the SBA (Small Business Administration). Eventually he gets the SBA loan and construction is finally completed. In 1963 after fighting for the life of his ranch, Dick opens for business. Unfortunately, up until 1970 the ranch loses money and the SBA is ready to foreclose when Dick had a heart to heart talk with the regional head of the SBA who reverses the foreclosure decision, reduces the annual payments thus allowing the ranch to work through their problems and become profitable. In the years until he retires in 1997 Dick, through innovation and out of the box thinking, leads his Colorado Trails Ranch into a preeminent position amongst dude ranches in the west. While the synopsis you've just read seems sterile, lacking in excitement and high adventure, nothing about Which Way is West is slow paced or without humor, romance, pathos or boring. The characters you'll meet throughout this story are brought to life in recreated scenes that leap from the page with fiery dialog, humor and realism. The reader will re-live with the author, those moments of joy and elation, the romantic interludes, the finding and blossoming of true love, the frustration and depression, the wild range of characters that were all part of the struggle and eventual jubilation in his search for that pot of gold at the end of a long and often arduous trip across a rainbow.


    Format: ePUB
    Kopierschutz: none
    Seitenzahl: 360
    Erscheinungsdatum: 01.06.2012
    Sprache: Englisch
    ISBN: 9781623091026
    Verlag: BookBaby
    Größe: 754kBytes
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Which Way is West


I grew up a-dreamin' of bein' a cowboy.

The "Depression" was in full bloom in 1934 and I was seven years old when we moved to University Township, near Cleveland, Ohio. Warrensville Center Road, paved with bricks laid by the Works Project Administration, (created by President Roosevelt to put people to work), was a mile east of our rented home. East of Warrensville Center Road was the country. Folks who lived in Cleveland said we lived in the "boondocks," or "out in the sticks."

My father's company manufactured artificial grass used to cover open graves and for decoration in store windows. Although times were hard, we had plenty to eat, lived in a nice house and, by contemporary standards, lived comfortably. We owned two cars, a 1933 LaSalle and a 1928 Huppmobile.

One of seven children, my dad grew up on a farm near the little central Ohio town of Shelby, so living out in the sticks was nothing new to him. He was forever taking our family out on weekend excursions looking for a farm to buy. Although we looked at a lot of farms, and they were dirt cheap during the 30s, he never did buy one. That was a disappointment for my two brothers and me because we were certain that once we had a farm, we would each have our own horse...naturally.

My mother, born in 1900, was three years younger than my father. She was a loving, caring and very gracious person who, as a stay at home mom, exercised a great deal of influence on her three sons giving us lessons, by example, on how one should conduct oneself in polite society.

My dad gave my mother, who knew how to play, a Fisher baby grand piano as a tenth wedding anniversary present and the day it arrived, I started banging on it. I guess it is from her that my musical talents spring. Within a few weeks, I began composing little tunes and several years later, when my folks thought I was old enough to take lessons, I wasn't interested. Playing the silly simple stuff in the John Thompson Beginners Piano Book was boring, as by then, I was making up some quasi complex music. After a half a dozen lessons, I quit. That was one of the dumbest things I ever did because although I can play, I don't play very well and to this day, I cannot read music with any degree of proficiency.

My brother Bob is five years older and Howard is about two years younger than me. On Saturday afternoons we would go to the movies at the Cedar Lee Theater in neighboring Cleveland Heights. It was a good bet that the double feature would include at least one and sometimes two "westerns." We grew up with the great cowboy stars of the thirties: Hop-a-long Cassidy, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, John Wayne and Tim Holt. For just a dime, we saw two full length movies, a newsreel, a travelogue, and a fifteen minute segment of a serial that ended with the hero about to be killed. Large candy bars sold for a nickel, two for seven or three for ten cents. Twelve ounce bottles of soda pop cost five cents. We would spend an entire Saturday afternoon watching movies, eating candy and drinking soda pop for about twenty cents each.

After the movies, we'd come home, strap on our six shooters and chaps, put on our cowboy hats and vests with the little shiny conches and head for one of the many wooded areas near our house. Armed with boxes of caps for our pistols, we'd replay the movie, running through the woods on our imaginary horses, shooting Indians and generally having one hell of a good time. (It should be noted that shooting Indians in the 1930s was politically and ethically correct in as much as the Indians in the movies were always played by white guys.) At that point in my life, I had never seen a real Indian on or off the screen.

Willie Nelson must have had me in mind when he sang; I grew up a-dreamin' of bein' a cowbo

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