Driving 500 miles to not meet a well-known creator nonetheless labored out for this school fundraising group
Today, in the first column, “Neighbors” from 2021, John shares how he bonded with Louis L’Amour, the writer and short story writer who has written more than 100 books, mostly westerns. Much of his work has been translated into 20 languages and some of his stories have been turned into films.
In 1982, John Jack Evans, longtime editor of the Jamestown (ND) Sun, asked for assistance in contacting Louis, who was born in Jamestown in 1908.
When Louis L’Amour died in 1988, he had written nearly 100 novels, more than 400 short stories, two non-fiction books and his volume of poetry. Especially for the forum
Jack said to John, “OK, that’s the best I can do. Louis, his wife Kathy and their children Beau and Angelique always spend the first two weeks of August in Tamarron, a golf course / resort north of Durango, Colorado. “
“So I drove a rented Chevette 500 miles,” writes John, “and arrived in Cortez, Colorado in a heavy rainstorm at 11pm. But all the motels there were full. So I drove another 18 miles to Tamarron and arrived at 1am
“Miraculously, there was still one room left in the main lodge. After I put my business card in Mr. L’Amour’s mailbox there, I got a good night’s sleep.
“At 9am, relaxed and sure that I would see and visit him, I went to the front desk. When I said, “I wonder why Mr. L’Amour didn’t pick up my card.” The clerk said, “Oh, Mr. L’Amour didn’t come this year.”
“Stunned by the revelation, after having invested so much in Concordia’s resources to get to Tamarron, I pondered over breakfast, most of which I hadn’t eaten.
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“I remembered Boyd Christenson, the popular WDAY TV sports commentator and co-host of the talk show ‘Party Line,’ interviewed L’Amour when L’Amour received an honorary degree from North Dakota State University. I called Boyd at his house and asked if he could have Mr. L’Amour’s home number.
Boyd, whose show I brought dozens of famous guests to see, said, ‘Yes, I have his number. I promised him I wouldn’t give it to anyone, but given the circumstances, he’ll understand if I give it to you (which he did, for his eternal merit). ‘
“When I called, Mr. L’Amour answered and said, ‘Although we never miss our stay in Tamarron – time is sacred – we didn’t go this year because we were remodeling our home in Beverly Hills, California. and Kathy insisted we stay home and end it. ‘
“At that time, we also rebuilt our own house,” writes John, “with plastic sheeting that separates our living rooms from the sawdust, so Mr. L’Amour and I have created” similarities “.
“Then he asked me, ‘Why did you try so hard to see me when you could have picked up the phone and called me?’ I replied, “Because I didn’t have your phone number.”
“Mister. L’Amour laughed at my predicament and said,” I think I can visit Concordia. Write me a letter of invitation detailing the details and I’ll see what I can do. “
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“After I sent the letter, I made an appointment for a lunch visit with him and his wife.”
On September 28, 1982, Louis hosted lunch for John at a Beverly Hills hotel. John was joined by Clifford Enger, who grew up in Hendrum and Ada, Minnesota, co-produced the TV shows “Gunsmoke,” “Death Valley Days,” and “Have Gun, Will Travel,” and hired then-actor Ronald Reagan will appear in a television commercial for 20 Mule Team Borax.
Louis introduced John and Cliff to Tom Selleck, the actor who starred in a television movie called “The Shadow Riders,” which John saw on his hotel room television that same evening.
Well, Louis agreed to come to Concordia. And he spoke at the C-400 meeting in March 1983.
“After learning that Charles Schulz was a great admirer of Louis (they were masters of their respective genres),” says John, “I connected them. Mr. Schulz then created a ‘peanut’ drawing for Angelique (Louis’ daughter ). ”
Louis died in 1988 at the age of 80. However, John says the North Dakota native made a lasting impression on him and the people at Concordia.
“He was one of the best and most authentic speakers the C-400 Club has ever presented,” says John.
If you have an article of interest in this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107, fax it to 701-241-5487, or email it to [email protected] .