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Monday, October 5, 2009

Writers I Have Met

One of the side benefits of being in the book business is the people you get to meet. Some of them are authors, a very few are celebrities, most all of them are interesting. I guess the only real celebrity I've met is one of Ronald Reagan's daughters that married one of my customers. He was originally from Columbia Falls, but had moved to California to teach Yoga. He introduced me to his wife while on a visit back here. She didn't seemed thrilled when I told her I admired her Dad . . . A few authors have wandered in. Win Blevins stopped in once. Wilf Pyle, the Canadian outdoor writer, has been in a time or two. Ken Howell became a friend that I still visit with online. Ken & I traded books and tall tales back and forth at several gun shows. He actually mentions that I loaned him a couple of cartridge books in his Designing & Forming Custom Cartridges. I got to meet Elmer Keith at our local gun show and was lucky enough to get him to sign my complete collection of his books. He was easy going and personable. Louise Erdrich lived here in the valley for a while and used to come in and buy books. She was a very nice & unpretentious lady, blue jeans and t-shirt and a big smile. I only discovered who she was when I looked at her check. Bob Faulkner, author of Buffalo Rock, is a neighbor in Lower Valley. I got acquainted with Rick Hacker of Guns And Ammo magazine at a show. He inscribed a copy of his The Muzzleloading Hunter to me. Bert Gildart and I shared a few chats over coffee with some mutual friends. I wish I could use a pen and camera as effectively as he does. Rollo Robinson, author of Shots At Mule Deer, & I traded books at the Salt Lake gun show. I met & visited with Rex Applegate in Las Vegas. Rex is mostly forgotten about now but was one of the foremost hand-to-hand combat instructors in WWII. I treasure the copy of his book Kill or be Killed that he signed to me. From his obit:
  • During World War II, Applegate served with the Office of Strategic Services, later to be known as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). He also worked with the Counter Intelligence Corps. and the Military Intelligence Division of the War Department. He did, indeed, train spies at the Military Intelligence Training Center at Camp Ritchie, Maryland. He also trained President Roosevelt's personal bodyguards. Applegate, along with Great Britain's William Fairbairn, was responsible for developing the close-quarter combat techniques taught to all Allied Forces. Their methods of hand-to-hand fighting were simple to learn, easy to remember and devastating. Thousands of men and women owed their lives to the combative effectiveness of Applegate's system. Applegate's system was not devised in an Asian temple or a strip mall studio. rather, his methods were down-and-dirty fighting techniques, proven and refined in the true "ultimate" contest: World War II's European and Pacific theaters. Applegate and his instructors routinely went out on dangerous missions behind enemy lines to "field test" what they taught. They knew from personal experience that their methods worked under the most extreme conditions of life or death warfare.
Frank Hadley is a very nice local man that trades books here, a Vietnam vet who wrote a novel based on his experiences titled Song of the Loon. Some authors I wish I could have met were Edward Abbey, Hunter Thompson, Col. Charles Askins, jr and Jack O'Connor. Two local authors I'd like to meet are Doug Peacock and Rick Bass, either of whom could have been through the store without me knowing it. (Me) (Blacktail Books)