Saturday, July 4, 2015

Independence Day: Robert E. Howard's Thoughts On The 4th of July

To August Derleth, July 3rd 1933:
How are you going to celebrate the gul-orious Fourth, which is tomorrow? Of late years that occasion has been observed  a right smart in the Southwest. When I first remember,, the Fourth of July was just another day. Too hot to shoot fire-crackers; at least we considered it so then. We saved our fire-works for Christmas, and I recall with a slight shudder the homemade fire-works my pal and I used to experiment with: dynamite caps, blasting powder, and six shooters."

To Novalyne Price, July 4th, 1935:
Dear Novalyne:
I take my typewriter in hand to write you a letter on this grand and suspicious—I mean auspicious occasion—when the zoom of the horse-race and the rodeo is heard in the land, punctuated by the flap of waving flags, the rumble of patriotic speeches, and the howls of patriots getting their scalps burnt off by premature fire-crackers.
 To August Derleth, July 4th 1935:
I seem to ramble, but ignore it. It is merely a result of being too full of beer, Burgundy wine and a peculiarly potent blackberry brandy liqueur I discovered in Socorro, New Mexico. This is the glorious fourth, dear patriotic hearts from the sunny slopes of Maine to the muscle-bound coasts of San Diego, and I must do my patriotic duty.
I wanted to go to the annual rodeo of Stamford, but not enough to drive a hundred and fifty miles in this heat and my present state of finances. Will Rogers was there, and I understand there was—or is—a distinguished bevy of bronc busters, calf-ropers and bull-throwers—particularly the latter. I'll maybe get to go next year—probably won't.
[. . .]
Now that's but a poor thought on the fourth of July. But the liquor has stirred up old memories and set the ghosts of the dead walking in my mind.

Happy 4th of July from Texas!

All the above letters are from The Collected Letters of Robert E. Howard (Vols. 1-3) by Robert E. Howard, edited by Rob Roehm.


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