Friday, August 28, 2009

Elmer Kelton: A Kind and Gracious Person

I received this message from an author who was befriended by Elmer Kelton:

A friend sent me an e-mail with your article on Elmer Kelton.

In 2005, several friends talked me into writing a biography of my uncle, Juan Light Salinas, a Mexican-American cowboy who roped with the best in the 1930s and 1940s. After some coaxing, I spent most of 2006 writing the book, after which Texas A&M Press agreed to publish it. In early 2007, buying a new pair of boots at a store in Cotulla, Texas, the owner encouraged me to contact Elmer and see if he would read my manuscript and provide a blurb for the cover of the book.

I drove home that day and called information in San Angelo, got his number and called him. I was pleased when he answered the phone. I explained that I wanted him to read my manuscript and if he felt proper to provide a blurb for the cover of the book. We talked for a couple of minutes, during which he graciously agreed to read the manuscript, and he felt sure provide a blurb. He went on to talk about my subject, said he had seen him rope on several occaisions. We hung up, I mailed him the manuscript, and he provided a very nice blurb. I looked forward to meeting him someday. I did not know he was ill. I contributed to the statue project, then suddenly I hear that he has passed away.

I did not know him well, but what little I did know of him, I can describe as being a very kind and gracious person, one that I regret not meeting face to face.

Ricardo Palacios
Author, Tio Cowboy