An excerpt from Once Upon a Time With Grandpa.
John’s house, a two-story Spanish style dwelling, stood at the end of the lane and had a well-trimmed lawn with a few cars parked all around.
“Looks like we’re some of the first ones here,” Charlie observed.
“Winstead said it was supposed to be a small gathering,” Jobie replied as they left the vehicle.
An Asian butler answered the door and led the men to a room directly to the left of the entrance where everyone was gathering. Aside from a few guests, the room contained a pump organ and radio, as well as a writing desk and several photographs.
With his pipe in one hand and a drink in the other, Winstead spied the journalists as soon as they entered the room. “Ah,” Winstead smiled. “Charlie and Jobie. Come and meet John.”
After introducing the quiet man with thick glasses, Winstead said, “John here, is a pretty big director these days. In fact, we were just discussing my latest screenplay.”
Standing with his hands in his pockets, the director said, “Not a bad idea, Phin. Unfortunately, I’m trying to lie low before taking on any new projects. The studios are all talking about putting sound in their movies, and I want to see how it goes.”
Nodding, Winstead countered, “I hear some studios are filming two versions of their movies.”
John answered, “Seems like a lot of extra work.” Looking directly at Jobie, he said, “What do you gentlemen think?”
“Charlie here was just at the movies a couple weeks ago,” Jobie said. ‘He’ll have a better idea than I do.”
Charlie thought a moment before answering, “Glad I can read.”
“Excellent point,” John chuckled.
“Besides,” Charlie continued. “I’ve always wondered what Tom Mix sounded like.”
Smiling, John answered, “You may not want to know what some of the stars sound like.”
Everyone laughed until Winstead interjected, “I’m going to have to steal these two away. They’re not really here to talk to us.”
“They’re here to see Wyatt Earp.”
“Wyatt?” John repeated. Motioning across the room, he said, “He’s over there getting his ear chewed off by that Duke kid.”
“You’ll have to excuse us then.”
John said, “I understand. I can’t compete with history.”
As Winstead led Charlie and Jobie across the room, the tall, dark-haired Duke nodded to Wyatt Earp. “We’ll talk about it later,” he said and departed.
Finally, Jobie was face to face with the man who had more wild west stories than Charlie. On the other hand, Jobie was disappointed that the object of his admiration was graying, but his eyes were still steely-blue and looked to be prepared for gun-play. Earp’s floppy mustache was long gone and replaced by a more stylish lip warmer.
“Phin, old boy,” Earp called as he saw the trio.
Winstead greeted, “Wyatt, if you’re not a sight for sore eyes!”
“It’s been a while,” Earp replied. “Who are your friends here?”
Earp had barely extended his had before Jobie grabbed it and began pumping. “I’m Jobie Marsh. I’ve read all about you.”
Rolling his eyes, Charlie shook his head.
“And this is Charlie Hobbs,” Winstead continued.
Shaking Earp’s hand, Charlie muttered, “I don’t know how to read.”
Earp replied, “There’s a lot of sheep dip about me anyway.”
Winstead added, “These two are journalists from Harper’s.”
“That so?” Earp replied.
“Relax,” Charlie stated. “We’re here tonight as civilians.”
Winstead pointed out, “Charlie, here, has a few western tales of his own.”
“Maybe so, ”Charlie admitted. “It was more like one big story if you ask me.”
“Life is like that,” Earp agreed. “Everything is the result of something before it and how you handle it.”
Winstead observed, “That’s philosophical.”
“Sort of like hurry up and take your time?” Jobie asked.
“I forget exactly what I said,” Earp guffawed before excusing himself.
Glancing at his watch, Winstead asked, “So, what do you fellas think? I said you’d meet him, and it’s only a little after nine o’clock.”
“He’s no Tom Mix,” Charlie observed.
“Yeah, but he’s the real McCoy,” Winstead countered.