Did it all start here, astraddle a stuffed horse at Buffalo Ranch in Afton, Oklahoma: my love of the West, my addiction to cowboy hats, turquoise jewelry, retro cowgirl couture, Pendleton wool, boots?
Did this introduction to a cowgirl's choice of transportation lead to my stint as rodeo queen? Did growing up on a ranch, which I often took for granted, pave the way for my first-ever published fiction in Louis L'Amour's Western Magazine? Or, to my becoming a member of Western Writers of America? Or, to my practice of sticking a little something western in each of my mystery novels?
I'd have to say yes. Yes to all of it.
Photo: August 1956 (with Mom behind me, as much now as she was then).