Friday, November 28, 2008

Billy, the Kid's Grave....

From The New York Times Review of Books:

'Lucky Billy'

A fictionalized account of the short life and squalid death of Henry McCarty, a k a Billy the Kid.
Vernon cleverly ends with a real newspaper clipping from the Santa Fe Weekly Democrat, the sort of overheated nonsense that helped propel McCarty into myth: “Billy the Kid . . . will no more take aim at his fellow man and kill him, just to keep himself in practice.”


Driving across country from northern Illinois to San Diego, I made a detour in a rather desolate part of New Mexico to an even more desolate place...Billy, The Kid's grave.

Drove down a gravel road, lined on one side by a row of scraggly cottonwood trees. And after a bit, passed a weathered building. Then came a barbed wire fence, knocked down in some areas, that surrounded a very very old western cemetery. Tumbleweeds rolled over the old graves, sort of leapt over the fallen down fence and road. Parked the car, got out, stepped over the fence and walked past leaning wooden crosses, some stone markers, and to the center of the cemetery.

There, three gravestones sat side-by-side, covered by a cement blanket. In the center lay Billy, the Kid's final resting place. The men on each side of him were, it's said, friends of his. Billy lived a short, lonely life and in death, he could not have lain in a more lonely, forgotten location.

And there he lays still. I wonder if, sometimes, others ever visit him.


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