• Sandhills Boy-The Winding Trail of a Texas Writer Reviewed

    After finishing Sandhills Boy by Elmer Kelton, I felt more like I’d just had an entertaining yet enlightening back porch visit with this famed Texas author rather than reading his autobiography.

    The tone was warm, conversational, the content overflowing with West Texas history learned and experienced firsthand and delivered by a true storyteller.

    Details of ranching’s open range days and long trails gleaned from his father and old cow hands he worked with as a youngster, to his experiences of growing up during the Great Depression and coming of age in the Army in WW II, Kelton’s sly humor wove all these elements together like a hand pieced quilt.

    Meeting his Austrian bride in wartime Europe and her adaption to Texas, his early struggles to make a living as a writer–something his father didn’t see as honest work—and describing the many down-to-earth and fascinating people he met on the sometimes bumpy road to success, Kelton made me want to go back and reread his novels so I could pinpoint just where his well drawn characters had come from.

    Realizing early that he did not possess the sharp ranching skills of his brothers he was saddened by his poor cowboying, but learned in 5th grade that he was really very near-sighted and simply couldn’t see how to accomplish many of the tasks he’d tried to perform on horseback.

    Kelton was humble throughout his life; though ranching lost a working cowboy, the literary worked gained a strong advocate for Western history and lore.

    A quote from True West magazine summed it up well with, “One thing is certain:  As long as there are writers as skillful as Elmer Kelton, Western literature will never die.”

    When Kelton passed away in 2009, the writing world lost a great one.


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    About Patty Hirst

    It doesn’t take long to discover that Patty Hirst loves Dublin, Texas, and the people who live in Dublin. She is also one of the reasons that Texansunited.com has been able to show the world just how special this Irish Texas town actually is. Quite often here on Texans United, you will find Patty in our News section, weighing in on what is happening in Dublin. But Patty Hirst is also a thinker, maybe even a dreamer,if you will. She sees the beauty in things that others never see...whether it be a rock, a single rose, or the stranger sitting on the park bench. Yes, Patty thinks good thoughts, and we've asked her to share thosse thoughts with all of us.
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    One Response to Sandhills Boy-The Winding Trail of a Texas Writer Reviewed

    1. missy jones says:

      Mr. Kelton was such a great man and a great writer. I first met him several years ago at the Cross Plains Library, who had a book signing for him, and then again when they had a barbeque appreciation dinner for him. I have several of his books, and several are signed. The great thing about him, he didn’t just sign the book and push you out of the way, he really wanted to talk to you. He and I got along very well and had a lot of fun visiting about West Texas when he heard that Darrell and I had lived in McCamey, Texas and I knew many of the locations he talks about in “Sandhills Boy”, and some of the people. I will always miss him. Missy

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