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Burro Bill and Me
Ramblings in the American Desert

by Edna Calkins Price

Copyright 2004, The Narrative Press
197 pages, Softcover, 8.5"x5.5"

From the back cover:
It was the late 1930's.  She was shy and sedate, from a family of teachers and scholars.  But it was love at first sight.  To her family in Virginia she wrote hazily of the adventurer she had married.  Bill had left home at 14 with a nameless longing in his heart.  "I can't take a soft life," he told his bride.  "It rots a man."  So they started their quest for freedom in sun-scorched Death Valley.  Bill was exultant. 

     Free as a bird. All we have to do is toss our worldly goods on the burros and in five minutes we are moving!  Who else in the world has to so little and still so much?

As they roamed the deserts of Arizona and California on foot, making friends with prospectors and desert rats, Edna found herself absorbed in her new life.  Sometimes she wondered how, gently bred, she was content to live in the crudest manner, eating the barest subsistence diet, wander afoot across deserts, plains, and badlands, sleeping under the stars, hobnobbing with miners, Indians, sheepherders, and bindlestiffs.

     As for money, since our ill-fated mining venture, there was still about one hundred and forty dollars held by my brother in Palo Alto and mailed to us at the rate of ten dollars a month. Our regular thirty-day supply of grub now consisted of fifty pounds of flour, ten pounds of cornmeal, twenty pounds of beans, ten pounds of honey, two pounds of coffee, two pounds of sugar, one gallon of oil, salt, soda, and if anything reamined of a ten dollar bill it was invested ion a few onions, a ten-cent can of cocoa and a small piece of salt pork. Our greatest delicacy was either fried sourdough rolled in sugar or a "cake" of sweetened cocoa-flavored biscuit dough baked in the Dutch oven - and God help me if I ever made one and ate it in Bill's absence - as once I did - just for the sheer pleasure of eating all of it that I could hold.

Despite the hardship, Edna tells her story with humor and poetic insight.

     So at the close of January 1934, when the days were again uncomfortably warm and the moon full-bright, we made ready to set forth. It was nightfall when we saddled up Blackie, Chub, John, Jack, Jenny and Balboa, leaving old Annie and her colt to run with the wild burros at Eagle Borax. Ishawipe, the coyote, we turned loose, but he refused to go. As we trudged down the white alkali road to the south as far back as we could see in the brilliant moonlight there was still the dark shape of Ishawipe, crouching motionless just where we had left him.

Burro Bill and Me is a story about an unlikely couple very much in love, on a road very much their own.

Book condition: This is a new "remainder" book. A remainder is a book that may have been unsold by the publisher, or it may have been an "unsold" return from a bookstore. It may have minor shelf wear on the cover, or other mild imperfection. We do not ship books with major damage. No remainder mark.

 


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