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Front Page » April 25, 2006 » Opinion » The Wasatch Behind: A Letter from Butch Cassidy
Published 2,917 days ago

The Wasatch Behind: A Letter from Butch Cassidy


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By TOM McCOURT
Sun Advocate reporter

Saturday, April 1, 2006

Ghost Rocks, San Rafael Swell

Hello Uncle Spud;

Me and Sundance got your letter from the Pony Express guy last week and we were sure surprised to hear from you. The last time we saw you, them Utes had you all tied up and that big chief, Hypertensive Buffalo, was going to feed you to his dog. We were sure you were a gonner.

We hope there's no hard feelings. We woulda come back for you when we made our break but we had to use your horse to carry off the chief's lovely daughter, Little Moon Pig. Taking her with us was part of the deal. She wanted to see the bright lights of Helper and she wouldn't help us escape unless we took her with us.

Hope you understand.

Things have been pretty good for us. We've been hiding out on the San Rafael Swell for about a 100 years now. They turned most of the Robbers Roost into a national park and we wear the wrong shoes to fit in down there anymore. So, we moved to the Swell where we could better fit in with all the outlaws who travel I-70. It's a little colder up here, but that's okay. Nobody looks for us here because they think we're pushing up daisies in South America somewhere.

It's funny how all those lawmen got off on the wrong track back in 1909. It happened by accident, but we couldn't have planned it better had we tried. It happened when Sundance's old girl friend, Tongue-tied Tilley, ratted us out.

Tilley was mad at Sundance over some small issue of alleged infidelity, and she told the sheriff that we were on our way to see Sundance's other girl friend, Olivia. You probably remember Olivia. She was that beautiful, buxom and bashful, barefooted barmaid at the barebones bar and barbecue grill on Blackwell Boulevard in Bicknell.

Anyway, it was a good thing for us that Tongue-tied Tilley was mad and talking fast. The sheriff misunderstood what she said and he sent the whole U.S. Marshal Service to Bolivia in South America looking for us. We were hanging out at Olivia's place in Bicknell the whole time.

Me and Sundance are getting older now, so we usually spend winters down at Lake Powell or Moab where it's warmer. We wear our hippy disguises and fit right in. We've learned to leave our cowboy duds in the car and wear what the natives wear. We even cut our horse's tails off and sewed them to the back of our baseball caps to look like ponytails. Actually, no one needs to wear a disguise in Moab. The whole town is full of strangers, and some are stranger than others.

I look good in spandex shorts, but Sundance has an issue with lumpy thighs. I always told him that his stirrups were too long, and all those years in the saddle pounded his portly posterior down around his knees. Helped him hit the high notes too, back when he sang soprano for the robber's roost choir. He's a little sensitive about it. So don't ever tell him he looks fat in spandex if he asks.

We left Moab early this year before all the college kids got there for spring break. Last year some college sweetie pie made a pass at old Sundance thinking he was Willie Nelson. Sundance is afraid that some college quarterback might wink at him this year now that Willie Nelson is singing gay cowboy songs.

We are back on the Swell this week doing spring-cleaning. I'm cleaning my old ought-six and Sundance is cleaning his .44 Magnum.

We might ride down to box flat and visit with Matt Warner tomorrow. Everybody thinks he's dead too, but he's just like us. He's 126 years old and still going strong.

All of us old outlaws have found the secret to living forever. When the devil comes to take us home, we hurry and fill out an application to ride with the ghost riders in the sky. Since Johnny Cash sang that song, there's been such a waiting list that the halls of hell are all backed up with hopeful applicants. Me and Sundance aren't even scheduled for an interview until sometime in the spring of 2039.

Well, I had better close for now. There are a couple of mountain bikers coming and I've got to put on my Sierra Club disguise again.

Write back and tell us about your adventures.

Your friend, Butch Cassidy.

P.S. You said that Sundance still owes you five dollars, but he says that he paid you back that time he stole a box of doughnuts during that bank job in Elmo. It's true that he didn't pay five bucks to buy them, but they were worth five dollars, and he says that you ate most of them or fed them to your stupid horse, old Spudnut.


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