Things started a little later on Saturday than they did on Friday. I slept late (or what passes for late for me), showered, went into Cross Plains, and joined some folks for breakfast. After some good conversation, I toodled over to the pavilion and hung out there for a while.
The first panel (all panels where held in the library) was another great discussion. Entitled “A Means to Freedom”, Rusty Burke led the conversation about the correspondence between Lovecraft and Howard. The general consensus was that it was a good thing the internet wasn’t around in those days, or the two men would never have gotten any fiction written.
I grabbed some Mexican food with Dave Hardy and Scott and Sandy Cupp. The chile rellenos were hand-made and some of the best I’ve had in a long, long time. The salsa had some heat to it. This is definitely a place you want to eat when you’re in Cross Plains.
I was going to swing by the Barbarian Festival and check out the classic cars. The parking looked to be a mess, so I went back to the library to hang out until the first panel of the afternoon. Boy, am I glad I did.
Patrice Louinet had contacted some descendents of the Butlers. They were the neighbors who lived in the house next door to the Howards. The house was destroyed in a tornado some years ago, and the pavilion stands on that location now. The folks Patrice had contacted were there waiting for him and presented him with some photos of Howard and their ancestors, including a previously unknown photo of the Butler house and the Howard house.
Oh, and there were two new pictures of Robert E. Howard. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Patrice at a loss for words before.
The first panel of the afternoon was on Howard and Conan in gaming. I was at the back of the room watching Rob Roehm and his father Bob scan the photos into Rob’s computer.
But the big event was the final panel. Traditionally, this is the what’s new in Howard studies panel. This year, it was canceled in favor of Patrice interviewing two grandsons of Robert E. Howard’s first cousin. Brad and Jeff Howard, along with Brad’s daughter Amanda. They brought with them a few items that had been in storage. One was a copy of the Jenkins edition of A Gent From Bear Creek, which was published in 1937. This is the 13th copy known to exist. (Patrice said there was a prior 13th copy that had been destroyed, but I didn’t catch the details.) The other item of interest was the Howard family Bible. You can see the record of Robert’s birth in the accompanying photo below. Click on the photos to enlarge them.
The Howards seemed a little shocked at all the attention, but they had a good time and said they would be back next year. In the meantime, they were going to see what else was in storage. I’m looking forward to it.
Saturday normally ends with a barbeque at Caddo Peak Ranch. This year the barbeque was held at the pavilion. It seems
a group of Set cultists had made an incursion all the recent rain had stirred up the snakes, several varieties of which were poisonous. I thought we should go and run them off. After all, it’s what Conan would do.
Anyway the food was excellent as usual, as was the company. I stayed until after midnight talking and hanging out with friends before I went back to the farm and to bed. The next morning I loaded the car and headed home, sad that another Howard Days had come to an end.