Meeting Max Evans

9 Jun

Recently, I returned from our annual field trip to New Mexico, and, as always, it brought some great experiences and memories. We operate on a strict schedule, but something unexpected always happens. One year, we met the tribal judge of the Nambe Pueblo at IHOP, and she invited us to visit her courtroom. Another year, we stumbled into a Mother’s Day celebration at the San Ildephonso Pueblo and were invited to stick around.

A couple of trips ago, I bought a statue of Billy the Kid at the Shidoni Gallery. It turned out to be the last one, which meant the artist had to approve the sale. The next year, we were exploring Ghost Ranch and started talking some people. As it turns out, one of them was the artist who made my sculpture, and he was very interested to meet the person who had bought the last one.

This year, we arrived in Santa Fe on Friday and headed to the plaza to take advantage of free admission to the museums. The New Mexico History Museum is one of the best I have seen, and we wanted the students to go through it before we went on our daily tours. Usually, they walk around, and I hang around to answer questions. However, I wanted to do some of my own exploring. Upstairs, they had a special exhibit on cowboys, both real and imagined.

In the lobby, I saw an elderly couple, and the man was dressed to the hilt as a cowboy. I figured they were there for the exhibit and really thought that when I heard the woman say she was wondering if they would see anyone they knew.

A student and I went into the exhibit, and it was great. There were artifacts and photographs that offered a sense of what true cowboys did. As the exhibit continued, it ventured into the realm of the cowboy myth with tales of wild west shows, rodeos, dime novels and movies.

I looked at all of these things, but I also watched the elderly couple being escorted through the exhibit by a museum employee. That’s when I began to think that maybe this man was depicted in the exhibit or had donated some of the artifacts.

Toward the end of the display, there were movie posters and clips from some classic westerns. My eye was immediately drawn to Chisum, and I told the student that she had to watch that clip. Before she could pick up the headphones to listen, the museum employee spoke to us.

“I would like to introduce you to someone.”

He motioned to the elderly man in the cowboy hat.

“This is Max Evans. He wrote that.”

As the man said this, he pointed to the movie poster of The Hi-Lo Country. We were standing in the presence of a great western writer. Honestly, Mr. Evans didn’t seem interested in talking to us, as he began to mosey away. That’s alright because I was still happy to meet him.

A few minutes later, we found out that they were screening The Hi-Lo Country that night, and he was going to answer questions about his work. We went to the theater, and I took a very dark picture.

Max Evans is in the white hat.

Max Evans is in the white hat.

I wish we could have stayed around for the screening, but, as I said, we operate on a strict schedule. I have never seen The Hi-Lo Country, but I will now.

2 Responses to “Meeting Max Evans”

  1. leslinalicia June 10, 2013 at 17:57 #

    Excuse me, but I am no longer a student!

    • Rick June 10, 2013 at 18:05 #

      I wasn’t sure how to descibe you. I didn’t think “former student who was following us on her way to San Diego” sounded right.

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