It was an old stump where he’d sit, whittle, whistle, sing and spit, cross his legs then lean down long to scratch the head of his old hound dog,

Bib overalls, his hair black, slicked back, he’d near tumble over when a joke he’d crack.

Lines on his face told his stories in life, a likable fellow with a barrow knife.

Folks knew his name and called him by Jep,

Seems he’d grown up near the railroad tracks.

A legend of sorts he’d hunted roadmen and had a mean look under his toothless grin,

A Colt on his left side he’d clean with a rag and reminisce of times when he wore a deputy’s badge.

Said he’d been there when Clyde Barrow was killed,

And Parker was pretty in that car laying still.

Told us he’d been shot in an ambush one night,

But the boys he’d been hunting went down in the fight,

They’d robbed a bank in Cape Gerado he thought,

They weren’t very old,

Maybe 19 was all.

Then he’d grin and lean back, a wooden match in parched lips,

And asked if anybody just might have a swig.

Said he was thirsty from sitting under that tree,

That he liked Bourbon whiskey couldn’t stand sweet tea.

Then go on telling stories about gangsters in his past,

And day’s when he rode with Eliot Ness.

Then around come sundown he’d light up a stick, grab his old hound,

And head down the dirt road to the dark side of town.

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An artist/writer as well as graduate of the University of South Carolina with degrees in journalism/20th Century American Literature, and retired senior executive of several international hotel/resort corporations, Johnny is the product of the south having been raised in the ever-changing transient lifestyle of a Carolina coastal resort. A point where he discovered, within his 300-year-old heritage and the world's dramatic social/cultural shifts during the late '60s to early 80’s an ambitious hunger and overwhelming curiosity to touch, see and become a participant in the virtually unlimited possibilities offered to those who wish for and seek life experiences. A journey which when hearing its details initially makes one a bit skeptical, questioning its validity as it is hard to imagine that incidents such as these may have crossed one man’s lifetime. This is the fodder required to step into zones exposing one's personal inner self, which many of his paintings and the words he writes do, openly. An ability to see and hear the tragic, beautiful, accomplished, exciting journey in a life free of inhibitions allowing others the opportunity to live vicariously and become, through his works, a part of its future. His larger works which have been featured in several Colorado and Fredericksburg Texas galleries and resorts have produced a number of collectors and fans. However, over the years, his paintings are mostly viewed by friends, enthusiastic new artist encountered on the streets or a small number of acquaintances he meets when dining in local cafés with his wife.
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I truly do love a gunslinger. What a great story. The soundtrack with Johnny Cash singing big Iron on his hip. This is some serious storytelling strong lnk with a touch of gunslinger. Your brother in Ink. Larry

Len Bernat

Johnny – Wonderfully written – I would love to hang out with your character and listen to the stories. Thanks for sharing.