Young Guns is, by my estimation, one of the most reputable sources possible on both
New Mexico and Billy the Kid. The film closes describing the death of Billy, and ends thusly-
“He was buried with Charley Bowdre at Old Fort Sumner. Advices report that sometime later, an unidentified person snuck into the graveyard and chiseled an inscription. The epitaph read only one word… ‘Pals’.”
Today marks the third anniversary of the passing of a friend of mine. Forgive me, please, if this is an incoherent bit of a ramble, but I’ll do my best-
I don’t think friendship, or, to say, your friendly duties end with death. You owe your friend a fair piece more. I think that you’ve got to check in on his family, and remind them that he lives on in the hearts and minds of the people he chose to call his friends. That you think of him, that occasionally a fit of wist-futility grabs a hold of you and you can’t help but be wonder about what might have been.
I think it is both obligation and a last gift from an old friend. For me, I’ve certainly become closer with two most amazing men who, had the cards not fallen the way they have, I still would have known, but in all likelihood, we would have remained on the peripheries of each others lives. Occasionally though, when a drink or three too many has taken its hazy hold, and gentlemen are wont to philosophize, it slips out with mutual certainty how quickly we’d trade these three years past of hard and true friendship for one more minute of life for their brother.
Virtually all radio astronomers dropped whatever they were doing and aimed telescopes at Alpha Centauri, although there were a few who were working on the origin of the universe and did not care greatly about planets, inhabited or otherwise.
-Mary Doria Russell
I can’t exactly explain why that makes me think of Joe, but it does, and though it doesn’t fit there, there it will stay.
And so today I’ll text some guys from the old days, and they’ll text me and we’ll have a laugh and a drink and maybe get a bit misty-eyed and talk about long summer days when we would all live forever as long as the night never came and the cooler still had beer, and of midnight hellraising and high school hi jinx played out in dorm room hallways and our buddy’s strange golf swing that out-drove the rest of us. And maybe some day, in the bottom of a beer bottle, we’ll find some quiet solace for ourselves in the riddle of life and its bullshit, unjust, and non-nonsensical way of shattering lives and changing the paths we take.
I’ll tell people about my old friend. The good he did and how good he was. And there, my tiny piece, my insignificant fraction of him, will live on.