Category Archives: James in the Arts

A Yankee Writer in the Bluegrass

I’m seven years in Kentucky now, researching and writing my history book, SOUL LIBERTY, soon to be published.

They still call me Yankee. They still say I’ll never fit in.

Never mind my family was here long before theirs, and still is. Never mind I know more about their families, than they know themselves.

I came to Kentucky to write about the South, and to learn what I didn’t know. They’ve given me a first class education. I’ve been conned. I’ve been thieved. I’ve been sued, and have sued. They didn’t win. I did. I’ve learned the mind of the South is delicate, fragile, & precious. You couldn’t learn that being anywhere else. It’s learned here.

There’s a lot for a Yankee to swallow in Kentucky. The biggest gulp is learning to say, “That’s nice.”

Christmas Rap from the Jesse James Family

Thurston James as Santa Claus, 2003

 Every year, for over a decade, Thurston James played Santa Claus to adoring infants and children who visited him at the Sherman Oaks Galleria in Sherman Oaks California. He retired in 2004, eight months before he passed away.

Though not offically a member of the Jesse James family, he was long regarded as such, and equally accepted by the family itself.

Thurston’s dedication to the history of Jesse James was evident in the years of service he devoted to publishing The James-Younger Gang Journal. Each year he attended the annual conferences of the James-Younger Gang. His gentle demeanor befriended everyone he met.

The year before he left us, Thurston recorded a small CD album of three songs for his grandchildren, in which he identified himself as a rapping Santa.

We offer these mp3 downloads here for you, your children, and grandchildren.

Christmas Rap

Rapping Nursury Rhymes

Ballad of Jesse James

. . . MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL.

 

Midway Museum Peeps

Directors cropped

Had dinner the other night with my peeps (board of directors) of the Midway Museum, in Woodford County, Kentucky.

We set our agenda for 2010, that includes a new web site I’m charged with building. Watch for an announcement here by the end of January. We’ve planned it to be a blockbuster. At least as good as Stray Leaves, and maybe better.

By way of introduction, L-R, are Ken Alexander. He’s a former broadcaster, with a specific interest in the Kentucky army in World War II, and Kentucky High School basketball, about which he’s writing a book.

Next are Bill & Leslie Penn, who own & operate the Midway Museum Store. Bill’s also a violinist, and plays for re-enactors of ballroom dances of the 18th century. Bill is completing writing The History of Midway, a book first being written by James Walter “Jim” Sames III when he died. Jim was a former founder of this group. Bill also put together a fine booklet about Midway, Ky., that will be available free & downloadbale on the web site. Leslie is our liason with local culture and interest groups. She also keeps the Museum’s books. So she paid for dinner.

Next is David Hume who has a farm in the Bluegrass and also owns an automotive shop devoted to French cars. I haven’t informed him yet, but David is cousin to the James. His 2nd great grandfather, Phillip Swigert, was known to our A. J. James. Both were mayors of Frankfort. Both were bankers. Swigert developed the Lousiville & Nashville (L&O) Railroad, so well used by Frank James.

Yours truly is in the rear.  

Jesse James’ Hidden Treasure – Chapter 5 Deconstructed

History Channel logo 150DOWNLOAD a deconstruction of Chapter Five, taken from the transcript of the History program Jesse James’ Hidden Treasure.

Just when you thought you couldn’t digest any more turkey after Thanksgiving dinner yesterday, we’re serving up another generous plateful of funny turkey with all the trimmings for dessert.  All courtesy of those whacky kooks – excuse me – cooks, Ron Pastore, Ralps Ganis, et al, from the the hell’s kitchen for history, formerly known as The History Channel. Just make sure you save room for three more big, goofy helpings.

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