Since Dick Elder published Which Way is West in 2002, people have encouraged him to write a sequel about Colorado Trails Ranch, the dude ranch he built and ran for close to forty years. Although readers wanted to know what happened in the decades that followed 1970 when Which Way is West ended, he didn’t think it would be all that interesting.
After a ten year wait, at long last – It Sure Beats Working.
Elder met some incredible people at Colorado Trails. In this context, the word, “incredible” has a plethora of meanings and connotations. The personalities of the guests and staff ran the entire array of social and physiological behavior. The short stories in Part 1 illustrate and expose the humor and diversity that filled his life for forty years.
Part 2 is comprised of stories about some of the more “off the wall” funny, strange and interesting things that happened while he was working on movie sets. For the first movie in 1971, he trained one of the lead actors to ride. Thereafter, he worked as the Humane Officer for the American Humane Association Film Unit, the leading authority on the safe use of animals in film.
Elder has been writing poems since his high school days/ The poems you are about to read came about as his way of expressing congratulations for a birthday, anniversary, or to thank someone for a meal. Others came about as a need to get something, “off his chest” or for Cowboy Poetry gatherings. Most of these poems are reflections of an occasion and thus grounded in fact and not fantasy.
You can skip the poems in Part 3 if you like or skip the stories and just read the poems. It’s up to you but maybe, just maybe, you’ll enjoy reading it all.
Comments from readers of It Sure Beats Working by Dick Elder
A great book. I totally loved it. I also enjoyed the poetry. Thank you for sharing your wonderful memories.
I just finished reading “It sure beats working”. I really enjoy your conversational writing style and the stories made me laugh out loud.
Many of the short stories were funny while others were real-life tales that show the many faces of the people who came to your ranch. I found the ‘Working in the Movies’ section to be both interesting, enlightening and funny. Who knew? The one about Billy Crystal was great! Thanks for a super-good read.