By Ralphine Major
It was the first year I started writing for The Focus when Hollywood cowboy stars James Drury and Robert Fuller moseyed into Morristown for the Western Legends Festival. I had committed to the Morristown Chamber of Commerce to write about the festival when they arranged for the cowboys to call me in a series of phone interviews. Drury called first. As we talked, I could almost see him riding Joe, his beautiful white horse. For more than half an hour, I listened to “The Virginian” tell about his years on the prime-time program. Drury told me he was heading to Colorado for a festival after our conversation. Focus readers may recall that in the summer of 2011, our region was hit hard by storms. We were without power four days and three nights. Because of the cowboy legends coming to East Tennessee, I had three articles due that week in a series about the cowboy heroes. I wrote by lantern light at night and went to the library to use the computer during the day.
At the festival, we visited with Drury and had our picture made with him. My brother, Wayne, whose idea it was to contact James Drury initially, got to hold the revolver he used on the show. Wayne got an autographed picture of Drury and Joe, as he has always thought cowboys and their horses are a team. Years later, Drury was kind enough to let us put “The Virginian” link on our Major Books of Joy website for our children’s picture books.
James Drury died April 6, 2020, at 85 years old. Though his passing leaves one less cowboy hero in our midst, his action-packed adventures can still be enjoyed on cable television today. It was truly an honor to meet the soft-spoken Drury, and that picture made at the festival has become a treasured keepsake. It brings back memories of a special day and a special cowboy that rode into our hearts and homes so many years ago.
Words of Faith: Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you . . . James 4:8 (KJV)