"James Butler Hickok was called 'Wild Bill' by many, but to us, he was simply Jimmy. He was a tall, handsome, magnificently built and powerful man. He was a plainsman in every sense of the word, unlike any other of his class. In person, he stood about six feet and one inch height, and was straight as the straightest of warriors whose implacable foe, he was.
He had broad shoulders, well-formed chest and limbs, and a face strikingly handsome, sharp clear gray eyes, which stared you straight in the face when in conversation, a fine shaped nose, well turned mouth with lips only partially concealed by his mustache.
His dark hair was long and straight, and fell carelessly over his powerfully formed shoulders. Add to this figure a costume blending the immaculate neatness of the dandy with the extravagant taste and style of the frontiersman, and you have only the exterior of Jimmy Hickok.
Those of us who were fortunate to call him a friend, brother, son, father, lover, confidant, and uncle knew him to be so much more. He was the fiercest believer in treating folks without prejudice and respect. Our Jimmy was a loyal, honorable, headstrong, proud, sensitive, courageous, caring, and understanding man. He never let a friend or loved one down if they were in need of his assistance and throughout his life he did many things that went unnoticed by the many, but weren't forgotten by the folks who knew him best."

Cody finished reading the letter that he had written to the editor of the Abilene, Kansas newspaper to the gathered PX family members who were gathered in the Hickok's living room. His eyes traveled onto Amanda, Jimmy's widow's face, and saw that her red-rimmed eyes were cloudy with fresh tears.

"Thank you, Cody." She choked out.

Cody nodded, his own throat closed against the lump in it. His eyes traveled over the other faces in the room and settled last on Louise Kidrickson's face. Except for the instantaneous tears of grief, she would shed when he and Kid had given her the news that Jimmy had been killed, Lou had remained stoic. No, that was not quite right. There was intensity in her brown eyes that he had not seen before and that worried him.

By the troubled glances Kid kept giving his wife, Cody knew his PX brother was just as concerned as he was over Lou's eerily calm demeanor. Next to Kid, Lou had loved Jimmy the best out of all of them, and it was clear to Cody that Hickok's death could be Lou's undoing.

As he continued to gaze at her, the intensity in Lou's eyes softened for a moment, and he found himself hoping that she would just let out all the emotion she was keeping up bottled inside, and have a good cry.

"Jimmy would appreciate you setting things straight about him."

Her words were softly spoken, and devoid of any emotion, and it was all he could do to keep from shaking her to get some sort of stronger reaction from her. He nodded at her words, before his gaze flickered onto Kid's face. Their eyes locked and he knew that Kid was even more worried about Lou than he was. Eventually Lou was going to have a melt down and he hoped Kid was going to be able to do whatever needed doing to pick up the pieces of his wife's shattered heart again.

It was on the tip of Cody's tongue to tell Lou that Jimmy would be upset to know she was taking his death so hard, but he did not voice the words. He was not so sure they would help Lou or cause her more pain, and he could not live with being the cause of more pain to her.

After all, his own emotions were still open and raw, as well. His and Jimmy's relationship had deepened over the years since the PX had ended. Losing another brother had made him all too aware of how time was marching on and if they were not all careful, life would be over before they knew it.

"Let us make a pact here and now to stay in better contact with each other, to live closer to one another, and visit each other's families more often." He said aloud to the others. "None of us know how much longer we have before its time to go to the Great Beyond. Jimmy, Ike, and Noah will wait for us to join them where they are. Let's spend whatever time we all have here and now, and make it count."

"Well done, Son." Teaspoon's gravelly voice was the first to fill the silence after Cody finished speaking, "To strengthening the ties that have bound us together from the beginning of the express."

"To family," chorused the rest of group, including Cody.

Author's Note: The first two paragraphs of the letter detailing the description of Jimmy by Cody was taken from the book 'The Life of Buffalo Bill by William F. Cody'.

Email Wendy

HOME