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23:49:00, December 28th, 2007
 
 
John Henry Holliday, DDS
January: It could have been a song of loyalty or pride or faith, a song of violence or history, cards or guns. I know no songs of dentistry. But above all, my life has been friendship and the loss of that - that which I valued and cherished most torn from my eyes and fingers, or turned from as I myself departed for perdition.

February: For what does one wait, in the absence of hope? Death? Many have said that of me - that I was waiting to die. Nevertheless, that is not so. My life is as much to me as any man's is to him. I have given it up, for I could die any day. But that is with sorrow. I do not wait for it.

March: When do wants become selfish?

This is a question to which I have given a great deal of thought over the years.

Bat said of me, "He was selfish and of a perverse nature, characteristics not calculated to make a man popular on the frontier."

I have fingered this coin - this token - until its face has worn in my fingers, considering and contemplating, during sleepless nights. How could he say this of me? What is selfishness? There are and have been things I wanted very much indeed. So many things were taken from me, so many things were denied me.

April: Dear Col. Jackson,

I am a boy from Georgia, and I am very proud of our army and soldiers and of the Confederacy. My father is a major with the 27th Georgia Infantry under Col. Levi Smith - part of Colquitt's brigade with you in Virginia, and all my uncles and cousins volunteered in the very beginning.

May: I surely do have scars. I will admit it. I have also given such to others in my turn.
John examines his body, toes to scalp.

* There is a nasty scar on my right leg from a gun wielded by Henry Kahn in Dallas. I had caned him, as he richly deserved, and he shot me. It is from a serious wound, and my cousin George came out from Georgia to care for me.

June: Gabriel once asked me to tell him about the best day of my life - in the nineteenth century. I never answered him, for we then moved on to other matters. But I had always meant to relate an account of one of the large family barbecues that we used to hold out at my uncle's big house in Fayetteville. The war began when I was ten. This was before we were blighted by its events, when we were all young and happy; strong and handsome. Though, as always, I say it myself. It is not a memory of one party, but an amalgam of those perfect times.

July: I have belonged to three religions in my life. I was christened in the Presbyterian church in Griffin on March 21, 1852. My family attended that church until my mama passed away, but during the last time of her life, the Methodist minister was the one to whom she turned for comfort, as well as spiritual communion and advice.

August: Somehow John has woken up as a child. His body is solid and round, though still on the thin side. His lungs are clear, and he awakes without choking. "Hello. Good morning. How do you do?" He tests his voice, and it is higher and lighter. He remembers how to speak though, as he could not do coherently when he had really been six.

September: What makes a hero? What makes a villain?

If I were to play the cynic, I would say: Success.

But I am not quite so cynical as that, and it is not so simple.

There are men I love. These are my heroes, and I would claim that my judgements are valid. Heroism is only brought about by the refining fire of pain, loss and struggle. And these must be freely chosen.

October:
John steps out of the saloon into the cold crisp Colorado air. He is 'Doc' here, almost anonymous with the weight of his reputation. There is no one to call him 'John.' It is the twelfth of October but, still thinking of his lost Georgia, he dubs it midwinter. Although he has ostensibly risen from his poker table to take dinner, that is only an excuse.

November: Tombstone. If Ed Schieffelin did not find his grave as was predicted when he first prospected for the fabulous silver-strike, there were good men who did, and the town was aptly named.

It was a child's fistfuls of bare board and adobe buildings, along with a few more opulently appointed establishments. These had been tumbled onto the seemingly endless desert that indifferently featured mountains, washes and valleys, punctuated occasionally by vague landmarks and springs, some of which were alkali, and inhabited by rattlesnakes, and the odd itinerant or Apache.

December: Wyatt said I was afraid of nothing on earth. But that is not quite true. It is what is most obvious in a person that reveals their striving to improve, and their success. But that striving is a result of their fear.

Into what did I put all my heart and soul, all my effort? Loyalty. I am afraid of failing my friends – that emotion will impel me though I will nothing but the best.
affect: workingworking
 
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