Saturday, December 17, 2016

RIP L. J. "Boots" Hinton-- Without you.. Bonnie & Clyde History Will Never Be The Same.

For those interested in the true story.. more than 10 years ago now, Alan Olson Curator of The Dallas Historical Society Museum, introduced me to the cantankerous, yet charming and "oh so" street-smart Bonnie & Clyde legend-- L. J. "Boots" Hinton.  I had gone to Alan 1st.. concerning my quest to authenticate the dual signatures of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow I had taken a gamble on.. a gamble which would ultimately pay off.

Without even seeing the signatures, Alan asked me to describe the Bonnie signature.  When I did.. Alan said "I know who can help you".. and referred me to "Boots".  You see.. unbeknownst to me.. Alan had recently viewed an authentic Bonnie signature with family provenance.. which at that point as far as authenticated Bonnie signatures go, was perhaps one of a kind.

Bonnie's signature has some rather unusual elements to it.. which matched my description. Anyway, long story short-- that began what became a close relationship between "Boots" and I.. for he not only helped me with my signatures-- but over time, became a friend as well.  We talked often.. early on, multiple times a day, and later, multiple times a week, and that year I attended the festival in Gibsland and met "Boots".

From that point on, just as with many friendships he shared with others-- "Boots" and I would often share sensitive aspects of our lives.. our joys and frustrations-- and as a more senior and worldly man-- "Boots" would often give me advice.. and usually, good advice it was.

Many don't know-- "Boots" battled cancer a number of times.. and was sensitive about others knowing all the straight and skinny concerning such personal matters.  "Boots" could always count on me to keeps his secrets, whether regarding his health.. the doings in Gibsland for which he played such a large role, both for the town and festival-- and which sometimes rivaled "Peyton Place" in their scope and quirky nature.. his not always terrific relationships with others (business and personal)-- which "Boots" always seemed to find the right balance for.. or his contingency plans (he had many).. for keeping The Bonnie & Clyde Ambush Museum going, come hell, high water.. unscrupulous doings.. shady characters, leaky roofs.. or whatever may stand in the way of his father's dream-- which he always kept paramount within his mind.

I'll miss "Boots"-- and am so sorry towards the end.. some with seemingly selfish goals, were able to influence a wonderful 'ol guy in ways they never should have attempted.  But you see.. Bonnie & Clyde History is fraught with "characters"-- and with some quite devoid of character.  So when I say "Boots" protected his father's dream "come hell, high water" or anything else-- that's just what I mean. And seems he did, or thought he did until the end.. which I hope along with his happiness, is all that matters.

"Boots" would always say.. "The good Lord doesn't want me yet". Well-- seems this time he did.

One thing's for sure.. the Lord surely has a good man by his side now.  Rest In Peace "Boots".  I'll always love you.