Biographical Non-Fiction posted March 10, 2023 Chapters:  ...28 29 -30- 31... 

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Mountains To Conquer

A chapter in the book Novella - Unwanted Dog

Unwanted Dog-30

by Brett Matthew West

(Note For New Readers: My autobiography details the true story of how I was adopted by an unknown stranger I begged money from in a Walmart parking lot.)


Dusty accepted no excuses for me not to obtain an education or make the best grades I could. That was one game he never wavered on.

He told me, "While I missed some days of school because it was necessary to help my family with farm chores, especially around harvest season, that does not mean I will tolerate you doing the same thing."

I hemmed and hawed a moment.

Dusty seized the opportunity. "I know all about your lackadaisical, do not give a care, attitude you had at Hermitage Hall when it came to you attending school. You've told me all about those days. Henceforth, nothing but your very best efforts in your schoolwork are acceptable to me."

He was absolutely correct about my sentiments towards school, and dare I say life, where Hermitage Hall was concerned? However, an unbreakable law had been laid down and expectations clear. I not only studied the subjects normally learned in school, physical education and lunch became my favorites.

I immersed myself in several after school activities, Chess Club, baseball, and Cross Country track to name a few that occupied some of my time. In addition, I received a substantial indoctrination, and devout appreciation for music, particularly Country music, I carry with me today.

Strolling around Country Comfort one leisure-filled afternoon, Dusty said, "For your first daily project upon arriving home from school, I want you to change into some form of play clothes to make your school clothes last longer."

Like any typical boy, I tended to outgrow my wardrobes before I outwore them. After changing clothes, I completed any homework assignments.

Dusty offered, "I'll look your homework over when you tell me you have completed it and you can correct any errors I find."

I never minded working around Country Comfort, though that implied such labor as picking cotton by hand. At no time did I become proficient in the menial endeavor. Everyone else easily out-picked what I produced.

Hand-picking cotton from plants that averaged less than three feet high was laborious. To pick, you grasped the bolls at the base and twisted the exposed white, fluffy, lint out. The cotton plants were sticky and filthy to work with. Picking cotton required constant stooping and cuts from the sharp ends of the bolls never ceased. Worst of all, a field of cotton usually could not be reaped in one effort because the entire crop never seemed to be ready at the same time. I sure was happy when Dusty purchased spindle harvesters to perform the process.

Among the several lessons of life Dusty taught me was the value of hard work and to apply myself to whatever undertaking came my way.

He told me, "Your word is your bond. If you can not truthfully follow through with what you say, never put your name on a contract. It becomes meaningless."

I never forgot those sage words and tried to abide by his comments.

Outgoing, and able to converse with anyone, Dusty never met a stranger. He'd say, "They're only a person I have not met yet."

I often struggled with that statement. I suppose twelve years in Hermitage Hall would make anyone suspicious and leery upon first encounters. Though I think I have improved somewhat as years have passed by, I still tend to remain more on the quiet side until a person has proven their true colors to me.

Mostly because of his work, Dusty had many acquaintances and welcomed them to Country Comfort. Growing up, it seemed a steady stream of people passed through our front doors. Music was one of the hugest parts of our existence. Dusty, and these allotments of personalities, made a ton of music. Pleasant to the ears, I'd sit back, make myself comfy, and listen to the sounds they produced. I got to attend many performances.

Dusty gave me a Gibson six-string. Mandolin, harmonica, drums, fiddle, and piano tunes rained down on Country Comfort. Dusty's face lit up every time I attempted to play my guitar. I think I learned three chords, G, C, and D. Do I regret not learning how to play the guitar? Although I had much more than a qualified teacher at my disposal, I lacked the desire to learn and put the guitar down within six months. Did that disappoint Dusty? Yes, I am rather sure my act did. A pained expression on his face convinced me so. However, he allowed the situation to slide.

To this day the only thing I can play is the radio, which I keep on Willie's Roadhouse, Channel 59, on Sirius radio. The station is owned by the Red-Headed Stranger Willie Nelson. Can you believe his upcoming birthday will make him ninety years old? Strong as ever, he is still burning up the highways and making records.

Though I have authored several song lyrics, I remember having told Dusty, "Being a Country Music Performer's never appealed to me."

One such lyric I entitled No Such Thing As Angels. I considered this piece of music to be the apex of my writing career and probably always will. That covers all the stories and books I've penned, yes, my Cody Schroder ones included, as well as this autobiography. I've even had the brazen audacity to post some of my lyrics right here on FanStory.

Aside from the operation of Country Comfort, Dusty made his living as a lighting and sound engineer for several Artists.

Out of the blue, I informed him, "That's good enough for me. I have other mountains I want to conquer."


Sari, by avmurray, selected to complement this chapter of my autobiography.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

Artwork by avmurray at

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