Did you know that Wyatt Earp was buried in a Jewish cemetery?
Just hearing his name threw me back to my childhood in Jackson Heights, New York City, sprawled on the floor in front of a black-and-white television, watching Westerns with my big brother Joey, dressed up in his special shirt with braided trim and snazzy snap buttons and black cowboy hat and shiny gun in a faux leather holster slung around his hips. Joey and I tuned in and pretended to walk the streets of Tombstone every week, together with millions of Americans, young and old.
Joey was my hero, and Marshal Earp was his. Brave, courageous, bold . . . and Jewish?
That’s how it all started, just an innocent question from a friend who thought (correctly) that I would be intrigued by the incongruities between anything Jewish and anything Tombstone-ish.