"A Handwritten Letter to Howard"


Mr. Lyman:

      Thank you.
      This letter is long overdue, and I hope it finds you in continuing good health.
      I have to much to thank you for, as I'm sure many others who have read and benefitted from your important book, Mad Cowboy, do as well.
      I've never before written to an author, but I've likewise never been so deeply change by anything I've read --- and I read a lot!
      I was your typical omnivore and would hever have believed that anything could turn me into a vegtarian. In my family it would have been more acceptable to become a communist or homosexual. I wasn't particularly unhealth, but had always struggled to avoid being overweight, and had to watch what I ate. But I had never considered changing what I ate. That is until I saw your book for the first time.
      I was dimly aware of "the guy that got Oprah sued," but I didn't even know that it was you when I first flipped through your book. I was strangely drawn to Mad Cowboy even though I had never even considered vegetarianism as a possibility for me.
      When I picked it up and read the first few pages I immediately intuited that if I continued reading I wouled have no other choice than to give up meat forever. So... I put it fown and left the book shop.
      But the spectre of your story continued to haunt me. On some level I knew I would return to the shop and pick it up again. So I spent a week saying goodbye to some old friends --- Taco Bell, Wendy's, Burger King, etc. I got my last tastes and then, I returned and bought the book that changed my life.
      I devoured your book in one sitting, (the healthiest thing I had ever ingested to that point), and the next day I was a vegan --- and no turning back. That was in 1998. Today I am healthier, happier and more compassionate than I thought would be possible for me.
      Since then I've read many other books on the vegetarian lifestyle --- most notably John Robbins' books --- but it was your story, your courage, and your insights that set me on the road of discovery that has led me to my present state of improved physical, mental, and spiritual health. And for that I am sincerely grateful to you. So again I say thank you for lifting the veil from my eyes and allowing me to see clearly.
      Yesterday I picked up and re-read Mad Cowboy for the third time and was pleased to remember that my copy was autographed by you. Knowing that you'd helt it in your hands and inscribed it to an anonymous future reader, makes it an even more valued treasure. An now that I'm no longer anonymous, I return the spirit and sentiment with which you inscribed my copy in hopes that "together we can change the world."

      With deepest gratitude, Sam Egge

(Sam lives in Lakewood, Ohio, and a copy of his handwritten letter is available for anyone doubbting the authenticity of the above. Contact the Mad Cowboy Webmaster via e-mail)