August 2, 2010

A Rambling Post Regarding Cowboys and Relatives Long Gone

I watched John Wayne in The Cowboys yesterday. It is one of my all-time favorite westerns. I have liked westerns for years. In 1976 I was at my Grandma and Grandpa's house. I visited them almost every day. There was a paperback book lying on the footstool by Grandpa's chair.  I picked it up and started reading it.  Grandpa urged me to take it with me. I am sure he had not finished it, maybe he had not even started.  I don't know, but like any other self-absorbed 14 year old I took it with me. The book was Tucker by Louis L'Amour. I was hooked. Over the next several years I read every book written by L'Amour and most of his short stories.

A few weeks after Grandpa gave me that book I dreamed he died. I went over to visit the next morning.  Grandpa was watching a movie on TV. I was relived he was fine. I did not mention my dream (and would not tell anyone about it for years). He wanted me to sit and watch it with him.  I was a busy teenager and had better things to do. Grandpa died in his sleep that afternoon.

The character played by the Duke in The Cowboys always reminds me of my Grandpa for some reason. I am not sure why.  John Wayne was a big man, Grandpa was about 5'2".  Grandpa did not work on a ranch or a farm, he managed a lumberyard. Somehow, in my mind, there has always been a connection.

I still have that copy of Tucker. It is dog-eared and worn. I expect the glue to separate from the spine the next time I read it. Every few years I ride with Shell Tucker as he tracks down the guys that stole money from his family and becomes a man in the process. In the beginning Shell Tucker is an impetuous teenager that cares only about himself. In the end he learns responsibility and maturity. Maybe Grandpa knew what he was doing when he gave his 14 year old grandson that book.

11 comments:

Jean said...

I also have memories that make me cringe.

Anonymous said...

I grew up on Zane Grey, my dads favorite.












James Old Guy

Ed Bonderenka said...

I know how you feel. I was in grade school, staring out the window, when I had the thought, "What if grandpa died right now?". Not a random thought. I didn't know at the time, he was on the side of the road trying to get his nitro out of his pocket. He didn't.

Galt-in-Da-Box said...

My bittersweet memories all revolve around a silver chain my mom bought for me that I gave to my first love on vacation in Minnesota, that made it back to me 25 years later around the neck of my son...And was the clinching proof that he was.

dragonlady474 said...

Hey HB, it's been a while and I was wondering if I could enlist your help. In the local (very Southern) paper where I live, the old North/South thing reared it's ugly head (I'm not kidding, it's still an issue down here) and being a transplanted Hoosier/Northerner, I took offense. Now I have all these people talking crap and I was wondering if you wanted to register for the site and aid me in defense of all things Northern. LOL
http://troymessenger.com/news/2010/jul/30/frankly-speaking-southern-comfort/

dragonlady474 said...

BTW, if you swear, your post will be deleted...just a heads up.

Anonymous said...

DL 474,

I'll go help those poor Southerns against those heartless Yankee bastards.


Thanks for the link!

Dick

Anonymous said...

Wow...
Just opened the page.

Some crazy person named "DragonLady" lit the whole damn place up like she was on a freakin' mission or something.

Dick

dragonlady474 said...

LOL Dick. :)

Anonymous said...

所有的資產,在不被諒解時,都成了負債.................................................................

Ralphd00d said...

A touching post HB. I, too, am an afficionado of John Wayne westerns. That truly is one of his better ones. Thankfully, today I can say my grandfather is still with us, though he may be pushing 84, I hate to hear that day when I know I will have to make the trip back for the funeral.

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