When Augustus came out on the porch the blue pigs were eating a rattlesnake - not a very big one.
That's the first line to possibly one of the best books ever written - Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry. This past Friday evening, my girlfriend asked if I wanted one of my Father's Day gifts early. Never look a giftgirl in the mouth, 'specially if she's offering something early. She pulled a DVD from a hiding place - Lonesome Dove. "Now this," I said to myself, " is a thoughtful woman."
The television mini-series came out back in my college days. My brother and I watched it the first go'round with my dad. So, as things sometimes do, even hearing the first few bars of the soundtrack conjures up images of my dad. I believe my girlfriend knows this; it was one of the reasons behind her gift. I watched it several other times in the following years, as we had recorded it via something known as VHS. Then early in our marriage, my girlfriend and I took a weekend and watched all six or so hours; it was her introduction to phrases and images she'd heard the Blase men refer to for years. And in that weekend, she too was smitten.
If you don't like stories about cowboys and Indians and horses and rough language and saloon girls and whiskey boats, then you won't like this at all. But if you like stories about dreams and love and courage and tenderness and friendship and redemption and mercy and justice, then I highly recommend it; the book or the film. The cast of characters includes Robert Duvall, Tommy Lee Jones, Rick Schroeder, Robert Urich, Angelica Huston, Danny Glover, and Diane Lane. I didn't quite finish watching it this weekend, but I came real close. I laughed at the banter between Gus and Call and was reminded of the beauty of male friendship that has nothing to do with brokeback mountains. I cried when they pulled out of Lonesome Dove for Montana (a cattleman's paradise) and was reassured that life's a journey. I flinched at the water moccasin scene where the young Irishman drowns and grieved when Jake Spoon spurred his horse and hung himself; danger and death are ever present. I grew restless at the sight of ole' Blue Duck, that half-breed and wished there didn't have to be a bad guy. But there does. I grinned at the sight of Lorena (Lori darlin') and witnessed the power and fragile nature of that known as "woman." I wished young Newt could find out who is true father is and felt the longing, always the longing for the father's words. I cheered when Call came to Newt's rescue as a good father does and realized actions do speak at least as loud as words. I was moved when Gus and Claire embraced after years apart and was reminded that regardless of the outcome, it's worth it to take risks, hope on dreams, try one more time, take the herd north.
Call walked over and stood where the saloon had been. There was nothing left but pale ashes and a few charred boards. "When she left, Wanz couldn't stand it," Dillard said. "He sat in her room a month and then he burnt it." "Who?" Call asked, looking at the ashes. "The woman," Dillard whispered. "The woman. They say he missed that whore."