Wednesday, November 3, 2010


I mentioned back in these proverbial pages there were four books in my forty year history which had made my Four Greatest Books list. I could never rank them other than to say they stand alone, each being the greatest if I am talking about them or just remembering them.

It has been at least four years since I read Lonesome Dove, or maybe two or three. I don't know, but it kinda feels like it was forever ago. I miss them. I miss Gus and Call and Deet and Newt and Pea Eye and Lorena and Clara and yeah, I'll say Jake but he pissed me off several times. The thing is that McMurtry blew me away. He made me fall in love over and over again. Yet he spoiled me as well. I couldn't enjoy a book for a while after that one. It was as if any other writer was going to piss me off because I knew I wouldn't find Gus in their work. And I wanted to find Gus. I didn't want him to leave.

Yes, there are other books in the series. I could have delved into their past, went on another adventure with them but McMurtry had clearly pissed me off by taking Gus away. And when I attempted to watch the mini series I had to turn it off after two minutes 'cause those weren't the people I had loved in my head.

It almost sounds as if I am not recommending it. Hey, you! Read this book. It'll piss you off.

But I am. I am saying that there is a certain spirit in people, something so true and beautiful, that you must risk the tragedy of losing them in order to gain the knowledge of their existence if only in the pages of a book. And what if they rub off on you a bit? How bad would it be to pattern your integrity by that of Call or feel love and loyalty like that of Gus? To know the determination of Lorena and Clara? Possess a sense of duty equal to that found in Deet and Pea Eye?

I guess I could have done worse that summer for my vacation read, because it must be like Gus carved in the sign for the Hat Creek Cattle Company.

A grape is changed by living with other grapes.
Loosely translated Latin, I know.

Those characters were some pretty good grapes in my book.


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