I’m Augustus McCrae, Texas Ranger: I Called it First.

(Blogger’s Note: Currently in the midst of a six-part series on How to Write Copy that Kills, I’ve taken a break over the last few days to write about other opportunities that have popped up on the radar screen. I’ll return to the series tomorrow, but it’s just another good lesson that there are no rules when it comes to writing.)

On a recent weekend trip to Mountain View, Arkansas, we came across this sign, made famous in Lonesome Dove. I love this photo of Brady and me, taken by my wife, Dana.

When we were elementary school kids, we were children of the country and had to get imaginative when it came to having fun. Often during recess we’d pretend to be the favorite characters from the popular sitcoms of the day. I remember around 1977, one of our favorites was Happy Days.

My best friend then, and now, Brady Cornish, was drawn to the character of Arthur Fonzerelli. Brady went on to become a high school golf medalist, and on the course, he was The Fonz. To this day for many, he’s still The Fonz.

Fast forward 25 years.

When Larry McMurtry‘s best-selling novel, Lonesome Dove, was made into a 1989 made-for-television mini-series, it immediately became my favorite movie of all time. It’s still my favorite today.

And there’s a good reason.

Lonesome Dove was a brilliantly written book, and the mini-series lived up to McMurtry’s novel. It’s a story of adventure, love, life, death, justice, mercy, but most of all – friendship – between the two unlikeliest of men.

Robert Duvall portrays Texas Ranger Captain Augustus McCrae, a man full of life, rough, but tender-hearted. He lived life in the moment and to the fullest.

Tommy Lee Jones portrays Texas Ranger Captain Woodrow F. Call, a no-nonsense quiet man, visionary, loyal, focused and business-minded. Easy-going, yet not a man you want to cross.

The film is special to me, because it reminds me of the friendship I have with Brady. We are different, he and I, but there’s something that holds us together like glue, and the Gus-Woodrow friendship,  parallels the relationship we have.

Brady’s never seen Lonesome Dove.

After a time of separation, our friendship was re-kindled in January of this year at the death of my father. Other than my wife and mom, he was the one man I needed by my side to get through a difficult time. At the funeral, he sat next to me as my brother.

Shortly thereafter, I gave Brady a copy of Lonesome Dove. I wanted him to watch it and see if he recognized the friendship between Gus and Woodrow as being the same as ours.

He’s saving the six-hour video for a long snow day at home and that’s fine by me.

The scenes throughout remind me of us. There’s the one where Woodrow beats the living daylights out of a Union soldier who has just horsewhipped a young boy in an attempt to requisition his horse for the army. Woodrow wouldn’t stand for abuse and neither does Brady. The end of the scene has Gus pulling  Woodrow off the soldier just before he kills him, then Woodrow calmly says: “…never could stand rude behavior in a man. Won’t tolerate it.” That’s my friend.

Most fans would acknowledge the most moving scene in the movie at Gus’s death, where the two friends have their last conversation. Gus makes an unbelievable request of Woodrow to give him one final adventure. Even at his demise, Gus was thinking of his friend. It’s odd, I know, but I’ve imagined that conversation between Brady and me at the end of our days. Carrying out the request, Woodrow carries McCrae’s body 3,000 miles to bury him at the place of his desire. I know if I asked my friend, he would do the same for me. For many reasons, I tear up each and every time I view this video.

Truth is, either one of us could be Gus or Woodrow. But I’m Gus. I called it first!

It’s silly for a 46-year-old man to see himself in a movie. I guess it’s the kind of thing ole’ Gus would have done.

Uva Uvam Vivendo Varia Fit!

For a related post on my sidebar blog see: http://wp.me/p2wzTk-25


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