Recently I was reading a book, Everybody’s Normal Until You Get To Know Them, by John Ortberg.
The thread of the book is that everyone appears to the naked eye to be normal. But upon closer examination, and over time with contact and interaction, often it is otherwise. Everyone has their flaws and faults.
One of my favorite movies, taken from a book written by Larry McMurty, is “Lonesome Dove.” McMurty is one of my favorite writers. He hails from Archer City, Texas, population 1,774. On a couple occasions I visited that very small town. Another one of my favorite movies is also a McMurty product, “The Last Picture Show.” Much of that movie was filmed in his home town of Archer City. Once while there I visited the old high school football field, the county courthouse, and the local eatery. I do remember the eatery had a number of Ernest Tubb, Bob Wills, and Hank Williams songs on its jukebox. Well now that certainly speaks well of a community.
There are some great characters in the book and movie, “Lonesome Dove.” Early in the plot young Newt has a fixation with the character, Jake Spoon. Jake is one of those characters that up front has charm and a way with people. You like him, and he appears harmless; but as time moves on it becomes apparent that Jake is really an empty soul. Jake is the kind of guy that as time continues there appears more “dust” on him that was first present.
Jake, to quote a line from a Johnny Cash song, “falls in with bad companions,” some horse thieves, along with some questionable acts that are committed. Later he is captured and is called to accountability. When captured Jake said, “Oh, you don’t need to tie me up, I didn’t kill anybody. I just fell in with these boys so as to get through this territory.” Gus then said to Jake, “I wish you had taken that chance a little earlier. A man that will go along with five killings is takin’ his leave a little slow. You know how it works Jake; you ride with an outlaw, you die with an outlaw. I’m sorry you crossed the line.” Jake replies, “I didn’t see no line, I was just tryin’ to get through the territory without getting scalped.”
Gus later makes a classic observation regarding ol’ Jake,
“Jake has always been too leaky a vessel for anyone to put much hope in.”
But you know if the truth be said, probably all of us have been a “leaky vessel” a few times in our own lives.
January 11, 2014