From over the transom:
Two Sundays in a row, I figure that I truly ought to have been in Church, being a sinner and needing all the Redemption I can get. Every minute in those classes (AR basic & IPC) was time well spent, however.
In lieu of the inspirations we’d have likely gotten were we instead in the Lord’s House, I came upon this passage early Sunday that I considered appropriate to the occasion. I pitched Sam the idea of a brief diversion, but he said “Negatory, Ghost Rider, the pattern is full.”
Perhaps after reading this (and the rest of the original), he’ll be otherwise inclined next time around.
“You effect the growing of the corn, but everything you effect, everything you do, has its effect upon you. The growing of the corn, and Mother Earth, have more effect on you, so that you are Pablo- a part of Her birthing and Her growing and Her fruiting. Her gentleness, Her everlasting life and living. You will live forever, Pablo. Be glad you no comprendes the storms that move across the currents above Mother Earth; for the storms come con fiero, with ferocity grande, but die quickly. They too are a necesidad, but they do not live long. So it is with Josey Wales.”
“And you?” Pablo whispered after a long time. “What are you, Chato?”
The vaquero laughed softly. “Me? I am the tumbleweed that rolls with the wind. And, niño?”
“If you do not sleep, and fall asleep tomorrow in the saddle when you are needed, Josey will shoot you. When I can see and count the spines on yonder cactus, we will ride.”
Pablo crawled back to his saddle. He lay for a long time watching the stars that winked between the scudding clouds. For the first time in his life, he was glad he was Pablo. The words of the vaquero stirred something backward through time, before his people had been yoked by the Spanish. He felt Indian.
Against his back Mother Earth felt alive. Her rains were holier than the water flicked upon him from the pot of the Spanish priest. Vaguely, drifting into sleep, he wondered if the vaquero was a pagan priest from long ago. He slept deep, and was not troubled.
Here endeth the reading.
That’s a passage from chapter 6 of Forrest Carter’s “The Vengeance Trail of Josey Wales, sequel to “Gone To Texas” (upon which the movie “The Outlaw Josey Wales” is tightly based). Pablo Gonzalez is a peon, a person of no importance, who has but one arm; the other was hacked off so that he could continue as a farmer but such that he would not make a good soldier nor martyr. He had witnessed the Rurales’ brutality in Santo Rio and was invited to ride with Josey and Chato on the trail of vengeance, and to hopefully rescue Ten Spot, who’d been abducted. Rose, Kelly, and Melina were all dead.
Chato is the vaquero, and can ride and tend cattle as well as he can fight and kill. He lives by the same code as Josey and is considered by Josey (and Laura Lee, Granma, Lone Watie, and Little Midnight) as their “kinfolk”.
Josey is the man whose word carries the iron of life and death, iron that no signed paper can carry. In the comments of the WRSA blog, recently, there was some brief discussion regarding the movie dialog, and I made it a point to look up the author and the book. I wanted to see how much of that dialog (and story) came from the original.
Rough calculation: about 98%.
Some internet references tried to paint Carter dismissively as simply a racist, so I guessed that perhaps that squirrel(!) was intended to dog-whistle patriots away from the story (which turned out to be, thankfully, stories plural). And the writing turned out to be very non-racist, and extremely reflective of our current storms coming con fiero, with ferocity grande.
The Confederacy and the despicable Union. The political shenanigans cloaked in benevolence. War. The guerrilla. The Comanche. The Apache. And the Cherokee. The displaced and swindled and the scorched earth. The Mexicans and the Spanish and the Indians. Great and honorable men engulfed and slaughtered by the wicked. Treaties and laws chiefed by the double-tongue. This is a story of who we are, and what we face. Just as then and very soon again, the concept of kin will be redefined, and refined.
I am Pablo, and I am Chato, and I am Josey Wales, alone, a guerilla fighter.
You may be, too.
I highly recommend everyone prioritize this two-book set to the top of their reading lists.
As great as the movie is, the book is greater still.
You would not make peace with the blue-coats.
Get some rest, and don’t fall asleep in the saddle.