The other day I was wearing one of my favorite T-shirts.
It reads: “Get off your High Horse.”
Of course, who else but John Wayne would befit such an image.
I even got some kudos from folks older than me. We were in an elevator, and I was a tad uncomfortable at being the subject of so much attention.
I was probably blushing when a grandmotherly type poked me (as well as Duke) while admiring my fashion statement.
She pointed out to Mr. Grandfatherly-type: “Look honey, you love John Wayne.”
Gramps, who had probably had a full afternoon of being violated by a bevy of doctors, just wanted to go home and take a nap.
I wish I had more John Wayne T-shirts. They’d serve me well accompanying my Eagles and Notre Dame wear.
And don’t even think of changing channels if “Big Jake” is available. Especially when he lets Richard Boone have it. Oops! I hope that wasn’t a spoiler.
Since the cat has been let out of a very old bag, there are a few exchanges where the Duke is, well, the Duke.
Righting a wrong and just before he sends Richard Boone to a dirt nap, Wayne is asked: “Just who are you?
“Jacob McCandles,” he answers.
I thought you was dead (notice the improper English),” he is told.
In that gravelly, inimitable John Wayne voice, he says: “Not hardly.”
I’ve been getting a little Big Jake thrown my way lately.
No, I haven’t shot anyone. Oh wait, I misspoke. Thanks to a neighbor, I have been spraying Joro spiders at a frenetic pace.
They are creepy and plentiful and give me nightmares. I am positively giddy as I prowl about the yard, taking out those eight-legged bastids. It makes for a gleeful activity to temper trips to the doctor.
I guess folks my age go to the doctor until you don’t have to go anymore.
Then… Well let’s just leave that one alone.
Thanks to the thousands, no hundreds, no dozens, well to the two of you who wondered if Lefty won and I became infirm.
For those of you new to the game, Lefty was my left kidney that got sliced and diced last January.
Lefty was riddled with cancer. I wish I could have fed it to one of those Joros.
I’ve been asked quite a few times during my self-imposed hiatus: “Are you still ‘a-writin’ them articles for the paper?”
I channeled The Duke and replied every time: “Not lately.”
I knew it was time to give my Mac a workout when I overheard someone say: “He probably got run off.”
No, I didn’t get fired, sacked, canned or anything of the sort.
Going through that surgery, while traumatic to my body, sort of left me with a case of apathy and indifference.
I just didn’t feel like writing. But now I do. Truth be told, I missed you and I hoped you missed me.
I missed your emails. It was a warm tingly feeling when you told me that something I created and shared touched your heart.
I relished your anger and criticism, comfortable that we would never agree all the time and that we could both make sense.
And there is so much to write about.
I promise to give you my best, but I’m going to ask for something in return.
I can hear a cynic say: “Uh-oh. Here’s where he turns into a TV preacher and asks for $10 bucks.”
No, my request is much simpler.
My 59-year-old baby brother, Marty, has been debilitated by several strokes. He’s been in an Oklahoma hospital for over a month.
We used to have 10 conversations (at least) every week. We would laugh ourselves silly replaying escapades from days past.
Sadly, that well, for now, has gone dry.
Oh, what I wouldn’t give for one more dance with him.
Mike Tasos can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.