Mount Chocorua

The other day, while perusing Facebook, this post from ‘Lucie’ caught my attention (and made me smile). It said:

After hiking Mount Chocorua 2 days in a row, I feel like I just had a week of Mr. Kelly and Miss Galligan’s suicides (basketball training exercises). I am trying to walk and look good but I don’t think it’s working. LOL

I’ve never met Kelly or Galligan, and I’ve never done a suicide drill, but I thought, yup, sounds about right.

Mount Chocorua, my old nemesis. I knew it well, back in my early 20’s. It’s a craggy, picturesque peak in Northern NH. Not too tall, only 3,500 feet or so, but popular due to its looks and location. And one other thing: it’s tough as nails to hike.

Mount-Chocorua

I didn’t know that at first.

I did mostly solo hikes back then, consulting my AMC Guide to choose them. My guide told me there were several trails to the summit, one of the easier ones starting at a restaurant parking lot. Sounded good.

On the day, the weather was promising. For most of the hike, I didn’t see the sun since I was enveloped in deep woods. The trail got progressively steeper as I went, giving my heart and lungs a workout. I vaguely realized that this was the easy stretch, but my mind was in denial about the last part, which would be 100% rock. But hey, I was a good scrambler.

I came to a steep section, still in earthy woods, when I stopped for a break. I noticed something odd: nearby, a young woman lay on the ground, seemingly asleep. I walked over to ask if she was okay.

Her eyes opened. “Yeah, I’m fine. I just needed a rest.” She told me her brief tale. Out with a friend, they decided to tackle Chocorua together. The friend was in good physical shape, she herself was not. She just decided to wait in this spot while her friend advanced to the top.

I got back on the trail. An hour later, panting heavily, I noticed fewer trees above me. Was I approaching the summit, the subject of a thousand paintings and photographs? Was it within reach? Was I there yet?

The cruelty of a humble trail sign told me I was not.

Summit .5 miles”

I had half a mile to go. I got my first good look at the stony trail. Yes, it was all rock and apparently straight up as well. The fire in my feet and legs told me this was more than I was used to. I’d never been on a football or basketball team. But I’d survived boot camp with its obstacle course and midnight grinders.

I would finish this hike.

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Somehow, my legs carried me slowly upward. It helped to catch glimpses of spectacular scenery, but I never stopped for long. Other people bounded past me like mountain goats, eager for the summit. I knew I had to keep going, even in my turtle-like fashion.

Finally, I was there. And here’s the odd thing; I have no memory of it. It must have been a great view, almost 360 degrees of mountains, trees and rivers. But on hikes that really challenge me, I often find a flat spot on the summit to lay down. Like the woman I met at the halfway point, I likely closed my eyes and sought to recharge my battery, and perhaps my soul.

I may have thought about the mountain’s namesake, Chief Chocorua, who lived nearby in the early 1700’s. Due to a misunderstanding with local settlers (the stories vary), he was accused of murder and chased up the mountain. Facing certain death by musket blast, he chose to leap from the summit instead. Ouch.

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Once I was feeling like a functioning human, I made the reverse journey. Hikers will tell you that the downhill part is often the hardest, especially on the feet and ankles. I can’t remember. The relief of not having to fight gravity must have blotted out any discomfort I felt.

At the parking lot, the restaurant beckoned. Many hikers dropped in for a hearty lunch after this adventure. But I lacked the energy for that. I poured myself into my car and drove home.

Years later, my son was a Boy Scout. His troop was planning to ascend Mount Chocorua, and parents were welcome. I had been to various events with the scouts as a helper, and I really enjoyed it. Did I want to come this time?

I thought for a moment. “You know what, buddy? I’m sitting this one out. Have fun.”

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Away Rode The Rebel

I’ve always liked a good western, and for a time in the late 50’s and early 60’s the airwaves were full of them. Lately I’ve been on a kick for this time period, when I was too young to appreciate these shows in their heyday. Yet, here they are, to be enjoyed sixty years later.

Case in point: The Rebel.  (Away, away, away rode the Rebel)

The series ran from 1959-61, starring Nick Adams as Johnny Yuma, a young man who recently endured the Civil War from the Confederate side. Finding his Pa dead on his return to Mason City, Texas, he decides to roam and wander the West, to live his life in order to write about it.

The Rebel – short clips and theme song.

Most sixties television shows had a loud, brassy theme song, the more obnoxious the better. The Rebel has a young Johnny Cash singing to a stirring military/western score:

Johnny Yuma was a rebel
He roamed through the West.
Did Johnny Yuma, the rebel
He wandered alone.

The backdrop consists of a hot iron branding an image of the Rebel onto a wooden surface, in between bent nails and fragments of old wanted posters. It’s pretty cool and smokey, and surprisingly hard to find on YouTube.

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It’s been said that there are only two kinds of stories. A stranger comes to town, or someone takes a journey. The Rebel combines the two. It’s always a new town, a new campfire, a new situation. Yuma seems to be periodically walking into trouble, or maybe trouble walks into him. And then he just…sorts it out.

With his chin and chest out, Yuma wears the rebel cap proudly. You wanna make something of it?

He got fighting mad, this rebel lad.
He packed no star as he wandered far
Where the only law was a hook and a draw.

I was struck by the similarity of this show to another western, Kung Fu, and it’s protagonist Caine. Both men enter the west from a different geography, and neither blends in.  Both are ‘panther quick and leather tough.’  Both are searching for something. Both are mannerly and gracious, unless provoked. Then, watch out.

Although the shows were made roughly 14 years apart, many of the same actors are employed. Imagine my surprise when Caine’s saintly mentor, Master Kan (Philip Ahn) showed up in Rebel as a Chinese merchant looking to marry off his beautiful (of course) daughter.

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The Rebel was a rating success and was slated for a third season, but was considered too violent. Violent? You think? Roughly three people per episode are either badly wounded or end up in Boot Hill. This was the west of 1867.

Poor Johnny couldn’t even enjoy some beans by the campfire without some marauder type interrupting his meal. That jackass would always end up dead.

Anyway, it’s a shame. The writing was good, the acting far above average, and Adams carried the show, infusing a sense of decency and honor into his character. Away, away

He searched the land, this restless lad.
He was panther quick and leather tough
If he figured that he’d been pushed enough.
The rebel, Johnny Yuma. ♫

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I Can’t Get a Massage

I was putting this off, but it occurred to me that in the future, looking back at April 2020, it would be strange if I didn’t write about this odd time we are all going through.

My apologies for the bad title. I am luckier than many, with a good job and a roof over my head. My problem is a first world problem. But the things I am missing most right now, aside from human companionship, are a haircut and a massage.

See, my shoulders and neck ache, almost constantly. I’ve been getting massages on a regular basis for years; they always help, at least for a while. In between, hot showers are okay. But there is nothing like a pair of skilled, knowing hands to set me right.

And have you ever felt the oh-my-god, sheer bliss of hot stones pressed into your back?

Oil and stones

Our state governor (NH) has decreed that massage therapy and other personal services are non-essential, and must be closed for the time being. Massage therapists are licensed health professionals, and they are out of work. This might change by May 4, but honestly, who knows?

I called up Roseanne, my therapist, the other day. She startled me by actually answering the phone. After a few pleasantries, we got down to it. Yes, her business is considered non-essential and will remain closed. She is selling plants in her front yard, honor system, to keep some cash coming in. She will put my name on a list and call me (I hope) when she gets rolling again.

I asked about the plants. They are called Alliums, a member of the onion family. You plant the bulbs in a sunny spot, and maybe in May or June you’ll have nice round blooms. My gardening skills are rusty, but I have spaces for flowers outside my condo. I told her I’d stop by that night.

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The rest of our conversation meandered around the topic of ‘what the hell is going on out there?’. I mentioned that I was working full time, and then some. Roseanne and I each expressed sympathy for our situations, then we signed off. I think she’ll be all right. At least I wish that for her.

It’s a crazy time. Everyone I know is healthy, but there’s something bad happening, like a slow motion hurricane. Will I get this awful thing tomorrow? In the fall? Next year?

Gotta stay positive. To do that, here’s what I did. Go to Roseanne’s, park in her skinny driveway and look at 54 identical plants. Pick out five, load them in my trunk, and drop my paper money in a large jar of soapy water. (She said I should do this). Wave goodbye in case she was watching. Take them home and plop onto my back deck, to be planted ‘some day’.

I will make an effort to do just that.

I really want to see those blooms.

Allium-flower

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I’m a Cork on the Ocean

I’ve been a fan for what feels like forever. From the mid-sixties to today and beyond. I like the early stuff, the later stuff, the 2012 stuff, the 2016 stuff. I like the fun, light, happy songs. I also like the painful, sad ones. Lately I’ve been leaning toward those.

I’m talking about the Beach Boys, and my favorite of theirs, ‘Til I Die’. Words and music by Brian Wilson.

The Beach Boys – ‘Til I Die

It’s about two and a half minutes, cushioned by two other songs on the 1971 album, Surf’s Up. There’s no introduction, the vocals jump right in:

I’m a cork on the ocean, floating over the raging sea

How deep is the ocean?

How deep is the ocean?

I’ve lost my way, hey hey hey.

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Before you know it, the second part begins.

I’m a rock in a landslide, rolling over the mountainside

How deep is the valley?

How deep is the valley?

It kills my soul, hey hey hey.

Primer – Til I Die. Electronic, ethereal.

Holy cow, it’s moving right along. Third part:

I’m a leaf on a windy day, pretty soon I’ll be blown away

How long will the wind blow?

How long will the wind blow?

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And here, something magical happens. The song kicks into fifth gear, the harmonies reaching an impressive rolling climax. “Until I die, until I die.”

You can hear all the voices now; Brian’s and Mike’s and Al’s, Carl’s, Bruce’s and maybe even Dennis’. It’s a glorious, mixed-up, perfect mess.

‘Til I Die – Alternate Mix. This will blow your mind.

These things I’ll be until I die.

This line is repeated at least ten times (I’ve never counted) but there are days, cruising in my car, that I wished it went on for a hundred and ten. There’s just something about this song; I think it will last.

Why does this tune affect me? I wish I knew. Maybe the repetition, like waves on the shore.

A cork, a rock, a leaf. These things I”ll be…

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Deep in the Center of Texas

I’ve traveled here and there in my lifetime; a few countries and most US states, including Alaska. But until last year, I had never made it to Texas.

My pre-conceived notions about the place? Hot. Desert-like. Cactus. Lots of those long-horned cattle running around. Cowboy hats. Big cars, big houses – heck, big everything. Oil. Lots of oil. Enough oil to supply the Three Stooges short, Oily to Bed, Oily to Rise.

Since the early 80’s though, the state brings to mind one person in particular. For me it’s Willie Nelson.

Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain – Willie Nelson

Willie grew up in Texas, moved to Nashville to seek fame and fortune, moved back to Texas when his house burned down (he took it as a sign). Only then did his career skyrocket. In 1975 he recorded what most fans consider a classic: Red Headed Stranger. I still listen every so often.

He’s getting up in years and spends most of his time in Hawaii these days. But for a long time, Austin was his home base. So imagine my surprise when my young son decided to take his hard-earned degree and relocate to start a job in Austin. I was delighted.

Austin is known to be different from the rest of Texas. It leans liberal, a tiny blue dot in a sea of red. It’s known for it’s live music, barbecue, breakfast tacos, and signs that say Keep Austin Weird.

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An odd but fitting mural in East Austin.

I couldn’t wait to visit.

Finally I got my chance. A lull before a busy period at work, the cooler temperatures of fall, all aligned for me in early November. I messaged my son to say I’d be there on a certain date, then booked my tickets.

On the ride from the airport to Kevin’s home, I looked around. No cattle. No cowboys. No cactus. It resembled most other large cities I’d seen on umpteen business trips. Just lots of streets, buildings and urban sprawl. Kevin’s apartment complex was like any other I’d seen. His place was small but comfortable and I settled in quickly.

We went out to dinner that night and almost every other night that week. He had to work during the day, so it was left to me to find things to do. I was happy to walk in the warmer climate, get used to the neighborhood and try not to wear my Red Sox hat in public.

Bonaparte’s Retreat – Willie Nelson

We did enjoy several meals and chilled glasses of beer, but what I liked most was hanging out in Kevin’s living room, talking about stuff. We sat opposite each other; he sitting on his weight bench, I on an inflatable couch that doubled as my bed. It was great to catch up after six months.

By mid week I was a little bored and decided to light out, Ubering myself downtown. I had a destination in mind: the Moody Theater, home of Austin City Limits. They gave daily tours at 11:00 am.

I made it there in plenty of time, bought my ticket at street level, and waited with an assortment of other tourist types. I knew I was at the right place when I saw the Willie Nelson statue. I felt a bit strange taking pictures but I was not the only one.

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Our guide came along shortly, introduced himself, and brought us up the steps to the main entrance. This was a large music venue, used for the PBS television program, but also non televised events throughout the year.

We saw the dressing rooms that Willie and others used, the dining hall where the musicians and their crews ate, the huge gallery of paintings and photographs going back to the sixties. We found a technician editing a special episode of ACL; he generously showed us the process.

Finally we came to the theater itself, a dark, cavernous space. A special stage was used for TV, as well as the Austin City Limits backdrop. These were removed for regular concerts. Our group was enthralled and asked many questions. Soon, the tour was over and I was back with Willie’s statue once more.

The rest of my week flew by, and on my last morning, I asked Kevin to take us by the Colorado River that bisected the city. We found a small park and public trails, and walked at length in the cool sunshine. I snapped one last pic of my bouncing baby boy, who now stands taller than me. A fitting end to a good morning.

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Hours later, as my plane touched down in Manchester, I could hear the strains of Willie’s guitar and a plaintive harmonica. I was home, yet still deep in the center of Texas.

Bandera – Willie Nelson

 

 

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I Must Recline

I grew up in a house with perfectly good furniture. Chairs, couches, the works, Except for one thing: A comfy chair that reclines.

I think I first saw one in an older person’s house. I tried it out. Not only could you sink into it, but it went backward. It reclined! I went back so far I was almost horizontal. And another unseen mechanism raised my legs to the sky. This, I thought, was the chair; no, the life for me.

This new thing even had a nickname: La-Z-Boy. It didn’t describe me exactly but who doesn’t feel like a giant sloth at times?

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After a number of years I attended college. My roommate moved out, leaving me with extra room. How to fill it? I found a college-boy, no frills version of my dream chair at a place called Longo’s. It reclined, rocked and swiveled. But it was not the plush version I tried many years before.

Upon graduation I gave the chair to my parents. It was nice to visit it now and then.

More years went by. I raised a family. Money was scarce.

Naturally, there were no recliners in sight.

Not that I didn’t drop a few reminders. I would hold up a circular that came in the mail. “Look dear, La-Z-Boys are on sale. Isn’t Father’s Day coming? Hint hint.”

The reactions to my subtle campaign ranged from nothing at all to a brush off. “Pfft, yeah, like we can afford that.” I don’t remember what I got for Father’s Day, but it wasn’t what I really wanted.

Many more years went by. I was single again. I needed stuff for my new apartment. My sister and brother in law suggested I take their old recliner; a few years old and in great shape. They were buying a new one. Of course I said yes, not believing my good luck.

That was around seven years ago. It was a good chair, but now it’s lost some padding, its color, its sex appeal. As I get older I find myself falling asleep in it. That means I wake up with a sore neck, since the back is too short to support my head.

Solution: A new recliner. Bigger, taller, with extra padding. Designed for napping.

I really liked my friend Lee-Ann’s recliner, so I asked her to shop with me. We found the same model at the same store she bought hers. Bingo. It all happened fast, but bottom line, they are delivering the beast on Saturday.

Anyway it’s the color of red wine and I love it. Can’t wait to try it out, and hopefully catch some Z’s in it.

Lazy boy, indeed.

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March of the Penguins

There is a satisfaction in revisiting familiar movies, documentaries, other things that have struck a chord. In my case, High Noon, Wonderful Life, Sunset Boulevard, many others. After many years, I will sometime wonder. Did it age well? Is it as compelling as ever? Is it still good?

For a humble documentary from 2005 called March of the Penguins, I’d have to say yes.

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The film, directed and co-written by Luc Jacquet, draws you in right away. The music, yes (more on this later), also the incredible Antarctic scenery, the shimmering opening credits. And then, there is that voice.

Morgan Freeman narrates, and he’s perfect. He gives the impression of someone who’s been studying the Emperor Penguin all his life, as opposed to an actor hired to read into a microphone for a few days. He sounds authentic, knowledgeable, omnipresent. Sometimes chilling.

We first see the penguins, a long line of them, at a distance. Then the first one leaps out of the water onto the ice, and the story begin. It’s nine months in the life of these creatures, and a fascinating tale. In a nutshell, all the adult penguins leave the water, march 70 miles over a frozen wasteland, mate, lay eggs, raise chicks, and head back to the sea. But it’s how they do it that fascinates.

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The penguin couples engage in tag team parenting that returns me to my own early fatherhood. Dad guards the eggs for two months while Mom is away gathering food. Mom comes back, feeds the chick, and Dad goes for his own seafood. And so on.

Things don’t always go to plan. Eggs might freeze, chicks wander off in a storm and turn up dead, or a really ugly seabird (a cross between a duck and a rhino) might descend, screeching, to snatch Junior. It’s Nature’s crapshoot.

Predators lurk in the ocean too, and it’s hard not to hate the Leopard Seal. I’ve seen a lot of scary movies, but nothing chills my blood like hearing Freeman announce, With a snap of its jaws, the leopard seal actually takes two lives. That of the trapped mother and that of her unborn chick, who will never be fed.”

Harrowing scenes aside, we see Antarctica in all its glory; the sunny days, the darkest days, howling, ferocious winds, melting ice, and the most amazing ice sculptures you’ve ever seen.

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And again, the music. Composed by Alex Wurtz, the score has a depth, grandeur and occasional melancholy that suggests the Moody Blues. The flute sound alone pierces the heart, adding an extra emotional dimension to the proceedings.

It’s fun to see the half-grown chicks (those that survived) splashing in the ocean for their maiden swim. They will eat, play and avoid that dastardly seal for four years, then join their parents in the yearly march. Not a bad life for an ocean bird.

Stick around for the closing credits; it answers the question “How the heck did they get this footage?”

It wasn’t easy, but they did.

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Moving Day

So I recently moved from my apartment to a condo. It happened on September 19, 2019. The shock is starting to wear off, so it’s time to write about it. Dare I?

Three weeks before the move, I started looking for a moving company. The last one I hired, in 1996, went out of business before the Great Recession. Yelp offered a few suggestions. But I was cautious.

One reviewer claimed that one of his five moving people stole his large jar of change, never to be seen again. That happened to me once; I’m still mad about it. Scratch that one. Sorry, Ray the Mover.

Another company came highly recommended, but when I asked for a quote, it was much more than I expected. Sorry, Gentle Giant Movers.

The one I settled on was local, had a great Yelp review (but only one), and the quote looked good. Congrats, A+ Movers and Removers – you’ve got the job.

Samantha was very nice on the phone. In her slightly raspy voice, she promised to be there on the 19th with two helpers, a twenty foot truck, some blankets, and a wardrobe box. I didn’t know what a wardrobe box was, but hey, I was game.

On moving day, I was ready. Sort of. I didn’t have everything packed, but Samantha said she was an expert at packing and would be glad to help. But they didn’t arrive at 9:00 as was agreed, or 9:30, or 10:00. At 10:15 the behemoth U-Haul finally backed up to my door.

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Samantha, the driver and office manager, hopped out to introduce herself. She was a tiny thing, but seemingly powerfully built. Her two employees were Josh and Ethan, twenty-somethings who looked wiry but strong. They all went to work.

I continued to pack and kind of float around to wherever needed. I would be upstairs, then downstairs, then outside. I did my best to stay out of everyone’s way, but also to remain useful. A balancing act. But at least I was calm and hoped they saw me that way.

Three hours later the truck was packed; really packed. Upstairs, the wardrobe box was full of my clothes, but they had been shoved in, not hung as they should have been. I took them all out again. There were lots of loose items left in the old apartment, but I knew I’d be back later to clean. It was okay.

We formed a small caravan, me in front and Samantha following. I soon lost her because she drove the truck very slowly – an accident was unthinkable.

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We arrived at the new place, unleashing a new kind of chaos. See, I had packed most of my stuff in identical W. B. Mason boxes, and only a few had labels. That meant that the two guys would approach me every five minutes to ask, “Where does this go?”

At one point, the guys began to bring in the heavy furniture. Great. Better them than me. But get this: they didn’t take the drawers out of the two bureaus before lugging them to the second and third floors.

It looked impossible, what they were doing, but somehow they did it.

Samantha and her helpers finally emptied the truck, and even stayed to help me assemble my queen bed frame. I was grateful.

With the guys back in the truck, I settled up with Samantha at my dining room table. The final bill was very close to the estimate, which I appreciated. I gave the young woman a cash tip to share among the three of them, and said goodbye.

I turned to the mess I now had to sort out. It felt like me and my stuff had been tossed into a giant cocktail shaker, shaken by cruel, enormous hands, and dumped in this new spot. It didn’t help that the new rooms and configuration were the opposite of my old place. It all seemed backwards. Bizarro.

Man Covered In Cardboard Boxes - Moving Concept

That was three weeks ago. Things are better now. Not finished but better. And it’s starting to make sense. Take my advice, however – don’t ever move. And if you do, hire Samantha.

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Favorite Quotes from High Noon

I hadn’t thought about High Noon for many years since watching this classic late one night in the eighties. That’s how long it’s been. But it jumped back into my head while watching an episode of Dobie Gillis, in a clever parody which mirrors the plot of the film.

In, “Like, Low Noon,” Butch Baumgardner, a bully and bad guy that Dobie had tangled with two years earlier has just been discharged from the Army and is due back in Central City on the noon bus. Dobie knows there’ll be trouble and so has three options: 1) Leave town, 2) Hide behind a woman’s skirts (likely the option I’d choose), or 3) Stay and bravely face the bully.

You can guess what option both Dobie and Marshal Kane took. Now, the quotes.

Do not forsake me, oh my darlin'  
Did you see what I saw? Come on, open her up. We'll have a big day today.


Noon train on time?


Would the bride and groom kindly step forward?

High Noon - 1952


I can't speak for the rest of you, but I claim an ancient privilege.

Amy, people ought to be alone when they get married.

Well, one more ceremony and Will's a free man, more or less.

Marshal, a telegram for you.
It's terrible, it's shocking.
- They've pardoned Frank Miller.

Ben Miller is down the depot with Pierce and Colby.
He asked about the noon train.

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Hey, you don't suppose Kane's scared of those three gunnies?
They're making me run.
I've never run from anybody before.
He made a vow while in state's prison
That it would be my life or his'n


How many coffins have we got?
- Two.
We'll need at least two more, no matter how you figure it.

We'd never be able to keep that store, Amy.  
We'd have to run again as long as we live. 

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You're asking me to wait an hour to find out if I'll be a wife or a widow.

Why must you be so stupid? 
Have you forgotten what he's done? 
That he's crazy?  
Don't you remember when he sat there and said:
''You'll never hang me. I'll come back, I swear it, I'll kill you, Kane!''

Look, this is just a dirty little village in the middle of nowhere.
Nothing that happens here is really important. Get out.

It's very simple, Will. You just tell the old boys that I'm the new marshal.
Tomorrow they can tell the other fellow that the job's filled.


You've been sore about me and Helen Ramirez right along, ain't you?

Did you really think you could put that over on Kane?

May I wait here for the noon train?


Oh, to be torn 'tweenst love and duty
S'pposin' I lose my fair-hair beauty

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Now me, I wouldn't leave this town at noon for all the tea in China.


Is there anything wrong, Mrs Ramirez?
Why did you send for me?


Hello, Harv. Where's the tin star?


It'll be a hot time in the old town tonight, eh?


I guess you all know why I'm here.
I need deputies. I take all I can get.


Do you want me to get killed?  
Do you want to be a widow?


It takes more than broad shoulders to make a man, Harvey,
and you have a long way to go.

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Kane will be dead in half an hour.
And nobody's going to do anything about it.
And when he dies, this town dies too.


Before we rush out into something that isn't so pleasant,
let's make sure we know what this is all about.


We all know who Miller is, and what Miller is.


How do we know Miller's on that train?
-We can be pretty sure he's on it.
Time's getting short.


Although you're grievin', I can't be leavin'
Until I shoot Frank Miller dead


Will, I think you better go while there's still time.
It's better for you and...it's better for us.


You risk your skin catching killers,
and the juries turn them loose,
so they can come back and shoot at you again.


What kind of woman are you? How can you leave him like this?
Does the sound of guns frighten you that much?

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If I can't pick my company when I drink,
I ain't coming in here anymore!


Don't shove me. I'm tired of being shoved.


Look at that big hand move along
Nearin' high noon

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Go on home to your kids, Herb.


You don't happen to know if the saloon's open?


Kane, come on out...or your friend will get it the way Pierce did.


I'll come out, let her go!


Wait along, wait along.  
Wait along, wait along.
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Say My Name

Since I started posting here at WordPress, I have not revealed my name.

I’ve always been ‘the mere mention’.

I’m not really sure why.

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My name is on other websites; Facebook and a few writing sites to which I used to contribute. I even use my first real name on dating sites. Nothing to hide. So why does my name not appear? I will remedy that right now.

When I tell someone my name in real life, this is what happens:

“Don Kelley. Don with a D and Kelley with an E-Y.”

“Hi John, nice to meet you.”

“No, Don, with a D. Don.”

Oh, Don! Okay, so sorry about that. Don.”

“No problem.”

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“And your last name? K-e-l-l-y, right?”

“No, there’s an E-Y at the end. K-E-L-L-E-Y.”

“Oh, sorry. Kelley with an E-Y. Got it.”

Nobody, and I mean nobody, ever hears me the first time, even if I’m talking loud and clear.

I’ve done this dance with hundreds of people over my lifetime. What happens to people with really unusual names?

“Sorry, Glockenspiel, but you’ll have to spell it for me.”

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I was named after a Don that my parents went to high school with. He died of an embolism as a young man, before I was born. It’s not a bad name, except it sounds like John, or sometimes Dan. I’m used to it.

Kelley is an Irish name that is spelled two different ways. For some reason, roughly 50 percent of us are named Kelly and 50 percent Kelley. Why? Poor record keeping, perhaps flubbed by a busy clerk at County Cork or Ellis Island. Once it was O’Kelley, and sadly the O and often the E splashed into the ocean.

So there it is. Hope you’re happy. It’s off my chest, anyway, for good and all.

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