Sunday, January 2, 2011

Alice Todd. Aunt Lucille. Moral Courage.

Watching Sling Blade. The Lucas Black character just said I think too many good people die. That's what I think.

I think so, too.

I'd like to put down more of what I think. Hard thing. Such an optimistic act—no, more than that, more affirmative—interested, participatory, even concerned—involved, in mankind—more acutely than I usually feel.

There's all kinds of heroism. John Ritter's character is one. Standing up to Dwight Yoakum's psychopath, scared to fucking death, flinching from every unpredictable fit and froth. I find that really moving. Stalwart—virtuous—and gallant. God bless those with that kind of moral courage.

Had a good conversation at our party other night about what Texas means—to me, to the girl I was talking to. Though I was inarticulate—unprecise, stammering—as always. Remarked on Wolfe's contention about web and rock. How I am the latter. That is hardly the story though—I am rock, true enough, but porous, volcanic, untempered. And I wish to be web. Or is that some kind of myth I perpetuate?

My Aunt Lucille turned 95 years old Saturday. She's back in Texas, of course. Wish I could've been there. Had quite a soiree to celebrate, in Pontotoc—just a few miles from Turkey Creek, where Alice Todd left her bloody handprints, about 40 years before Lucille was born. Wrote a poem bout that. Think I'll post it, for what it's worth.

My cousin Bode's band played. Never heard em, but they're good, I've been told.

Aunt Lucille ever read this blog, I'd be ashamed. Can you understand that? Not sure I do, completely. Guess it's cause I come from a line of men—a long line of men—who don't struggle with things like I do. Simpler men, and better.

Used to hear the Todd legend all the time when I was a kid. Wrote the poem a few years back.

Ode for Alice Todd

Has anyone seen Alice Todd?
The Comanche took her away,
on a Sunday going to meeting—
Been gone near 30 days.
Her Pa is searching, near and far
and her Ma still calls her name.

Has anyone seen Alice Todd?
The girl with the bloody hands?
She left her mark at Turkey Creek,
bound up, with rawhide bands;
They followed her there, over the hills,
past the edge of the Pecos sands.

Has anyone seen Alice Todd?
She vanished, 10 years ago.
They sold her, I heard, down in Mexico,
to the son of a rich hacendado.
He keeps her at his hunting lodge,
in the mountains of Nuevo Leon.

Has anyone seen Alice Todd?
The girl with the yellow hair?
O, she's been dead these 20 years,
I heard a ranger swear;
Run off from them that took her,
she perished, alone and scared.

Has anyone seen Alice Todd?
The child the Comanche stole?
She belongs to a warrior, lithe and strong
and roams the Estacado;
She grinds up grasshoppers, to bitter tea,
And covers with buffalo robes.

Has anyone seen Alice Todd?
Since Ma and Pa moved on away?
Since the old home-place went to waste,
and all the varmints came?
Pa still searches in his dreams,
and Ma just murmurs her name.

Has anyone seen Alice Todd?
Since the Comanche died away?
The sun has bleached one and all,
every bone, the same.
Quarter was given no one.
Not any one

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