The Leaning Cow

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A watershed week

July 16th, 2016 ·No Comments

I often travel on I-75 between Dayton and just south of Wapokeneta; every time I make the trip, I see a little marker that denotes the watershed area. I know when I am leaving the Lake Erie watershed and when I enter the Ohio River watershed.

Life can be like that, although you really can’t go back and forth between them. There is nothing to do but get on with it, or in a well-quoted phrase of late, often shown in red: Keep Calm and Carry On.

SO, ON TO OTHER THINGS. I was reading this week about John Wayne, mainly because I saw a little factoid about him that piqued my curiosity and set me off researching more. I found something that chokes me up every time it crosses my mind: his last words. No, it was nothing like My only regret is that I have but one life to give for my country; it was a personal response to a question put to him by his daughter.

He was in a hospital bed, a slight long bump under the sheet, having been ravaged by cancer. His personality, however, still filled the room, though Death was waiting so very close. Holding his hand, his daughter asked if he knew who she was.

His voice was weak, but the cadence of his words was unmistakably John Wayne as he answered, Of course I know who you are. You’re my girl. I love you.

And, yes, my eyes are moist and my throat tight. I think when after Death had come and gone, John Wayne’s personality still filled the room. He had courage and dignity, character and a heart that loved.

It is difficult to stop hearing it: Of course I know who you are. You’re my girl. I love you. Maybe that’s not a bad thing – to have such basic, decent humanity echoing in your mind, reminding you to take a deep breath, brace yourself, and try to do a little bit better.

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