By Jacob Hatcher
Believe it or not, there are those in this world that have never seen Lonesome Dove; there are real living humans walking among us that have never watched Woodrow Call beat an Army scout with a branding iron or heard Gus McCrae explain to Lorena that life is about the simple little everyday things. Dear reader, if you are one of these poor souls, spoilers do follow, but it’s your fault for waiting nearly thirty years.
It’s a story I’ve known and loved almost my entire life, and one I go back to at least once a year. I’ve always loved the sharp dialogue, beautiful landscapes, and the thrill of the action, but when I watched it recently I was moved by something completely different.
I have always dreaded the last hour or so of Lonesome Dove. Mostly because it’s really sad and because there’s not a lot of action, but when I watched it last week I found myself really resonating with this portion I’ve usually dreaded.
Gus is lying in a bed, sweat soaking his clothes, and Woodrow assumes Gus has passed. Slowly Woodrow stands up, places his hand on Gus’s chest and whispers, “Augustus.” In uttering that name, you feel decades of friendship coming to an end. All the fighting, working, and joking has come to an end.
It occurred to me that I’ve got friends I’ve known almost all my life at this point; I’ve got friends that I know will only cease to be my friend when one of us breathes our last. Like Gus and Woodrow, I’ve got friends that know what I’m thinking and that can talk to me like no one else can.
I’ve got friends that, if asked, would do anything I asked of them, and I would do the same.
Maybe I’m just getting older. Maybe I’m getting too sentimental. Either way, I’m glad to know that in my life I’ve been fortunate enough to know a handful of people that would sit by my deathbed and whisper my name as the last breath leaves my body.