Feeling sorry for Granny Hawkins

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Feeling sorry for Granny Hawkins

The Outlaw Josey Wales is one of my favorite movies.  I find Clint Eastwood’s character appealing, a weak man who suffers great tragedy and from that tragedy arises a man of strength who others fear (er, respect).  At the same time, his soul seems very vulnerable, tormented by his deep loss, his loneliness, and his inability to invite love into his life again, thanks to the walls he constructed around his heart.

There is a scene earlier in the movie where Josey and his partner approach a ferry on the Missouri River.  Where horses and carriages board the rope-powered ferry sits the cabin/store of Granny Hawkins, an old woman who smokes a tobacco pipe and whose gruff laugh reveals she smokes the pipe every waking moment of the day.  She appreciates Josey’s renegade life and clearly is cheering his successful evading of all his enemies.

“You can pay me when you see me again, Josey Wales”, she says with a half-smile as she turns to re-enter the store from which she just gave him critical supplies on credit.

“I reckon so!”

Josey and his partner take the ferry to the other side of the river.  Their pursuers show up a few minutes later and mount the ferry that quickly returned to the other shore.  They will no doubt chase Josey across the fields in just a few minutes.

Instead of fleeing, Josey waits upon the other shore as those chasing him approach.  With amazing skill, Josey shoots the rope that kept the ferry securely crossing the river and the rope broke, sending the ferry and all on board down the river on a “Missouri boat ride.”

It’s so cool! (though maybe a “guy” thing).

However, there were ramifications to Josey’s actions long after the script had turned a few pages and Josey was on another adventure miles away.  His actions had to have devastated Granny Hawkins, the woman who had shown so much compassion to him.

The ferry was now gone.  That means the ferry business was gone.  That means no one would bother to travel to that particular entry point to cross the river any more.  That means Granny Hawkins would no longer have any customers.  That means Granny Hawkins would have financial bankruptcy.

Do you think she was thinking appreciative thoughts about Josey anymore?

“I reckon not!”

Our hero was a jerk!  Our hero was a selfish so-and-so!  To protect himself, Josey had devastated an old woman’s business, a woman who had just been so generous to him.

Sometimes we suffer in life because other people are simply incredibly self-centered and we are the innocent victims!

Sometimes others suffer in life because we are the people who are simply incredibly self-centered!

“I reckon so!”

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