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Republic. I like the sound of the word. It means people can live free, talk free, go or come, buy or sell, be drunk or sober, however they choose. Some words give you a feeling. 'Republic' is one of those words that makes me tight in the throat - the same tightness a man gets when his baby takes his first step or his first baby shaves and makes his first sound as a man. Some words can give you a feeling that makes your heart warm. 'Republic' is one of those words.
I'm gonna tell you something, Flaca, and I want you to listen tight. May sound like I'm talkin' about me. But I'm not. I'm talkin' about you. As a matter of fact, I'm talkin' about all people everywhere. When I come down here to Texas, I was lookin' for somethin'. I didn't know what. Seems like you added up my life and I spent it all either stompin' other men or, in some cases, gettin' stomped. Had me some money and had me some medals. But none of it seemed a lifetime worth of the pain of the mother that bore me. It was like I was empty. Well, I'm not empty anymore. That's what's important, to feel useful in this old world, to hit a lick against what's wrong for what's right even though you get walloped for saying that word. Now I may sound like a Bible beater yelling up a revival at a river crossing camp meeting, but that don't change the truth none. There's right and there's wrong. You got to do one or the other. You do the one and you're living. You do the other and you may be walking around, but you're dead as a beaver hat.
Hey, Davy! Is it true that you and Mike Fink fought a three day fight on the Mississippi?
That's just an example of the tall tales folks tell about me! Me and Mike fought all right, but we quit at dark. It wouldn't of been the third day until the next morning! [laughs and rides off]
So many times every day you stop and give thanks, but mostly I don't catch on what you're thanking the Lord for. I mean, there's nothing special.
I give thanks for the time and for the place.
The time and the place, Parson?
The time to live and the place to die. That's all any man gets. No more, no less.
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