Friday, November 13, 2009

True Grit

I love westerns--old and new. Mostly because I love the archetypes; plots and characters. There's good, bad, conflict and resolutions. There's no ambiguity. The payoffs aren't as simple as a conflicted boy and quirky girl teaming up to scream into a deep chasm. And the clashes aren't created by a son returning home for his mom's funeral only to find that he still can't communicate with his dad.

No, westerns are gritty--they have teeth. The conflict is triggered by a killing and the resolution is earned by revenge. Case study 1 - True Grit. Mattie's dad is killed by Chaney so she hires Cogburn to "kill him back." Cogburn (played by John Wayne) is thought to be the one with grit but we soon find out that Mattie is the one the film/novel is named after. She relentlessly pursues Chaney, breaks her arm, is bitten by a rattler, even shoots Chaney in the stomach and eventually sees him die. Grit comes when a character faces conflict and overcomes it through strength.

That's what I've seen these past three weeks. The protagonist in this story is McCall, the antagonist is death. In an earlier post I wrote about us losing McCall's pregnancy--things escalated from there. The day after McCall received the chemo treatment she started bleeding internally. Within seconds she lost two cups of blood. We rushed from Park City to LDS hospital where the doctor had an operating room prepped for emergency surgery. McCall's dad and I gave her a blessing just before she was taken to the OR. For an hour we waited (Hooper, Shauna, Meme, William O., Dr. KGC and I) for news from the doctor. Last we heard they were going to remove a fallopian tube and maybe do a blood transfusion. The phone rang in the waiting room and I rushed over to answer. "McCall is in the recovery room."

I couldn't resist--although I knew I would get busted--I sneaked into the recovery room to see McCall's face. She smiled when she saw me and said, "Hi baby."

Although death has released it's grip, the last three weeks a different form of conflict has shown it's face. This one looks like pain (surgery), nausea (chemotherapy) and grief (loss). I have watched as McCall has pursued these three ugly faces, caught them, beat them and has come out a hero. In the process she's blackened her eyes, broken her bones and looked in some ugly, dark places but she's healed and has turned the dark places into light.

If McCall lived in the old west, she'd be a Mattie Ross fersure...or maybe a Betsy Ross.


  1. we're all glad mccall is doing better. if you want, you can call her mattie. she'd be in good company. you'll also have to remind me to tell you the story of when i was led into the recovery room after scott had his gallbladder removed.

    did you hear the coens are doing a remake of true grit? it better be good! ask will to do his impression of rooster cogburn..."well come see a fat old man some time!"

  2. That's the McCall we all know and love! I wouldn't expect anything less then that! You're amazing Mo! Get better, and you're in our prayers!

  3. So happy to here McCall is doing better! Thoughts and prayers with you!! Stay tough!

  4. THANK YOU so much! It has been all of our dear friends love, support and prayers that have made it all happen, and...JON! As you can tell from the post he has been right with me all along the way - THANKS BABE and "HAPPY 6 Months" TODAY! Now I just need to see the movie to really get the full effect. Much love and again thanks to each of you! McCall