One of the last things Todd ever said to me he had already told me a few days before. ‘I saw ‘True Grit” he said, again. Again, I didn’t comment, didn’t ask how or if he liked it. He often told me how a movie was before I’d even heard about it or that it existed. He went to a lot of movies and talked about them as if just seeing them had been an accomplishment of his. I was jealous since we live in the middle of nowhere and don’t get too many babysitters so have to wait for DVD for a lot of stuff.
I never did hear what he thought of it, but we caught it yesterday. Dusty yellow, well acted and a beautifully paced picture with a riveting story, we found it very satisfying. Todd loved westerns and I’m pretty sure he would have enjoyed this one.
Todd had a western style ending too, cowboy boots and hat, photo of Crazy Horse by his side, glass of single malt (which he rarely drank) at his elbow. He created ‘a whole look and an attitude’ as Joseph Cornelius would have said. But I wonder: did he have ‘true grit’? I say he did. I say he was a strong soldier. Okay, maybe he whined more than a bit, but not a tenth of how much he wanted to. Only those in chronic pain can know what that is like and how tiring it must be to have to deal with and talk about, or how lonely it can be to keep to yourself. Todd most definitely ‘soldiered on’ day in and day out, getting up to fight the good fight and try and make more of his life, until he decided he no longer could.
Pictured here is a tableau we set up at the memorial held for Todd’s in Berkeley last month. You can see his cowboy hat, snowshoes, an elk horn, a buddha and some of the Native American jewelry he made, also pictured is his manuscript “Rats in My Skull”, his prank phone call CD “Phone Crazy” and a book he loved so much, “Thirteen Moons” by Charles Frazier, the story of a white boy who is raised by a Cherokee chief named Bear.