Remember the movie City Slickers?
Billy Crystal as the ‘Dude’ from Manhattan who persuades two Manhattan friends to join him on a cattle drive in the west? Although the movie was released over thirty years ago, certain scenes and characters remain vivid. Especially the yuppies with the mid-life crises and Jack Palance in his iconic performance of Curly.
And a little blood seeped out when Crystal’s character Mitch spoke these words to some kids at the dude ranch. Like most of us in the audience, I laughed at the satirical New Yorker crudely philosophizing about the relentlessness of time but felt keenly the sharp edge of the words.
Value this time in your life kids, because this is the time in your life when you still have your choices, and it goes by so quickly. When you’re a teenager you think you can do anything, and you do. Your twenties are a blur. Your thirties, you raise your family, you make a little money and you think to yourself, “what happened to my twenties?” Your forties, you grow a little pot belly you grow another chin. The music starts to get too loud and one of your old girlfriends from high school becomes a grandmother. Your fifties you have a minor surgery. You’ll call it a procedure, but it’s a surgery. Your sixties you have a major surgery, the music is still loud but it doesn’t matter because you can’t hear it anyway. Seventies, you and the wife retire to Fort Lauderdale, you start eating dinner at two, lunch around ten, breakfast the night before. And you spend most of your time wandering around malls looking for the ultimate in soft yogurt and muttering “how come the kids don’t call?” By your eighties, you’ve had a major stroke, and you end up babbling to some Jamaican nurse who your wife can’t stand but who you call Mama. Any questions?
Which of them doesn’t matter a whole lot because mostly, they are alike- filled with millions of people chasing a dream. And beginning, like Mitch, to question the value of the chase, the race, the constant simmering anxiety. Like the majority of the people who loved that movie, I could identify easily with Mitch. And felt more than a little awe at the Oscar winning performance of Jack Palance’s Curly. The iconic western cowboy, he who seemed to possess wisdom despite- or maybe because- he owned next to nothing.
John and I spent the afternoon there with our friends, Resendo and his family, owner Jan Hunnewill and her family along with hundreds of locals celebrating the quintessential American holiday, July 4th. And, of course, thirty ‘Dudes’ from all over the world, there to experience City Slickers Revisited:
Photo from HunnewillRanch.com
Meeting a friend of Resendo’s, wrangler and photographer, Dwayne Leonard was an added treat. Such fascinating people can be seen here in this piece of heaven.
For even more spectacular photographs of the ranch and Eastern Sierras, do browse through them here at Dwayne’s website, Ranch Memories. They are available for sale online.
What a country is this US of A…how prodigiously are we blessed.