I’m not sure I was scared of the dark

as a boy or if my aging mind tells me

I should have been because who isn’t.

I do know I was terrified of falling into

a snake pit like Mattie did in True Grit

(I’m thinking of the original, buoyed by

Glen’s smooth tenor, and Wayne’s eye).

As I think about it now that snake den

was dark, so I guess I was scared of the

dark or at least what it could hold in a

writhing ball at the bottom of its heart.

Sure, I loved Rooster and LaBoeuf, but

they were big and I was small. My hero

in the movie was Mattie, a child like me

thin and unsure but betting I had the grit.

Maybe that’s why my father made sure

I memorized that movie, to learn few

battles are won alone, and to see under his

watchful eye someone small like me in

light of the technicolor sun of true love.

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  1. Caroline Starr Rose on February 9, 2022 at 7:11 am

    My book club read — and loved — TRUE GRIT last year. These tributes to your dad are beautiful.

  2. Leandra on February 9, 2022 at 10:25 am

    If you’ve never read the book, I highly recommend it. It is my favorite read of the past three years.

    • Sarah Rowell on February 10, 2022 at 2:00 pm


  3. Toni Fleming on February 9, 2022 at 3:42 pm

    “Few battles are won alone” ⚔️ ?

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