Monday, July 26, 2004

Doug Nye, my Dad, and Sam Peckinpah

Funny how one memory leads to another.

Yesterday, I had a mild disagreement with Doug Nye who, besides being the TV editor of The State and a first-class authority on westerns, was also one of my late dad's good friends from church. In an article on Sam Peckinpah, Doug listed the great director's Top Five: The Wild Bunch, Ride The High Country, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, The Getaway and Junior Bonner.

I dashed off a note: No Straw Dogs? He wrote back -- "You're absolutely right about Straw Dogs and wish I could tell you why I overlooked that. A brain lapse, I suppose" -- adding that his days at The State will be over at the end of the month.

I'll miss not seeing his byline on a regular basis. But something else occurred to me too as I was driving home this afternoon, something I might not have thought of had this particular exchange not occurred: the last time I saw The Wild Bunch was in a theater with my dad, just a few years before died. It was the restored version, which came out some time in the late 1990s and was showing at the Nickelodeon. I think that was the only time I ever took him to the Nick, which he thought was a real curiousity, since it doesn't really look like a theater. I remember standing outside of the place with him and, probably just to see what he would say, told him about some recent movie I'd seen there that was followed by a discussion.

"A discussion?" he said. "You discussed it?" He looked at me like the idea was kinda nutty. You watched movies, then went home -- you didn't sit around and talk about them.

The Wild Bunch is about the only kind of movie I would have ever dreamed of watching with him there, but it was a little more than he was used to. Dad had mostly quit going to movies before they got modern, and I remember him flinching at a lot of the bloodletting, even if it wasn't all that unusual by that time. I don't know whether he liked it or not, but he didn't fall asleep, which he usually did when I watched videos with him at home.

So many of my memories of him have to do with us watching movies; that's the same thing Kate will say about me someday.

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