‘The Searchers’ Eases Misery Of A Rainy Day

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 16, 2014

It was a miserable, rainy and cold Saturday until I turned on the John Wayne classic, “The Searchers.” Trapped inside by the monsoon, I made the most of the day watching a movie shot in God’s showcase, Monument Valley. The 1956 movie ranks among the very best Westerns ever.

The scenery was the star. John Wayne was pretty good too.

Directed by the great John Ford, the movie features John Wayne in an unusual angry role with a deep hatred of Indians. He spends years searching for a niece, played by a very young Natalie Wood, who had been abducted by a Comanche murder party.

I had to revise my Top 10 Westerns. My list:

1. The Outlaw Josey Wales

2. Stagecoach

3. The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

4. True Grit (both versions)

5. Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid

6. Unforgiven

7. The Wild Bunch

8. 3:10 To Yuma

9. The Searchers

10. High Noon

There are a few more, such as “Little Big Man,” that I wanted to squeeze into the final spot. The list is dominated by John Wayne and Clint Eastwood — three movies by each actor.

I had rented “The Searchers” through iTunes and had it for 24 hours. It was still raining when I finished. So I watched it again. It was a good Saturday after all.


The sun came out on Sunday, appropriately. From the back window I spotted a pileated woodpecker in the trees. I had hoped to hear it drum, but that morning it was searching for bugs and worms. Nearly as big as a crow, the monster woodpecker is an impressive sight. When it drums, the earth shakes.


In the world of taxes … our tax-and-spend General Assembly, in its wisdom, has imposed a 6.75 percent tax on newspaper sales in North Carolina effective this month.

Subscribers receiving renewal notices will now see the tax items at the bottom of their bills. A year’s subscription will remain $25 for in-state residents, but $1.69 will now be added for taxes.

The tax man cometh. Again and again and again.


Finally, a story about the grandsons borrowed from their mother, sweet Lori Robertson: “Kevin and Whit picked up a dozen KK doughnuts on their way home from WalMart this evening (darn you blazing red “hot doughnuts now” sign! Ha!) I told the boys they could have one after dinner if they ate everything on their plate. Best.plan.ever. They ate every single bite and then some. As they were eating the doughnuts, we overheard Whit ‘teaching’ the boys a Bible story …. with a twist. He said, ‘boys, you know Jesus at the Last Supper?’ They shook their heads. ‘Well, Jesus broke bread & shared it with his disciples. Why don’t we play ‘last supper’ & you break off some of your doughnut & share it with me?’ They both told him no.”

Young Whit may be ready for seminary.

Not me, of course. However, I did apply for the vacancy at Rural Hall Moravian Church on Sunday night after eating the best dinner spread of potluck ever. My old friend, Dr. Steve Craver, is retiring from the post, and the church gave him a proper send off. He will miss those pot lucks.

— Dwight Sparks