Friday, June 11, 2010

Gus McCrae

On my bulletin board I have a vintage photo of a cowboy wearing chaps and playing an old banjo for a woman who is sitting on a crate, beaming at the cowboy. The cowboy looks like Elvis. It’s probably not an original photo of Elvis in cowboy gear playing a banjo because I bought it at a flea market for three dollars or something. And besides, the names Dutch and Georg [sic] are written on the back of the photo. Can there be any more perfect man than a cowboy in chaps who’s playing an old banjo? Oh, heart be still. (My cat just jumped up on my desk and puked real puke, not a hairball, on my pile of paperwork. Thanks.)

Anyway, back to the cowboy. I’ve got a thing for cowboys. I think it goes back to Robert Duvall in Lonesome Dove. Last week on NPR someone was interviewing Robert Duvall and he said that one of his two favorite roles was Gus McCrae in Lonesome Dove. There has never been a man, real or imagined, more charming than Gus McCrae. In my mind Robert Duvall is Gus McCrae. I've read Larry McMurtry's epic novel several times and always saw Robert Duvall oozing from the pages. No one else could ever be Gus. I met Robert Duvall once. I actually sat directly behind him at a local musical-comedy performance. There I was, sitting behind him, thinking how I just wanted to be Lori Darlin’ and play cards with Gus for a poke. I almost slipped and asked Robert Duvall if he wanted to go for a poke, but reality overtook me. Why the blazes she preferred Jake Spoon to Gus I’ll never understand. Lori Darlin’ was so young and foolish.

I'm going to go cook up a pot of beans and watch Lonesome Dove. Here's the baked bean recipe.

Norinne’s Baked Beans

2 pounds canned pork and beans in tomato sauce
4 slices bacon, chopped
½ cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon prepared mustard

Cook bacon until crisp and set aside. Reserve 2 tablespoons bacon grease and sauté onion in grease until tender. Put baked beans in an oven-proof casserole with bacon and cooked onion. Add brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, and mustard. Bake uncovered at 325 degrees for 1 ½ to 1 ¾ hours.

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