Before my grandmother dropped dead from a massive aneurysm she used to tell me about John Wayne. It was an ironic obsession of hers considering she was one-hundred-percent Japanese, and old J.W. was whiter than white could be. But, I think she saw herself in the pistol-whipping lead-slinging venom-blooded mustang-wrangler that’d ride like a banshee through the wild wild west. The ship she rode to America was her horse and she was John Wayne. Five years have passed since she’s been gone and her conversations play from time to time near the back of my skull like old vinyl. When I find myself intimidated by one of life’s horses, she’ll pipe in with her Japanese accent. She’ll remind me not to be scared. She’ll remind me I’m John Wayne.
By Cole Schafer.