Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Arrington Ranch

George Washington Arrington, Jr

One of my favorite movies is "Castaway" starring Tom Hanks.  At the beginning of the movie you see a very busy and hectic Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks) looking at his stop watch and keeping up the pace for a new FedEx location in the Soviet Union.  Chuck Noland is all about time.  Little did he know but his whole concept of time was about to change.

On his return trip, his plane goes down somewhere in the Pacific.  He is the only survivor.  He now has to figure out how to stay alive and even if he should stay alive.  The loneliness becomes so great that he befriends an inanimate object, a Wilson volleyball which he aptly names "Wilson".  Wilson becomes his best friend and truly a great listener.  Noland's sustains himself with the hope of seeing his finance again.  The days linger and hope appears to wane.

A package with what appears to be inscribed angel wings becomes his inspiration for escape from the island and its tumultuous waves.  He creates a raft woven together with palm leave strings and concocts an impromptu sail from a porta-potty door.  Chuck Noland escapes with a plan and his hope in tact and is rescued at sea.

Time indeed past and Noland found that his best friend's wife had died, that Tennessee had a football team, and that his fiance lost hope and remarried.  Time moved on but he was alive sustained by hope.  He starts on his journey to get his life back.  As the movie draws to an end, we see him deliver the now famous package, the one that gave him the idea of how to sail from the island and overcome the surf and reef. 

We see Chuck on a dusty road trying to find the address of the package's rightful owner.  No one is home and he leaves the package and writes a simple note:  "This package saved my life."  He leaves and heads down the road where he finds himself at a symbolic intersection, a crossroads.  There he meets a stranger, an attractive lady who inquires where he's headed and he admits he doesn't know.  (She happens to be the owner of the lost package.)

Ever since, I viewed that movie, I've wondered about that crossroad.  I felt like I had to go there.  Finally this past week, I made it to the crossroad south of Canadian, Texas and north of Mobitee.  It was there that I met the grandson of the original ranch owner Cap George Washington Arrington.

His grandson, George, was extremely gracious and gave me a royal tour of the ranch.  I couldn't believe all the tales that he could tell me about his grandfather and his legacy on the high plains.  It was a shame to have to leave George and he knew I wanted to hear more.  He sent me a book regarding his Grandfather and he left me with wonderful memories of what can happen at the crossroads.

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