Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Dude abides...

The Big Lebowski was on HBO the other night, so of course, I had to watch it--again. The Coen Brothers film from 1998 has become a cult classic, and for good reason. There are numerous iconic scenes and dozens of quotable lines, such as, "Yeah, well -- The Dude abides."

Near the end, Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski (Jeff Bridges) and Walter Sobchak (John Goodman) go to a funeral home to claim the ashes of their late friend Donny. The funeral director presents them with a bill for $180, the cost of Donny's urn. The Dude and Walter are appalled and they let the funeral director know it in graphic terms.

Finally, Walter asks, "Is there a Ralphs' around here?"

In the next scene, we see Walter and the Dude at the Pacific shore, ready to scatter Donny's ashes. Walter holds a five-pound coffee can containing Donnie's remains. A trip to Ralphs' market produced a solution to the $180 problem.

I must have watched the movie a half dozen times before I noticed the bold gold letters on the wall behind the funeral director:

          As for man, his days are as
          As a flower in the field, so he
          For the wind passeth over it
              and it is gone.

Yep, it's that beautiful verse from Psalm 103 in a more traditional translation. I almost used this version for the title of my book, which would have made it As a Flower in the Field.

I chose the more modern translation. But still, it's nice to remember Walter and the Dude. And Donny, who loved bowling.

Good night, sweet prince.



  1. So what you're saying is that while we're here, we better bloom, bloom, bloom? I just wish there weren't so much "toiling and spinning" involved for us humans. Can't wait for the book, Chuck.

  2. With all the rain, the flowers here in Sacramento have flourished as they never have in the 30 years we have been here. But yes, we have had the winds too...and a chance to reflect on what you are reminding us about here Chuck. Thanks Dude.

  3. flowers are like ourselves when in form and beauty, but bow their heads while dwindling in the wind. They don't prepare for demise as we. Once at Point Lobos State Park on the ocean below Carmel, a lady told us she'd spread the ashes of a loved one, secretly at the Park, as it's forbidden to do so there. In their hurry to conceal this ritual, they scattered the ashes too fast and the wind blew them partially in their face. Their remembrance was of a salty taste, the ashes. Upon thinking of my ashes the flower comes to mind. Better to be the wave a a flower in the wind, until the end, rather than an old salt too heavy to fly - Ron Collins