Harry Marlin

I have been an avid reader for most of my life. I started at a rather young age due to the circumstances of my childhood. We were regarded as poor. In fact, as somebody once said, if anybody wanted to show somebody what poor was, they brought them by our house.

One reason for my early introduction to reading was the cold winter wind. It seemed that we always lived in an old house with cracks between the boards and Mama always papered the kitchen with copies of the Brownwood Banner or the Bulletin, or whatever was available.

Every morning I read the news, or whatever else Mama had pasted on the walls to keep out the cold north wind. If we happened to have visitors, which was rare, conversation was sparse as everybody was busy reading the walls.

I still read three or four books a week if I can find a good book that holds my interest. A friend of mine, Larry L. King, a Texas writer, born and reared at Putnam but now lives in Washington D.C., keeps me supplied with books. When I finish one, I give it to the local library.

Sometime back, he got me hooked on Cormac McCarthy when he sent me “No Country for Old Men.” This book has been made into an award-winning movie which was filmed around Marfa and stars Tommy Lee Jones. Actually, the locale of the book is at Sanderson and surrounding towns.

I was especially interested in this book as I am familiar with the locale it was written about. I once knew the sheriff of Sanderson whose character is an integral part in the novel and his daughter Candace is a writer for the Bulletin. Another character in the movie, Tommy Lee Jones, also interested me. When I read the book, I had Tommy Lee figured for the part of the psycho killer.

I was wrong. He plays the part of the sheriff, a really nice, dedicated lawman. I guess the reason for this is that I once had a run-in with Tommy Lee when an insurance company from San Francisco sent me to see him and find out if he really existed and his reason for buying a rather large insurance policy and was he able to pay for it. I knew who he was, but insurance underwriters seldom leave their cages and the one in San Francisco did not.

With Tommy Lee, I got nowhere fast. The fact is, I was treated like an illegitimate son at a family reunion. Finally, we had an exchange of words in regard to future travel plans. He told me where I could go and I told him where he could go.

I do admire his acting ability, and I do hope he got the insurance. With his attitude, he needs it.

In recent years, Marfa has become the movie-making center of Texas, starting with “Giant” in 1955. During the past year, two award-winning movies have been filmed there, “There Will Be Blood” and “No Country for Old Men.”

Watching a movie being made is about like watching paint dry. Film is the cheapest commodity they have and they use a lot of it. Working as an extra is also dull. I once danced all afternoon with a lady who looked like Reba McIntire in a movie called “Baja Oklahoma” at Billy Bob’s in Fort Worth. We were so far from the camera that the Hubbell telescope wouldn’t have picked us up.

I didn’t want to be an actor anyhow.

Harry Marlin’s column is featured every Tuesday on the Brownwood Bulletin’s Viewpoint page. E-mail him at pilgrimB17@verizon.net.