I love John Wayne movies. There is something special about them. I guess the fact that he always stood for America and did things “the right way” always appealed to me.
They were entertaining, and many of them were peppered with brilliant comedy.
My top five include in no certain order:
· Big Jake
· True Grit (the only Oscar he won)
· Cahill: United States Marshal
· McClintock/The Quiet Man (tie)
The movies were simply entertaining. The Duke was in more than 170 films and won too many awards to mention. In 1980, the year after he died, President Jimmy Carter honored him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
John Wayne, born Marion Robert Morrison, was married three times and was a known supporter of the Republican Party. He was not perfect, but he stood for something and never backed down.
In his movies, his characters were to-the-point honest and patriotic.
But everyone has secrets.
A few weeks ago, I may have met one of those secrets.
A man who claims to be the grandson of the Duke appeared with me at the Roy Rogers Festival.
John T. Wayne was there selling his books, and we hit it off.
He looks EXACTLY like the man he claims is his grandfather.
“I never knew John Wayne,” he told me. “I spent the first 54 years of my life not knowing who he was.” He is now 60.
John T. Wayne worked as a welder for 55 years until he was injured. He had already written four books and had more on the way. He decided to try to make a living selling and signing his works.
Once on the road, people approached him and said he looked identical to the movie star legend.
His story is amazing, and you’ll have to decide for yourself if it true because the Duke’s family does not claim him as a grandson. In fact, they try to discredit his allegations.
He claims that John Wayne had a fling with his grandmother nine months before his father was born.
Back then, any rumors of an affair would have ruined the image and career of the Duke. Today is a different story.
He started to put the pieces of the puzzle together, and he has tons of circumstantial evidence.
“I am on a quest to prove that he is my grandfather,” he said. “Not so much for me, but for my dad (now deceased) because he never knew about this.”
After having a lengthy couple of conversations with him in Portsmouth, his claim certainly sounds legit. He looks like John Wayne and is built just like him.
The Duke was six-feet-four-inches and weighed 240 pounds and John T. was about that size too. His eyes were the same, and his demeanor was on target. And what he told me made sense.
He is determined to find out his true heritage, and I don’t blame him. The evidence he described to me was pretty convincing that he is the grandson of the Duke.
He says he’s not in it for fame or money. He just wants the truth.
Are you who you say you are?
Do you have a past you want to hide from? We all have things in our closet that would embarrass us if others found out.
I am in the same boat. My skeletons have skeletons. But they have been addressed.
Have your “mistakes” been forgiven or do you still try to cover them?
The point here is that once you have been forgiven, do others try to bring up your past mistakes? Or do you still look back on your blunders?
In True Grit, John Wayne’s character, United States Marshal Rooster Cogburn said that “looking back is a bad habit.” It can stymie future progression if you dwell on past mistakes. It can also lead to dire outcomes.
I agree. The only reason to reflect back is to remember what God has brought you from.
I hope John T. Wayne finds the truth he is searching for and that his quest is realized with the documents and proof that he needs.
His journey will not be easy, and he is running into opposition at every turn. But something tells me he’s determined to get to the bottom of this. He has his sights set on finding his heritage.
Is your past important to you? Does it hinder you from being who God wants you to be?
Or are you determined to live the best life you can, once your past is behind you?
I’m glad the Lord forgets our mistakes when we ask him to forgive us. We don’t need proof because He’s already paid the tab.
For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee. (Psalm 86: 5 KJV)
By the way, his favorite John Wayne movie is Rio Bravo, because co-star Angie Dickinson calls his grandfather “John T” in the movie. Plus, it’s Angie Dickinson.
Del Duduit is an award-winning writer and author who lives in Lucasville, Ohio with his wife, Angie. They attend Rubyville Community Church. Follow his blog at delduduit.com/blog and his Twitter @delduduit. He is represented by Cyle Young of Hartline Literary Agency.
His first book — BUCKEYE BELIEVER - 40 Days of Devotions for The Ohio State Faithful —can be purchased on Amazon.