HI Sason - the Thresher was a submarine which sank in 1963. In the book, Ennis and Jack talk about the Thresher going down and what it must have been like in the last minutes - it's part of a conversation before the first night in the tent, when they're getting to know each other.http://www.nationalgeographic.com/k19/disasters_detail2.html
Thank you. I never would have remembered that line.
So I went back and read the story again today, and I noticed something else. I don't know if it's been discussed before.
It's from this paragraph:
The summer went on and they moved the herd to new pasture, shifted the camp; the distance between the sheep and the new camp was greater and the night ride longer. Ennis rode easy, sleeping with his eyes open, but the hours he was away from the sheep stretched out and out. Jack pulled a squalling burr out of the harmonica, flattened a little from a fall off the skittish bay mare, and Ennis had a good raspy voice; a few nights they mangled their way through some songs. Ennis knew the salty words to “Strawberry Roan.” Jack tried a Carl Perkins song, bawling “What I say-ay-ay,” but he favored a sad hymn, “Water-Walking Jesus,” learned from his mother, who believed in the Pentecost, and that he sang at dirge slowness, setting off distant coyote yips.
I looked up the lyrics for 'Strawberry Roan"
I was hangin' 'round town, just spendin' my time
Out of a job, not earnin' a dime
A feller steps up and he said, "I suppose
You're a bronc fighter from looks of your clothes."
"You figures me right, I'm a good one." I claim
"Do you happen to have any bad ones to tame?"
Said "He's got one, a bad one to buck
At throwin' good riders, he's had lots of luck."
I gets all het up and I ask what he pays
To ride this old nag for a couple of days
He offered me ten; I said, "I'm your man,A bronc never lived that I couldn't span
He said: "Get your saddle, I'll give you a chance"
In his buckboard we hopped and he drives to the ranch
I stayed 'til mornin' and right after chuck
I stepped out to see if this outlaw can buck.
Down in the horse corral standin' alone
Is an old Caballo, a Strawberry Roan
His legs are all spavined, he's got pigeon toes
Little pig eyes and a big Roman nose
Little pin ears that touched at the tip
A big 44 brand was on his left hip
U-necked and old, with a long, lower jaw
I could see with one eye, he's a regular outlaw.
I gets the blinds on 'im and it sure is a fright
Next comes the saddle and I screws it down tight
Then I steps on 'im and I raises the blinds
Get outta the way boys, he's gonna unwind
He sure is a frog-walker, he heaves a big sighHe only lacks wings
, for to be on the fly
He turns his old belly right up to the sun
He sure is a sun-fishin', son-of-a-gun.
He's about the worst bucker I've seen on the range
He'll turn on a Nickel and give you some change
He hits on all fours and goes up on highLeaves me a spinnin' up there in the sky
I turns over twice and I comes back to earth
I lights in a cussin' the day of his birth
I know there are ponies that I cannot ride
There's some of them left, they haven't all died.
Probably just my imagination, but it seems like the screenwriters must have read the lyrics too.