Recently I read that a re-make of True Grit, the 1969 Western movie that won John Wayne an Oscar, is due to hit theaters in December. Jeff Bridges has taken over the role of Rooster Cogburn, and it’s said that the new film is a much more serious version, with none of the tongue-in-cheek moments from the original. (Although I’ll sure miss the Duke talking about his ‘writ for a rat’.)
Whatever the case, it’s still of no interest to Mrs. Big Geez, who counts the original among her favorite movies of all time. In fact, I’ve already been shot down upon suggesting we try the new one when comes out.
But do you know what the real true grit is to me, at least in terms of when I first remember hearing the word ‘grit’? I know what you’re thinking, but it wasn’t the southern staple that seems to show up at every meal — that kind of grit wasn’t really around much in the upper Midwest of my childhood. Nope, it was a weekly newspaper that I used to read at my grandparents’ country home.
Modern publications like USA Today didn’t invent the concept of a national newspaper. For a lot of years, folks in villages and farm communities depended on something simply called the Grit. It began all the way back in 1882, but struggled with distribution until they hit on the idea of having local boys deliver it to their neighbors and earn a little money at the same time. The Grit became a success, giving rural readers a good dose of everything from news to recipes to comics.
That last thing was my favorite part when I’d sit down to read it during my visits. Since it was a weekly, the Grit would show a week’s worth of every comic strip it carried — a treasure trove for kids. I used to thumb through page after page, searching for the best comics.
The Grit is still being published (although it looks a little more like a magazine now) and you can read more about it’s history HERE. As for me, I guess it’s the closest thing I’ll get to anything with ‘grit’ in its name.