Back in 1969 manners were a big thing, especially when a man was dealing with a lady. My father drilled my brother and me constantly about our manners. We always went out of our way to show the utmost respect to my mother and would knock each other out of the way to open and hold a door for her. It seems funny now, but I will never forget how shocked I was when Jim Bronson whipped up those scrambled eggs at the campsite and started wolfing them down right in front of Temple Brooks without so much as offering her the scrapings from the pan! How rude is that?
Then I began to consider the circumstances... O.K., up to this point in the movie, she nearly ran him off a cliff, she slaps him at a gas station, she pleads for a ride and he grants her the favor, but then she won�t tell him her name. She is a passenger on the back of his motorcycle, and she wants to take charge of the routes he is going to follow. He needs to make some money, especially now that he has a second mouth to feed. When he sees an opportunity, Bronson asks Temple, �You ever work in a brick yard?� Now, certainly, he had to know his question was an absurd one. Temple Brooks was clearly an �upper crust� young woman who more than likely had been pampered her entire life, but Jim had to break the news about this potential back breaking, hand blistering, fingernail busting job to her as gently as he could, and so... he popped the question.
I think she probably answered his question a little more harshly than he anticipated, �What do you think? Of course not?!� she said. As a sixteen year old kid I was not quite sure what Jim Bronson meant in his reply to her, �Oh you gotta lot comin� to you,� but I know well enough now. This Hillsborough, California girl probably had not worked a real job in her entire life. Now she is begging favors from this motorcycle jockey and she is not willing to lift a finger to help him make life a little more tolerable for the both of them. She refuses to assist him as he �peels� brick, so he decided to teach her a seldom mentioned Biblical principle. That is right; there is a Biblical principle even here! (Hey, do not forget, this is the �Chaplain�s Corner�).
Jim stands up and turns to locate Temple who is now sitting up against a nicely stacked pallet of bricks. Raising his voice enough for her to hear him from across the yard Jim says, �You don�t work, you don�t eat.� In response, she rolls her eyes and gives the expression which every viewer clearly understands to mean, �Yeah, right.� Did you miss the principle? The Scripture says, �For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order; if anyone will not work, neither let him eat� (2 Thessalonians 3:10). Of course this is speaking of those who are healthy enough to work. When I was sixteen, I did not know this was a Biblical principle. But the Bible could not be any clearer in regard to work. God says that work is good for us. One of the earliest things he did for Adam was to give him productive work to do in the garden (Genesis 2:15). The Bible also has plenty of harsh things to say about the lazy and the slothful, especially in the Proverbs.
In regard to women, Proverbs (31:10-31) is the often quoted passage that honors the active and productive wife, who, using her ingenuity, finds any number of ways to bring additional trade (or money) into her home. Verses 16-17 says, �She considers a field and buys it; from her earnings she plants a vineyard. She girds herself with strength and makes her arms strong.� This is a principle that Temple Brooks knows very little about. Well, Jim Bronson takes it upon himself to teach her. True to his promise, he cooks up some eggs at their campsite later on that evening and he offers her absolutely nothing! Man, was she ever shocked! No one in her life had ever had the nerve to treat her in such a fashion. As a viewer, I was blown away by Jim�s boldness. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized he did the right thing. Temple needed to learn that she was not the center of the world.
There are other people that need to be treated with dignity, no matter what their station in life may be. I am also impressed by the fact that later in the evening as the night was growing cold, Bronson showed some mercy by giving her a jacket to throw over her shoulders and he tossed her a piece of beef jerky. That was also a new experience for her. She has never tasted anything like that in her life before. Still, it curbed her hunger and held her over until breakfast. From that point on, Temple changed her attitude toward Jim, and she learned a valuable life principle.
Until next time, hang in there.