You know one of the coolest things about being friends with a guy like Joe Starrett? If you need him to, he can just carry you around. He can pick you up and hold your unconscious body in his arms for a bit while he argues with the saloon owner over who's going to pay for all the damage you and a bunch of yahoos just caused, and think nothing of the fact that he's standing there holding a full-grown man. And then carry you out to his wagon and heft you up on the seat. Not load you in the wagon bed, which would be way easier, but actually put you way up on the seat.
I don't think they make men like Joe Starrett very often.
And then later on, when his wife as much as admits that she's got feelings for you, instead of going out to the barn and shooting you, he'll say you're a better man than him and then hug his wife.
You ask me, it's Joe Starrett who needs the hug. Lots of hugs.
The one man in our valley, the one man, I believe, in all the world whose help he would take, not to whom he would turn but whose help he would take, was there and ready. Father stepped to meet him and put out a big arm reaching for his shoulders. "All right, Joe," Shane said, so softly I doubt whether the others in the room heard. His eyes closed and he leaned against father's arm, his body relaxing and his head dropping sideways. Father bent and fitted his other arm under Shane's knees and picked him up like he did me when I stayed up too late and got all drowsy and had to be carried to bed (p. 77).
She always knew when to talk and when not to talk, and she said no word while we watched father lift Shane to the wagon seat, climb beside him, hoist him to sitting position with one arm around him and take the reins in the other hand (p. 78).
Possible Discussion Questions:
Joe says he's known that Marian is growing attached to Shane. Why do you think he seems okay with this?
What's your reaction to the whole confusing situation? What would you do if you were in Joe's place? In Marian's? In Shane's?