Labor Day Eve at the video store

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Labor Day Eve at the video store

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

By Gale Cady Williams

Colbert’s hilarious evisceration of Donald Trump on his first-ever show tonight reminded me of this scene that transpired at the video store this past Sunday night, while we were renting (or trying to) the DVDs for Game of Thrones, Season 2:

Addled late-middle-aged goofy blonde lady, dimpled and pudgy, in her 50s, in line behind us, who is admiring my husband: Oooh, it’s hot in the car! (staring fixedly at my husband, who oh-so-wisely does not look at her, so she fixes her gaze on me. I am trapped between two end-caps behind Joe with someone behind me and Joe in front)

(She gives up on Joe, because he can ignore a person like nobody’s business when he wants to, and he wants to) and she now looks fixedly at me): Don’t you think it’s HOT out there?

Me: It’s over 90, but I think it’s hot in HERE. It must be 80 degrees. Maybe their air conditioning is broken. I’m dying.

She: It’s hotter in the car.

Me: I bet.

She (looking at my T-shirt, which is Joe’s old Woodstock II T-shirt from 1994) Oh, were you at Woodstock?
Me: (not realizing a sartorial inquisition would take place at the video store at 9 p.m. on a sweaty, humid, 93-degree September night) Nope.

She: That was in 1969? Did you go?

Me: Nope. And this shirt is from the second Woodstock, in 1994. It’s my husband’s shirt.

She: If you were at the first Woodstock, how old ARE you?

Me: I wasn’t at the first Woodstock, OR the second Woodstock.

She: If you were at the first Woodstock, you must be REALLY OLD. How old ARE you?

Husband finally turns towards her: She’s never going to tell you that.
Me: I never, ever tell anyone how old I am. SERIOUSLY.

Young man in couple behind us in line, mercifully breaking in (bless your heart, Wonderful One): You’re 29, right?
Me: Exactly. 29. (My face looking like the Sith Lord at this point.)
Young man: I can’t even remember my own birthday half the time.
Me (thinking now of kissing him): Thank you for that. Wow, it really is HOT in here….

Crazy lady (and this is where it gets crazyER): Well, I bet those billionaires don’t care about us being hot. They don’t care. They have all the money.

Me (stupidly falling for the bait — oh, when, when, will I learn to ignore people?) You mean like Donald Trump. (not really a question; it’s a statement).

She: Oh, is he a billionaire?

Me: Well, yes of course he is. A MULTI billionaire. (WHAT IS TAKING THIS CLERK SO LONG TO CLICK ON A BARCODE?? MERCIFUL GOD, PLEASE LET THIS END!)

She: Oh, well, but you know, he’s one of us. He said so. He is just like us. He is fed up with things as they are.

Me: (now I’m mad. But, is she for him or against him? She’s a Fox newsie – talking out of both sides of her mouth; obviously not the brightest bulb in the box… but, you all know how I feel about Donald Trump) Donald Trump does NOT care about people. He is a bigot.

She: A what? What is that? A bigot? (suspicion confirmed)

Me: A person who hates people for their skin color, sexual orientation, or religion. He has said horrible things about Mexican people, for example.

She: Oh, well, that’s not nice, is it? God tells us not to hate people. Rich people are all like that. They don’t care about us.

Me: Well, if I were rich, I would give away millions of dollars.

She: oh, you’re a good person.

Me (sarcastically): yes, a real humanitarian.

She: Oh, well, you know, not that, you don’t want to be that, because you know, humanitarians are even worse than Democrats. They are a false religion. They are all going to hell. They worship false gods.

Me [Brain: RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY NOW!] Humanitarians are going to hell??…..(pushing my way forward to stand beside husband at counter, where desk clerk has taken a veritable ETERNITY to check us out – apparently Facebook discounts on one’s iPhone are hard to deal with] [you’ve been warned] Oh, hey, honey, did that discount code work for you? oh, great, well, let’s go!… Wow, it’s HOT in here!

(hustles through the exit and out the door)

(c) Copyright September 8, 2015. All rights reserved. 

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Reaching for the American Dream

Somali Muslim students
Part one: Ana

August 8, 2018  | By Gale Cady Williams

She is 27 years old, but her wide-eyed face appears far younger – 20, 21, maybe. The petite Somalian immigrant is perhaps 5 feet 2 inches tall, although it is difficult to make an accurate guess based on the floor-length black abaya she wears. The plain-colored hajib she wears frames her face, emphasizing large brown eyes that are the focal point of a face full of compassion and intelligence. She emanates a calm, gentle poise, and when she speaks, it is in lowered, measured tones. She chooses her words carefully, and self-confidence and determination shine through her shy demeanor. She does not want me to use her name, does not like to talk about herself, and does not want her picture taken. Yet, when pressed, she will tell her story.

The mother of two young girls, Ana [not her real name, at her request] has typically American dreams for them, and for herself. She wants her girls to go to the Columbus School for Girls, a five-star private academy in the nearby state capital. Like many immigrants in this and centuries past, she and her husband live sacrificially to provide this part of the American Dream for their daughters. Her husband, also a native of Somalia, is an accountant. They work hard and live what she calls a good and happy life. After a year of rigorous preliminary study, she has earned entrance into the highly regarded cardiopulmonary sonography program at the local technical college. She dreams of a successful American life for her daughters, possibly in medicine. She’d like for them not to have to work in the restaurant business, which is how her mother survived after their flight from Somalia. She’d like for them not to have to wait on people.

 

Her family escaped the violent civil war in Somalia in 1990 when she was only a few months old. She relates with surprising calm the story of their journey from Mogadishu to Nairobi, Kenya.
“I was born in1990 during the civil war in Somalia, when in the midst of the war, my mother gave birth to me, her seventh child. We lived in a nice home, living a middle-class life, and my father had a good job. My mother stayed home and took care of us, but that changed when the civil war brought much violence to Mogadishu, where we lived. To keep us safe, my father decided to take us to Nairobi to escape from the war. We were loaded into a big truck with many other people. Before we reached Nairobi, my father was murdered when he left the truck to get milk for me, his infant daughter. Soldiers ordered him to stop, and he was shot. The shot went through his head and he bled out, and instantly our lives changed forever. My mother, who had never worked her whole life, had to take responsibility for seven children and was now a widow.”

 

After her father was murdered with his wife and children looking on, the family continued on to Nairobi with nothing but the clothes they wore and the grief of their murdered father burdening every step. When she is asked how her mother found the strength to go on to unknown places alone with seven children, she replies that her mother couldn’t think of anything else to do. Behind them lay civil war, violence, and the bloodshed of Mogadishu, with no man to support them in a country whose culture is based on traditional gender roles. Ahead lay the unknown. Knowing that behind them lay almost certain death and more likely starvation, her mother went forward. Ana reflects that her mother was very brave to go on under these circumstances, when it may have seemed safer to return to their home and to her uncles, despite their fear of the consequences. Thus, they persisted, although her mother had never worked in her life, since it was the way of her Muslim people to have the mother stay at home and care for the children and husband, cooking and preparing traditional foods.

 

“When we arrived in Nairobi, we lived on the streets and were starving,” she says. “Years later, my mother told me she did not think I would survive because I had been without food and drink for five days. She created a way to earn a small amount of money by cooking food in a small oven on the street, which she sent the children out to sell. Eventually my mother encountered a man who helped us get food and opened our way to a refugee camp. When we later came to the refugee camp outside Nairobi, life became somewhat better for us, as we had food and a tent to live in. My mother got a job and signed up for the lottery to go to the United States of America, a country foreign to her, but she took the opportunity she had for the sake of her children. Living the refugee life was different from everything we had known; in our tent, we had no mattresses, so everyone slept on the dirt floor.”

 

From there, with help from strangers and a lucky placement in the refugee lottery, her family journeyed first to live with an uncle in Minnesota, then to another relative in Michigan, finally landing after six years in an apartment on the outskirts of suburban Westerville, Ohio when she was six years old. She says she hated the weather in both places because “I was always cold,” adding that she’s not sure if the humid weather in Ohio with slightly warmer temperatures makes up for the bitter cold of her previous homes – “it’s either too cold or too hot,” she says with a smile and quiet laugh. Life in Ohio was better; they were placed in a one-bedroom apartment. Despite the fact that

they still slept on the floor when they first arrived, life seemed good: “We had walls and a roof over our heads, and carpet on the floor. This was much better than dirt.”

 

Ana is driven to sustain her 4.0 average, driven to complete college, driven to be successful in life by American standards. Like many immigrants before her, it seems that every life goal she achieves puts more distance between her and the dirt floors she slept on, near starvation, and the possibility of death on the streets. That will to succeed also drives her to visit the college writing tutoring center where I work, which is where we came together as tutor and student. Over the past two years, we have talked of many things. She was surprised when I asked her questions about her Muslim faith and beliefs, but not offended, and willing and pleased to answer my many questions. I was eager to discover the truth about Islam, not the half-truths and myths in the news. We discussed the similarities in stories and people in the Quran and the Bible, and she pointed out that many Christians do not know that the Moses, Abraham, and Jesus of the Christian Bible all people the landscape of the Quran, as well. I told her about the Bible; she told me about the Quran. I worry for her safety in this world of ever-growing violence and hatred towards all people of color, and towards Muslims. I worry that she may make a target of herself by wearing traditional hajib. I ask her if she would consider wearing American-style clothes to blend in better, but she is quite firm in that response. She says she used to wear her hair uncovered and wear “American clothes” throughout grade- and middle-school, but America’s growing prejudice against Muslims only served to strengthen her faith, spurring her decision while she was in high school in a high-end middle class suburb of Columbus, Ohio to start wearing full hajib, or the full-body layers of coverings that Muslim women wear for modesty.

 

Things have been more difficult for them in Central Ohio since 9-11, she acknowledges, and more so since the presidential campaign of 2016. The Twin Towers went down when she was just ten years old, when her family had lived in America for nearly ten years. She declines to talk about acts and words directed her family’s way in 2001 and afterwards, preferring to focus on a more hopeful future.

 

A few weeks ago, I helped her shape a scholarship application, and in that, she wrote:

 

“I learned from my mother to take whatever life gives and make the most out of it. Education for me means so much more than a degree; it is a way to a better future for my children and me. It is the chance to be the first in my family to be a college graduate, and also my way of thanking my mother for all the sacrifices she has made in order to give me the chance to be here and attend school. Working in healthcare after I earn my degree in cardiopulmonary sonography is something I want to do to help people in any way I can. As a woman who once lived in a refugee camp, had nothing in life, and slept on dirt, I am grateful to now have the chance to do something in my life that can help better my future and my family.”

 

She is now into the final segment of her college work, happily involved in real-life, hands-on patient care. On a recent visit, she explained with obvious excitement how fascinating and important the work is that she does. She wants to save lives. I tell her that she is exactly the sort of healthcare provider that I want to care for me in a hospital situation: A savior, not just a technician. Someone who pays attention to every detail. Someone who wants to save my life. Because it is quite clear: Ana will be saving lives, because this is where her journey has led.

Review: “Railroad Tigers”

Movie: Railroad Tigers
Director: Ding Sheng
Screenplay: Alex Jia, He Keke, Ding Sheng
Starring: Jackie Chan, Zitao Huang, Jaycee Chan

Tonight we watched Railroad Tigers, a 2016 Jackie Chan movie that is well worth watching. With beautiful cinematography and production design, this true story centers on the efforts of a motley crew of Chinese villagers whose local mission is to steal food to feed the poor, but who happen into a failed plan to blow up a bridge used as a supply line for the Japanese during Japan’s invasion of China during WWII. The anime-style dialogue delivery is different to American ears, and there is a prolific amount of  Jackie-Chan style slapstick action, and these may be off-putting — but stick with it; you’ll see. There are also remarkable stunts and Jackie’s signature use of the surrounding environment in stunts and moves; in this case, the freedom fighters use flour, vegetables, bags of grain, and physical moves instead of bullets and guns to successfuly fight the Japanese. There are interspersed brilliantly colored animation scenes to advance the story and give video-game style avatars to the various characters. The director shows us beautiful scenery of China , wonderful period Chinese folk costumes, scenes set in authentic primitive Chinese folk kitchens (their stoves and methods of cooking pancakes are really fascinating), and a good story that shows the little guys fighting against all odds. The battle scenes could have been cut by about 20 minutes to speed up the rather prolonged battle scenes at the end of the film, and there are scenes of intense hand-to-hand combat with a few rather odd scenes of slapstick violence [Jackie and his Japanese nemesis fighting on top of a railroad car, the enemy is shot in the leg and then hops around like a funny rabbit in a cartoon, for example]. A warning for young children: some heroes die a hero’s death – not all combatants survive the story. With lots of slapstick comedy, but a rousing story, I see it as a real-life version of a folk tale for children with nothing too graphic. Worth watching if only for the travelogue-worthy scenery and incredible action fighting stunts. As in all of Jackie’s movies, stick around through the credits because there are outtakes that show that the stunts in the movie are real – actors are dangled from ropes hanging from a helicopter, for example, and swung like pendulums around bridge supports. So — Give it a chance.  Our household vote was two thumbs up, one thumbs down — but Thumbs-Down’s vote does not count because she was on her phone and did not give it a fair chance.
GCW rating: 3 1/2 stars (AMAZING stunts and beauty)
JAW rating:  3 stars (Because, it’s JACKIE CHAN!)
REW rating: meh (but her vote doesn’t count)

By Gale Cady Williams
Copyright August 9, 2017. All rights reserved.

Human kindness, overflowing

Thoughts on user comments 


By Gale Cady Williams

Originally posted Sunday, August 31, 2008, 8:17 PM

This is a web blog I posted today but which does not appear anywhere on the Advocate’s website. They have me blocked. (heh heh heh, evil laugh) Anyway, I think it’s worth reading, so here it is: Human Kindness is Not Overflowing I have been mentally tormented since reading an extremely disturbing comment by an Advocate reader.

The comment was added to a story about a young man racing on the expressway last week. I have been feeling truly ill — as if I’d watched a snuff film or something similar — since I read this comment, in which the writer claimed to be the host of a website with pictures of dead bodies from car accidents on it. This is true depravity.

In the time since, I’ve wished I could cleanse those words and the images they created out of my brain. I’d like to take a brain bath. I’d like to wash those words right out of my hair. If only that were possible. Reading the vast amount of negativity being lobbed around on the Advocate’s website gives me a headache and makes me sick. And I have come to at least one conclusion about that: It’s either time for me to stop reading the newspaper altogether, or it’s time for everyone to take responsibility for their words, to step up and be adults, and to play nice. I pick “nice.”

In thinking about how I can change the current state of story comments, and at the same time inspired and lifted up as never before by the words Barack Obama had to offer us Thursday night, I think the time for change is now. And, as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said, “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.“ People need to apply the words of these two great men to their own lives and actions.

I’ve thought about it, and I have some suggestions that I hope will alleviate the number of negative comments added to stories. Some are borrowed from the way other newspapers handle their online reader comments. Some are from one of my favorite composers. And some are from me.

This morning I read an inspiring story about a California artist donating one of her kidneys to a friend in the online version of the Orange County (Calif.) Register. At the end of the story, the newspaper cautions its readers on their comments: “We want our site to be a place where people discuss and debate ideas that foster stronger communities. We built this for you. Please take care of it. Tolerate broad thinking, but take action against obscene or hateful material. Make it a credible and safe place worth preserving and sharing.”

Because of the large number of negative posts written by online bloggers in The Advocate — as well as posts with misstatements, disingenuous remarks, and inaccurate representations of what others say and do — I suggest that The Advocate borrow from the OC Register and use those lines at the end of every story. It is a simple caution to play nice, and very appropriate. The Register also allows viewers to screen out negative comments and those by “trolls” (and the Advocate has several of those) by allowing viewers to see only the “recommended comments.”

Another suggestion is that the Advocate gives viewers the opportunity to view “recommended comments only.” In my own case, it would cut down my stress level considerably. My own thoughts on toning down the level of hate and ugliness being spewed:

Don’t say anything to another person online that you would not say to his or her face.

As you write, imagine them standing right there in front of you, and they know your name. You’re not anonymous.

Now, while you’re at it, imagine them holding hands with their children on one side and their spouse on the other.

And now, imagine your pastor, rabbi or other holy leader standing right there, too. Would you still say the same things? Take the same tone? Call people those terrible names? And accuse them of those terrible things that you are accusing them of?

To put it another way, there is a riveting scene in the film “To Kill a Mockingbird” in which Atticus Finch confronts the racists who are about to assault him for his defending the case of a black man falsely accused of raping a white woman in their small Southern town. Atticus’s children, Jem and Scout, are in the car waiting. When Scout sees the men about to attack her father, she gets out of the car, stands next to her father and says, “Hey, Mr. Cunningham. You’re Walter’s father, aren’t you? Tell him I said hey. Hey, Mr. Ewell.”

The men, who a moment ago were ready to beat Scout’s father, are shamed by a child. They hang their heads and slink away. There is an insidious sense of anonymity on the Internet, which leads people who would not, in real life, ever hurt someone, to act like comic book villains.

People need to remember that their remarks about local people, and insults and intimidation, are real. They ARE made in front of the family, friends and neighbors of the people being anonymously accused, because there is no public as public as the Internet. This fact should be in mind when they write their posts. It’s all about remembering to be a human being. We need to behave the way our mothers taught us (even if you were not lucky enough to have a mother like mine).

Sadly, lately I feel a lot like Randy Newman must have been feeling when he wrote “I Think It’s Going to Rain Today” back in 1968, a song that laments the lack of human kindness in the world. Unfortunately for all of us, his words apply more today than ever:

“Broken windows and empty hallways

A pale dead moon in the sky streaked with gray

Human kindness is overflowing, and I think it’s going to rain today.

Scarecrows dressed in the latest styles with frozen smiles to chase love away.

Human kindness is overflowing and I think it’s going to rain today.

Lonely, lonely, tin can at my feet.

Think I’ll kick it down the street.

That’s the way to treat a friend.

Bright before me the signs implore me, to help the needy and show them the way. Human kindness is overflowing, and I think it’s going to rain today.”

My prayer for you all: Peace be with you, and peace be upon you.


			

Film review: Star Trek Beyond

star trek beyond
Star Trek Beyond, 3-D. ★★★½ out of 5 stars
By Gale Cady Williams

For this one, which actor Simon Pegg co-wrote, we go back to a 1960s-style storyline: Our crew goes to a faraway planet to rescue a stranded alien space crew. Naturally, chaos ensues.

For all my fellow trekkies, I think this has everything you’d want, including the lines and actions we expect our characters to say and do: Spock taps into his inner human. Bones says Dammit Jim! a lot and argues with Spock, and puts his doctor skills to life-saving use. Scottie McGyvers some equipment together, after protesting that there isn’t enough power/time/materials to do it. Chekov tries valiantly to steer them out of danger. Uhuru sends for help (still waiting for this strong female character to be put to better use than basically being the Vanna White of Star Trek…)

Best stuff:
*An awesome new good guy who happens to be a good-GIRL (Sofia Boutella) with serious engineering and Krav Maga skills (booyah!) who kicks so much ass that she needs no man to save her (thank you, writers)
*Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power” saves the day (I LOVED this!) – you’ll love how this happens. I can only think of one other movie that used music in this way, and it was a horrible movie (although my husband might disagree) and the song was by Slim Whitman. This is SO MUCH BETTER.
*A ferocious new bad guy played by the beautiful Idris Elba (unfortunately in heavy devil-mask make-up, thus wasting his looks, through most of the show)
*Kirk gets to ride a futuristic motorcycle (we know he likes to race from the first ‘new’ Star Trek), calling up sexy remembrances of Steve McQueen past.
The plot has an old-school visit to an alien planet, some incredible computer animation, and one more thing I really loved: a terrific soundtrack.
(See it even if you think the plot is cliched and you have higher expectations – it’s a great summer popcorn movie. Why hold it to a higher standard and ask more of it than that?  What more could you want? Go see it! Buy some popcorn!

Film review: Miles Ahead

miles cover

Film review: Miles Ahead. Director, writer, actor Don Cheadle. ★★★★★

By Gale Cady Williams

After a 10-year wait from the time I first read about the plans for this film, I finally saw Miles Ahead, Don Cheadle’s Miles Davis biopic-not-biopic. What is it? A masterpiece. A work of art in itself, it is a movie created in the same way Miles created music – like modern art, beautiful splashes of color and sound that refuse to be tied to one genre, era, or name. He says in the film, “Don’t call it jazz. It’s social music.” The film is more of an experience than a conventional narrative.

The ribbon of the plot weaves around his recovering his “lost music,” an obvious metaphor (to me) of his search for his lost muse. This ribbon spins around on top of a background of some of the best of Miles’ music, including “So What,” “Soleia,” and “Blue in Green.” There are fascinating scenes recreating jazz session recordings, with actors representing the epic recording session of “Birth of the Cool” with Gil Evans, and a studio piece showing a session with Bill Evans on “Kind of Blue,” two of Davis’s irrefutable jazz masterpieces, and belong at the top positions in any list of top jazz recordings in history. Contrary to what would be done in most movie representations of a musician’s life, the actors who represent  tenor saxophonist John Coltrane, alto saxophonist Julian “Cannonball” Adderley, pianists Bill Evans and Wynton Kelly, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Jimmy Cobb are all current-day accomplished jazz musicians in their own right, including Davis’ own son Erin Davis.

The story revolves around a fictitious event — the theft of “lost sessions” — but the theft never took place in real life. The movie’s pretense of  lost sessions, or lost music, or Davis’ lost muse, is a metaphor for the five-year period that Miles made no music.The film begins with our seeing the tape, and ends with him getting it back, and scenes in between gives us flashes of his passionate love affair with his wife, Frances Taylor, and performances of famous pieces going back to the 1940s . Importantly, when we finally hear the music on the tape when Davis and the fictional character of the Rolling Stone reporter recover it from the lugubrious record company exec who stole it, it clearly is, again, a metaphor for the “Lost Years.” The tape is filled with mumblings, humming, and some doodling on an organ, with no horn – the musical equivalent of scribbles. The lost disc represents his lost muse, and finding it makes Miles realize that what he thought was lost was never there in the first place. This key point in the film is the turning point of the action in the film, and provides the impetus for the jazz genius to reinvent himself musically once again. Symbolically, although he had lost his muse and therefore his music, he found it at the end of the five years.

The film’s finale brings together current-day, very much alive Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Gary Clark Jr., Esperanza Spaulding, Robert Glasper, and Antonio Sanchez in an onstage live concert backed by stage-sized blowups of Davis’s  actual artwork; I own a book of his paintings, which somewhat evoke Picasso-meets-Miro, with huge splashes of intense blues, blacks, reds and yellows, often depicting a woman dancer who is possibly Frances Taylor. (The extremely beautiful Emayatzy Corinealdi stars as his wife Frances.) 

I love the metaphor of the film; Cheadle was going for the essence of Miles Davis, not a timeline of his life. As Cheadle says, “this movie is more of the Miles Davis experience.” Well, it was worth the wait. This is a must-own film full of color and passion and the music that made all of us fall in love with Miles Davis.

 

 

 

 

Prayers for my son’s wedding

Brian and Linsay

March 22, 2016

My son Brian was married this past Saturday to a beautiful girl whose soul is as beautiful as her face. I have never seen my son happier, and it was a glorious day, despite the spring snowfall, which did not dampen our spirits any.

My son and his new wife, Lindsay, asked me to write and say a prayer before their wedding rehearsal and reception dinners. My ‘little’ brother Michael suggested that I put them on Facebook, because as he said, “That is the best thing you’ve ever written.” So, you know, I think I need to follow orders.

Rehearsal prayer
Dear Heavenly Father,
As we prepare to sit down to celebrate this dinner in preparation of Brian and Lindsay’s wedding, we ask you for your continued blessings in the lives of two young people whose lives have always been, and continue to be, a blessing to all who know them: Brian Bain and Lindsay Sapp.
When Brian was a little boy, he liked to pretend. One of the things he would pretend was the game “Daddy going off to work.” He would say, When I am married, I will go to work in my red Lamborghini. I will have ten cats and ten kids and they will all line up at the window when I leave, they will all wave and say, Goodbye, Daddy! Well, he and Lindsay may not have ten cats, but they are close, and who knows? Ten kids!
When we met Lindsay, it was not like meeting someone new; it was more a welcoming back to an undiscovered daughter, returned to fill the missing piece that had been waiting for her all along. I believe Lindsay feels the same way about Brian.
We thank you, God, for the blessing of Lindsay, for bringing her to Brian and to our family, and we thank you, God, for bringing Brian to Lindsay, because his love is true, deep, and everlasting.
Bless this marriage, oh God.
Bless the friends who are participating today and tomorrow in the wedding ceremony, and who have supported Lindsay and Brian with their loyalty, accompanied them in travel, joined them in laughter, celebrated their victories, and supported them in their sorrows over the years.
Bless the families who have raised them, supported them, laughed with them, cried with them, taught them, (sometimes punished them), and most of all, loved them so much, because they are both easy to love.
Dear God, please bless this food we are about to receive.
Amen.
————————————————————–
Reception prayer
Dear Heavenly Father,
The many friends and family of Lindsay Marilyn Sapp and Brian Gabriel Bain have come together today to celebrate the joyful occasion of Lindsay and Brian’s wedding. As we prepare to sit down to the wedding feast, we ask for Your blessing on this event and on this food we are about to receive.
We celebrate this day, dear God, because all who know these two people know they were always meant to be together; their wedding is the inevitable joining of two who were somehow split apart until they met, but who now are united, as it was meant to be.
As we sit down in joyful celebration of this marriage, we know that the gathering of grandparents of these two young people has joined together, too, looking down from their Heavenly place. We are sure they are there together now, looking down, smiling, because we are sure they have met in Heaven, as we have met today on Earth, to celebrate the wedding of these two young people that they all so loved.
We ask, oh God, that you give a welcoming kiss and blessing to the beloved grandparents of Lindsay and Brian:
Leslie and Barbara Glenn, Marilyn and Paul Sapp Jr., Al and Virginia Bain, Margaret Dell, Charles and Vivian Glenn, Harry and Anna Norman, and Paul and Betty Cady.
I know my father, Paul Cady, will be smiling and saying, Betty, would you look at that, and trying to hide his tears.
As I searched for a blessing that said the right things, I discovered this Apache Blessing that I feel says it just right:
Now you will feel no rain, for each of you will be a shelter for the other.
Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be warmth to the other.
Now there will be no loneliness, for each of you will be a companion to the other.
Now you are two persons, but there is only one life before you.
Go now to your dwelling place to enter the days of your togetherness.
May beauty surround you both in the journey ahead and through all the years.
May happiness be your companion, and may your days together be good and long upon the earth.
Dear God, please bless this marriage, the many hands and hearts that went into the planning of it, and the food we are about to receive.
Amen.
——————————-
(c) Copyright Gale Cady Williams, March 2016. All rights reserved.

Betty and the caterpillar

woolly worm
Woolly worm

February 19, 2016
Today, a friend on Facebook shared a post with glorious photographs of caterpillars. When the reader clicked the picture, the transformed butterfly appeared. Some of the caterpillars were adorable; some were beautiful, like scarab jewelry; others were terrifying, like little dragons.
These caterpillars reminded me of one of my favorite memories with my mother. We were taking a walk on the local bikepath between West Main Street and the Granville underpass, pulling then-2-year-old Brian in his little red Radio Flyer metal wagon. He had gotten out of the wagon to examine the nature around us, because we always collected “treasures” on our walks together, and he saw a little brown woolly worm, which he did not want to pick up.
I picked it up and let it crawl over my hand and around my wrist, partly to show him not to be afraid of it, and partly because I think caterpillars are adorable – Nature’s version of tiny teddy bears.
I turned to hand the little creature to my fearless mother, knowing she was fascinated by all things beautiful and by nature, and she jumped back, visibly truly frightened. I said, Mom, are you afraid of him? incredulously, because this was a woman who climbed to the top of our huge 2+ story old house to check the slate roof, changed her own oil in her car, and fearlessly (to my knowledge) drove by herself, at close to 60 years old, all the way from Newark to Mackinac Island to pick up my sister when the sister was sick one summer.
I could not believe she was actually terrified. Trembling, she said, I don’t like the way the prickles feel crawling on my skin.
This taught me three things: Even Betty Cady was afraid of something; that it was okay to be afraid of something, especially if it has lots of legs; and that there were times that I could be the brave one – a concept unthought of for me at the time.
I’ve been missing both my parents even more than usual these past few days, in a wave of winter melancholy, and these pictures inspired a sweet reminder of a moment of insight with my mother, when, even when she was revealing what I’m sure she thought was a weakness, she was still teaching me that I could stand on my own. 

Film review: Ricki and the Flash ★½ 

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Film review: Ricki and the Flash. ★½

Actors: Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline. Director: Jonathan Demme

I didn’t want to like Ricki and the Flash, or especially the central character, because the film centers on a beyond-middle age woman who abandoned her children 20-some years ago to pursue a career as a rock star, but who’s spent most of those years heading up the house band in a roadhouse in Tarzana, California. A mother named Linda Brummel from Indianapolis, Indiana, who runs off and leaves her small children and calls herself “Ricki,” is just not going to be a character I, or anyone, likes or forgives. She is an unsympathetic character at the beginning of the film full of poser-punk and juvenile stubbornness, clinging to a look that she thinks is punk rock, but is really old slutty biker chick with a truly offensive hair style [half her hair skinned back to one side and into three ugly long braids with too much scalp showing underneath], blue eyeshadow applied with a spade, and red lipstick. She looks like a ganja-ed out hooker. I didn’t like the way she embarrassed her children, and refused to conform or apologize to them.

But.

But it IS Meryl Streep, after all.

But then came the climax of the story. There is a scene in the library of her ex-husband’s home where her ex [Kevin Kline], he daughter [real daughter Mamie Gummer], and her character have smoked his hidden stash of weed, discovered in the freezer. Streep softly strums her acoustic guitar [why does she play an acoustic when we’re pretty sure she only brought her Telecaster along on the trip? ah, don’t worry about it] a beautiful song as her family cuddles on the couch, deeply moved by the song, and we are, too. She reveals that she wrote this song and had it on the one single vinyl LP she produced many years ago, and maybe for the first time, we like her character a little bit.

At this point, her character undergoes a sort of unyielding turning point, but I still may have turned the movie off altogether if it had not been Meryl Streep in the role, who obviously has a heart for this deeply flawed woman she portrays.

I’m still thinking about whether or not I like the illogical way her children randomly forgive her while she’s singing, but I think it’s intended to show that they see a little into why she left them (to pursue a career as the house band at a cheesy roadhouse bar in Tarzana, California). The movie is redeemed by having honest-to-god great rock musicians as her band, headed up by the still-hot Rick Springfield, all of whom have a long and esteemed list of serious cred as players with just about every great rock band in the business. (Musicians include former teen heartthrob and rock star Rick Springfield, late bassist Rick Rosas [who played with Neil Young and Joe Walsh, among others), drummer Joe Vitale [who played with Walsh and The Eagles, and more] and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame keyboardist Bernie Worrell [Parliament Funkadelic] ). Director Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia, Rachel Getting Married) is not known for doing feel-good films, and this isn’t one, either.

The music is all played and recorded live, so it’s not cheesy overdubbed crap, and Streep sings and plays too [although we noted that while her fingering is right, her guitar is always unplugged when she’s performing]. Being Meryl Streep, she did serious homework for this film and learned to play.
Maybe what I love best about the film, which in the end got as high as “not terrible” for me, was that a Springsteen song redeems her to her children and to the judgey people at the wedding. She lets The Boss speak for her, using his lyrics to tell them what she never could in real life, and she and her band give it an E-Street band performance; this redeems the film for me.

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