Hello. Yes, it has been a while. I hope you had wonderful holidays and are looking forward to good things in 2012.
I took a true blogcation. Time to reflect. Time to re-calibrate. Time to chill. Time to ponder the fragility and resilience of human beings.
Yes, that last sentence was a lead-in to talk about Dad. Before I discuss some moments in the last two weeks in the lives of two dutiful daughters, I would just like to prepare you for the cosmic fate that will befall me for being snarky about my father (Mom, aren’t you looking out for me?):
Not Lightening, BUT (click)
Dad spends four half-days each week at his sculpture studio, doing as he says, “chopping stone”. He is really quite good. And that he can chisel stone into art at any age, let alone, at 91 years old, is well, remarkable. He is remarkable.
But, let’s get into the nitty gritty, shall we?
The sculpture studio was closed for the holidays so he was on involuntary vacation for two weeks. Dad lives without Mom because of two things: his art and his family. He needs both (and, well, so does his family).
Dad is a lovely man and so it isn’t hard to want to spend time with him. Because we lost Mom, we know how precious is the time we spend with him. And he needed us more than usual.
SOB (sister of blogger) tried to find a movie that Dad would like. It needs to be historical and, if it is about an atrocity or two, so much the better. (For example, he never tires of seeing movies about the Holocaust or the Great Recession. So, no light-hearted holiday fare for Dad. Dad needs to leave a movie with a healthy dose of righteous indignation (why DOES SOB constantly say that I am Dad’s clone?).
Iron Lady, about Margaret Thacher, seemed like a winner: a mean, Conservative, Cold War warrior and leader of the UK who broke gender barriers (never mind Indira Ghandi and others), all with a hairdo that withstood whipping winds and never-ending London drizzle. Better than New Year’s Day or Kung Fu Panda II.
SOB is always upbeat if unrealistic. She emailed me: “I’m going to meet Dad – lunch and movie – Thatcher. I expect that he won’t hear any of the dialogue. Bet you $1 million that he says all actors mumble.” (Dad has yet to realize that he has a hearing impairment.)
From the movie, she texts: “The movie Iron Lady is great – Meryl Streep is of course fabulous. [Blogger] — I will give you $1 million if you can guess what Dad said after each and every preview – and another $1 million if you can guess what he said at the end of the movie, as tears were going down my face. I await your response.”
[Sidebar: The truth is that SOB and I go for broke like this all the time, we bet a couple of million every day. We never actually hand over our 401ks and deeds to our homes, etc. because we figure we will true up in front of the gates of Hell (SOB promised to come down with me instead of going up to Heaven because she would miss me). After the first gasps, POB (partner of blogger) and HOSOB (husband of SOB) are don't bat an eyelash as SOB and I casually wager more than the value of our worldly possessions. Who can keep track anyway?]
Thinking that SOB gave the answer away in the first email, I confidently texted back: “At the end of the movie: all the actors are mumbling. After every preview, what kind of nonsense is this? Is this what we are teaching our children?”
I lost according to SOB: “End of the movie – beautiful, touching scene of Meryl Streep, and tears are streaming down my [SOB's] face, Dad says: ‘What a strange movie, I won’t be recommending it.’ After each preview – Dad says in a stage whisper [with an incredulous and disgusted tone]: ‘G-d Amighty…’”
Also, Dad “stage whispers” at the top of his lungs. AND, if you knew my dad and his intonations and what thoughts and phrases follow which, you would know that the judges might be split on whether I got the response to the previews right. Just sayin’. But like I said, we have the rest of our lives and purgatory to figure out who — SOB or I — really won.
We saw Dad the next day and he thought the movie was short on the historical, political backdrop and too heavy on the emotions. “But what are people learning from this movie?” “Dad,” I said, “people who go to the movie know about Margaret Thacher. It is all about the commonality of the human experience, whether you were Prime Minister of England or an apple vendor. And, the acting brilliance of Meryl Streep.”
[Sidebar: Of course, I didn't see the movie before I weighed in emphatically, but it is a free-for-all in our house and no one is required to be encumbered or constrained by fact or physics. And I only started liking Meryl Streep when I realized she was growing old gracefully and not getting face-lifts.]
Dad rolled his eyes and looked displeased.
He was still complaining about the movie a week later. So, it was a successful outing.
STILL, if only the director had thrown in some World War I or II footage — anywhere, in the credits or in the middle of a poignant emotional scene — it would have saved the movie for Dad. It would have also relegated the movie to the ranks of “Springtime for Hitler” and that cult fave, “The Attack of the Killer Tomatoes”. But, SOB and I would have been grateful.
Maybe, there is an uncut version somewhere . . . .