1 hour ago
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
We walked into the darkened room, trying not to stumble over our own feet. Slipping into a comfy seat, tension flowed out and excitement bubbled up. A flutter in the film projection on the wall above gave a sign that the magic was about to begin, and like that we were transported to a scene very much like the one we had just left outside the door: still green, still wet and rainy.
And then the music swelled, the vampire walked onto the scene, and the transition was complete: we were in Forks, Washington, in an alternate existence. Here there is no war in Iraq, no children to care for, not even a dog to put out. For two hours there is only the story of a girl who fell in love with a vampire and the repercussions for friends and family.
My husband and I went to see "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" yesterday. As an adult fangirl myself, seeing other adults at the matinee showing was a bit of a relief. A good friend had purchased tickets to the opening show on Friday for a girls' night out, but a bad cold had other ideas for me. In a way it worked out well, because I received a peaceful date with my husband rather than having to sit through a movie of teenage squeals. That's not to say that the older fangirls didn't titter over shows of skin, but the reaction was more muted. It was a theater of adults who wanted to be transported to another place for a while, suspending our day to day dealings and allowing a little belief in magic and myth into our thoughts.
Although many readers and writers have criticized Stephenie Meyer's writing skills, especially considering the phenomenon her series has become, I won't be adding my voice to that chorus. For me, Meyer's work has been a form of therapy. I first discovered it last year during my husband's deployment, reading through the four books as quickly as I could get my hands on them. Being able to escape into another world has always held an allure, especially during times of stress. I found myself rereading the series last month after the loss of my grandfather.
Despite not being John Steinbeck, Meyer has created a lovable cast of characters and an engaging story line. She interweaves love and loss, selfishness and sacrifice, intrigue and gentle romance. Yesterday we saw that creation on the big screen.
There's really nothing like a fantasy escape, even when it's across town or just to the easy chair.
Friday, November 20, 2009
It seems to come sooner every year: the shiny bows, the imitation greenery, the colored lights, and the baking goods aisle setting up an outpost in the middle of the store where it doesn't quite belong. The encroaching red, green, silver, and gold sidle up next to autumn's oranges, yellows, and tawny browns, pushy in their overshadowing.
Thanksgiving has done its noble best to remain the last bastion of non-materialistic holidays. Despite some leafery and pilgrimage that appears every year, between the fantastical flash of Halloween and the glitz and glamour of Christmas, Thanksgiving doesn't have to work very hard at being a quiet time for family and food. It's happy with the pie crusts and tinned pumpkin filling, the fat turkeys, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. Even the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is filled with Christmas music and costumes, capped by the appearance of that jolly old elf.
Other than the head-bobbing turkey, where is Thanksgiving in all of that? It's sitting at home, pushing back from a table laden with goodies, groaning with appetite satiation and basking in the warmth of family togetherness. Thanksgiving turns on the tv to watch football or waits till after dinner to put heads together over Black Friday strategies.
When and how to begin the holiday swirl varies from person to person, community by community. Some of us groan when the first tinsel is hung from the store wall, others dance with delight that they can put up lights and a tree in November. For me, I'd rather hold off on all the decorations, music, and activities until the holidays are here in earnest. This time of gratefulness and gathering is a calm before the storm, one I hope to hold onto and cherish.
Before we're swept away by yet another "best season ever," let's take some time to review what we have, who we are, and why we're grateful. Let's be thankful for this time for quietude and reflection, family and friends, food and football and hunting.
Then let the season begin.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
After a frustrating search through storage, they reappeared: the dust-hued boots, the tan undershirt, the digiflage pants and blouse. In honor of Veterans Day, the school held a program to recognize local veterans and to allow the children to listen to the stories of service and sacrifice.
Hair left to grow long was shorn into a high-n-tight. The mustachioed man became the clean-shaven soldier once more. Feet grown accustomed to sneakers or walking around sock-footed slipped back into combat boots. A hip no longer bruised from bumps from the heft of metal felt the lack of a sidearm. Dogtags once again were lifted over the head to fall against a broad chest, giving off a delicate clang and reflected light.
Other, less welcome, things returned: a sensitivity to movement and sound, a feeling of discomfort in a crowd, heightened alertness to the gentle bumps of children edging close to ask questions.
"Did you kill anyone?"
"Did anyone shoot at you?"
"Do y'all still use cannons and cannonballs?"
"Did you fight in the Civil War?"
"What's that pin above your name for?"
"Did you drive a tank?"
At first the questions were hesitant, but soon they came fast and furious from children bouncing on their knees, their hands shooting into the air as soon as new thoughts occurred.
And one little boy, crying during the program, stood out on red alert. Was he missing someone? Had he lost someone? He soon was whisked out of sight in the shuffle of classes returning to rooms, a reminder that not only veterans serve or make sacrifices for their country.
Thank you to our veterans who gave loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage.
Thank you to the families and friends who supported them and sacrificed time and love in that effort.
Thank you to our communities who continue to rally together to recognize, honor, and care for those who made these sacrifices for the benefit of all.
Happy Veterans Day.