Our Movie Moments

Ever have an out-of-body experience and wonder how you got there? That’s me the other morning, listening to “Itsy-Bitsy Spider” on my grandchild’s favorite station, the one that plays lullabies all day.

You’ve heard of Yacht Rock? Well, welcome to Baby Rock.

I was visiting my granddaughter the other day when I came to admire the gentle stuff on Pandora (if you don’t get this music provider, please do).

Search for “Lullaby,” and boom, suddenly you have such classics as “You are My Sunshine” and the theme from “Beauty and the Beast,” usually on piano or cello. Jewel – remember her? She sings too, and still has a throat like a harp.

Puts me in the Zen mode of the new mothers I’m seeing lately; they are exhausted and catatonic and the firmest believers in God you will ever find.

On soft summer mornings, when the gin is still spilling out of my ear from the night before, this Baby Rock is just the right thing with a cup of coffee.

Look, we live in a time of multiple dimensions, a time when we were never less “in the moment.” Our minds are always on our phones or some pressing email, or some link we have to check. Everything is protected by passwords and validation codes. Ugh. To edit that document, I need to download Adobe? Great! Such a marvelous time to be alive. Double ugh.

No secret that all these tech marvels are buggy beyond reason, yet we rely on them more and more.

But new mothers? They aren’t sidetracked by this faux, frappy world. They are focused on their new babies.

Wish I could bottle that. I’d age it in oak barrels and serve it at Christmas.

I’m seeing both ends of motherhood right now, these new moms and these retiring moms who are right now sending their last sons and daughters off to Boston and Boulder, Champaign and Ft. Worth.

As a single mom, I relate to these retiring mothers. Shouldn’t someone throw us a banquet? Give us a watch? How many stinky loads of laundry? How many lunches?

I seek closure here.

Soon, I will hold a garden party for the moms and dads — an empty-nest intervention. I’ll tell them how parents who have been through it in the past say that empty-nesting is lousy at first, then gets better, then gets grand.

There is no real timeline for this. I’m hoping it all takes about a month. I’m restless like that.

Was thinking the other day that I haven’t been totally alone since I met Posh some 44 years ago. “You’re everything I never wanted,” she told me at the time. I sensed then we had a future.

Forty-four consecutive, semi-sober years of living with her or Smartacus, sharing sinks and toothpaste, blankets and bank accounts.

About time I live alone again. I’m due. I need a quick nap and expect to bounce up refreshed and ready for football season.

To fill the days, I’ll have a game of catch with someone, not sure who yet. Smartacus was always available to play catch in the yard, and when he leaves in a month, there goes another small joy.

Instead of a garden party, perhaps I’ll just gather all the empty-nester dads at some ballfield and we’ll hit pop flies to each other, pull all our remaining muscles, so we can suffer inside and out.

“Ouch-ouch-ouch!” we’ll yell, then go for a beer.

We should never shun the dorky little pleasures that bring us calm, beer being one of them.

LA will soon cool off —  I give it about 12 more weeks. Already, the days are shorter, and you can hear the marching bands banging around in the distance. Gonna be a great fall.

I plan to perfect my latest creation: the Bloody Hail Mary, a traditional Bloody Mary spiked with lobster or prime rib. You make it as if it’s your last, then drink it while watching the Bears stun the Packers.

(FYI, I learned to write from watching Johnny Carson monologues.)

I will also spend the fall spoiling my grand baby Catty Cakes, though she now cries every time I hold her. I think I remind her of Smartacus, and she’s pre-missing him. This too shall pass.

Or, here’s my other theory on all the crying: She’s Posh re-born and already resents me a little for all the chores I didn’t do, the funny way I sneeze, my lousy taste in shoes, etc.

No biggie. A few years of grandpa therapy and I’ll be fine.

Besides, I don’t really need other people around, just sentient beings of some sort, preferably ones who pant a lot. A frog or fish may do.

I was talking to White Fang about this very thing the other day, telling her how she’ll need to step up when Smartacus leaves, and no longer be the distant, unresponsive companion she’s been her entire life.

Man’s best friend? Says who?

If White Fang were any more of a diva, she’d technically qualify as a daughter.

To clear our hairy heads, maybe I’ll take her on an autumn road trip, playing Baby Rock part of the way, at least in the mornings when we’re fresh. We’d bond over that and maybe save the relationship. Maybe not.

Love road trips. One of the best came a year ago, when Smartacus and I stopped in Dyersville, Iowa, at the Field of Dreams complex, where the classic movie was made.

You might have seen it the other night on TV, when they held a fine baseball game there. The whole thing was storybook, and the night spoke to the majesty of baseball and of film, back when film was still magic. Who’d-a-thunk baseball, often such a snoozy game, would outlive movies?

Yet, it has.

“We just don’t recognize life’s most significant moments while they’re happening,” warned Burt Lancaster in “Field of Dreams.”

No doubt it is a weepy movie. My tear ducts dried up years ago, but back when I could still cry, that movie made me cry.

There were themes of family, corn and contrarian passions. Another theme was redemption and return.

At one point, the hero’s dad returns for a game of catch. Silly thing to base a movie around. Jeeeesh.

But it still works, 30 years later, because when a father quilts together a good long life, “having a catch” is heavy in the stitching.

On TV the other night, in celebration of the movie and the game, Kevin Costner played catch with his kid. It reminded me how the best movies can be literature.

For what is literature really, but cobbling together the small, deeply personal  moments … the stuff of life?

In many respects, our kids are our literature.

Moms. Dads. Take a bow.

I’ll be taking a week off to handle some family stuff, returning here Wednesday, Aug. 25. Take care. See you then. Meanwhile, thank you for the run of purchases at the web store. We have to re-stock gin glasses and hats – a good thing. For gifts, books and past columns, please click here: https://chriserskinela.com/. Thank you!

10 thoughts on “Our Movie Moments

  1. Morning, Caroll. No, I hadn’t ever heard of yacht rock. Then again, all my yacht party invitations must have gotten lost in the mail. Ho hum, always a Catherine, never a Megan. I love that CE tells us he’s taking a week off. What a good faux employee. Or maybe he’s just trying to stave off rumors of his death.

  2. Up with the chickens, Maureen? Chris, you nailed it. Your columns qualify as “literature” for sure. Your amazing gift (besides your unique brand of wry humor) is that you shine a light on all the little moments of life, so we can immediately recognize their significance while they are happening. I am sure that after 20 years of reading your columns, I am much more appreciative of the people in my life and all those precious little moments as I live them. Thank you!

  3. Bon Voyage, Fare Thee Well, Excelsior, Come Safe Home, and as they say in Greece: Kalo taxidi. Until Next time, see you around.
    -J.
    PS I hated Field of Dreams

  4. Children as literature ? I dunno. Paperbacks and dime novels maybe. Lots of mysteries and how-to-do-it tomes, political thrillers sometimes—maybe. A poetry anthology or three? Perhaps. But literature, the stuff of the ages? And how do you know it’s great when you read it, before the critics of the lived-in life weigh in ? We all seem to have pride of authorship. Surely this puts us in the canon of parenthood; but as authors of literature ? The jury is still out, the Pulitzers of parenthood still to be awarded. Yet the literature of love is rife with our stories. All this is something to ponder as the bard of domestica goes on a brief hiatus. Bon voyage. And do a little reading of the tea leaves, to write your way foreword. Someone once told me such musings are the crucible of much new literature; so, why not ?

  5. That Burt Lancaster quote reminded me of this gem uttered by Andy Bernard from The Office. “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good ‘ol days before you’ve actually left them.”
    Best of luck to you and Smartacus as he heads off to college…I hope the move-in goes smoothly! Bring Kleenex.

  6. When the NY Yankees and Chicago White Sox entered the baseball field through the cornfield I felt moisture on my face and realized I was crying for family games of catch and so much more. Have a great week off.

  7. Chris
    The first time you leave a leftover in the fridge and it’s still there the next day , you will enjoy the empty nest !
    Plus your beer wine and booze last more than a week

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