Monthly Archives: August 2011

Cut and Paste.

We all hopefully have had them in our lives…a perfect moment.  Whether it be the first time you held your child, or the first kiss with a life-long love.  They are magical moments that although fleeting, stay with us forever.  My blog has touched upon the seconds and minutia of everyday life, it has been a running theme in my posts if you have been with me since the beginning.

My OCD makes me obsess in the small things in my life, but I am convinced that the perfect moments are life itself, the true meaning of life. They are why we have evolved to be here in the first place.  Religious people will tend to think that the moments I am talking about are devine moments, moments of true inspiration.  The word “inspiration” has several different meanings, but the breath of a divine being…the intensity and purity of a moment is one way to perceive this unit of time I am writing about today.  I tend to regard the moment or moments as our reward for fighting through what can most certainly be a tough existence on this earth.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not getting all mystical on your ass, nor have I started to watch Joel Osteen on Sunday mornings.  I just want to express that I have these moments tucked in my jean pocket and I rely on them when times are hard. These short, cerebral films are touchstones for me, snippets of happiness, sometimes sadness, but perfectly edited.  Sadness you say?  Yes, sadness and sad memories can reach perfection as well.  When we are sad or devastated at some point in our lives, the level of sadness equals the level of loss.  For example when I am feeling sad over the loss of a loved one, what follows are moments of perfection that I shared with that person.  The bitter is always followed by the sweet.

One movie I have on my DVR is , Home for the Holidays, directed by Jodie Foster and starring Holly Hunter.  A grown woman goes home for Thanksgiving. The movie shows her dealing with real middle-aged problems as she comes face to face with her dysfunctional family for a holiday weekend.  I have watched the movie about 12 times because of two reasons.  First off, it shows me that there are other families as screwed up as the one I am in.  And secondly, it shows a scene about a perfect moment at the end of the film.

The great character actor Charles Durning plays the patriarch.  Toward the end of the film he is shown watching old 8mm films of his kids in the basement of his house.  The Holly Hunter character joins him for a talk and he tells her of one of his pieces of perfection that he keeps in his own pocket of memories.  Durning tells the story of working at the airport and one afternoon in the 60s his wife brought his 3 kids out to see where he worked.  He stood close to the tarmac with his kids and watched as a jet took off, rumbling over the family.  The father remembered holding tight to his kids, the squeeze of a hand, the exchange of excitement and love.  Raising 3 kids, now drastically different adults, those few moments he had held onto as tightly as the small child’s hand had grasped his so long ago.  Sixty seconds he guessed….approximately 30 years ago…the perfection sustained, the smile eases across his face.

As we get older we tend to pull these moments up more often, with time we increase the need because as we know, all is not perfect in this world.  I write this today knowing in my heart that my best moments are in front of me, not behind me.  I believe that the best day of my life has not occurred yet.  How wonderful a belief that is to me, because my history has some mighty fine moments!

I will leave you with this today.  If you don’t think you have enough of these mental vacations in your vault….look again.  They are not all births of children, marriages, or parachute jumps.  One of my moments came in May of 1981 in Oklahoma City of all places.  I was 18 years old and working for my softball coach in a summer job.  He owned a cookie company and I was driving a large van to OKC to deliver a load of chocolate chip cookies.  After the first week of working for the company, I never wanted to eat another cookie again…I think I broke their record!

The smell of the cookies was nice though and it was wafting to the front cab of this van.  I was driving down the road and I remember the song “Make Me Smile” by Chicago came on the radio.  I rolled down the window and the temperature was a perfect 75 degrees, cool for May I thought.  I felt like an adult in that moment doing something very adult-like.  I was making my own money and in college.  I had traveled to another state for the first time alone.  I was my own person for the first time, you know what I mean?  Sounds silly, but that cookie delivery was a benchmark for me….that moment was about 3 minutes of greatness.  3 minutes described 30 years later…..must have been friggin awesome.  It was……perfection.

Go ahead, sweat the small stuff….and file the good.  Your life is a motion picture and you are the editor.  Cut and paste at will, do whatever it takes to get through this…enjoy the scenes.

The Piggly Wiggly Theft.

Juju sat in the tan 1962 Cadillac and waited for her mother to exit the post office, she was six years old.  She was looking down at her coloring book when she heard the driver side door open and shut.  She began to ask her mother a question and looked up to meet the gaze of a complete stranger!  You aren’t my Natalie, the woman shrieked!  You are not my mother!

Juju and the woman simultaneously looked at the car next to the Cadillac, a tan Chevy Impala.  A teary eyed child had her face pressed against the window, her yelps silenced by the separation of glass.  The woman’s faced reddened and she made a hasty exit, switched cars and drove off.  Juju’s mother exited the building and now was seated inside the car looking for her keys in her purse.  Juju stated, “you know there was another mommy in here while you were gone.”  Oh yeah, her mother asked…where is she now?  “She drove off with the other kid.  I am the right kid for you.”  Yes you are dear, now we have to go to Piggly Wigglys for some grocery shopping.

Grocery shopping was pretty fun stuff Juju thought.  She liked the cereal aisle and all the stuff at the ends of each aisle tended to be good too.  Juju’s goal today was to get her mother to buy a boxed Chef Boy-ar-dee Pizza mix, in addition to the obligatory two boxes of fish sticks she required a week.  Juju had made the brave decision to insert this particular boxed pizza into her daily diet of fish sticks for one reason.  Chef Boy-ar-dee had his picture on the box and he looked surprisingly similar to her dad.

Juju wondered if all chefs looked like her dad?  This guy had the same hat, mustache and handkerchief around his neck.  Plus the pizza was plain cheese, Juju’s favorite.  She didn’t like cheese on a sandwich or hamburger, but on pizza is was just right.  It was made with just the red sauce and sprinkles of fake cheese, the absolute best fake cheese though, for sure!  Juju thought her mother would be happy too, she was willing to try real Italian food.

With a minimal amount of negotiation, (Juju was child number seven), the boxed pizza was securely in the basket beside the two green boxes of Mrs. Paul’s fish sticks.  Juju had been eating nothing but the cylindrical white fish for the first several months of first grade. Juju’s mother had informed her that she would have to eat one piece a fruit a day for the entire week and then on Friday night she would help her make the pizza.  Deal!

Juju wandered up and down the aisles for a while, then met her mother at the check out line.  Something for the road was secreted in the front pocket of her blue shorts.  She had to lift up her skirt to get to her shorts underneath, but didn’t think anyone had seen her.  The shorts were required at Harrison Lane Elementary because boys and girls had P.E. together.  Juju heard the teachers talking that maybe the next year they and the female students might be allowed to wear pants!  Juju thought 2nd grade was going to be much better because of that one possibility!

The groceries were placed in the backseat and Juju and her mother took their places once again in the car.  The right mommy this time Juju chuckled.  Her mother, still not knowing what she was talking about, looked over to see Juju unwrapping something.  Juju was nonchalantly unwrapping one Brach’s Neopolitan candy with four more on her lap.  What on earth do you think you are doing!!  I didn’t pay for any candy Juju!  “But this candy is not in a box, everybody takes a piece, it’s free,” said Juju.  It is most certainly not free Juju.  You march your butt right back in the Piggly and give it back.  Be sure and say you are sorry!

Juju begrudgingly exited the Cadillac and walked back into the Piggly. carefully re-wrapping the piece she almost had in her mouth.  She walked up to the young bag boy in the starched white shirt and black bow-tie.  She handed him the candy and confessed her theft.  “I took this candy and didn’t pay for it. Will you accept my sorry?”  Yeah kid, it’s okay, said the pimply sixteen year-old, who himself probably ate 10 pieces of Brach’s a shift.

Juju’s mother spoke to her about shoplifting on the way home and said that people actually went to jail for it.  Juju was happy her mother had helped her stay out from behind bars, but still had a hankering for some candy.  As the car pulled into their drive-way on Oak Street, Juju’s mother patted her on the shoulder.  Remember you still have pizza for Friday, we can eat it and watch The Partridge Family.    That put the smile back on Juju’s face, Friday was nine fish sticks away!

Boy, what a day, the wrong mother had almost taken her and then the police could have thrown her in jail.  She wondered if Natalie’s mom would have let her keep the candy?  She had seen her mother eat grapes in the produce section before, she would go for those next time.  Wow, Juju did have the right mom after all.