April 8, 2010

"I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship"

Humphrey Bogart, that handsome devil. I watched Casablanca for the first time recently with my dear ol poppa Bruce. Yes, fellow Americans, I had not seen it before. Had you asked me previous to this I probably would have lied and said something like, "oh yeah, I've seen parts of it, but I can't really remember it." Lying. It's a problem. I'm working on it. Stop beating the horse, it's dead already. Anyway, I loved it. I'm thus hooked and would like to watch all of the acclaimed 'classics.' If any of you lovelies have any suggestions, please tell me, for in the near future I will not be hating my existence that's consumed with tests/exams/papers/articles/elitist professors, etc and will have time to watch movies and read books! I know, lets not count those chickens, they're still cookin in their hard shells. And yes, I do have a crush on Humphrey, no clue really what it is, but he's got that old fashioned, hardened mystique to him that makes me feel like I understand how my grandma could have been hormony (Matt's coined phrase for hormonal/horny) at some point.

Azul and Purple Pansie - A Rocky Romance

When I returned from spring break I was feeling a tad saddened because of my inevitable return to the dastardly cold. But, to my utter delight Shirls had a surprise for me to help in my re-adaptation to the chilly conditions. KITES!!! I haven't flown kites in forever and I was giddy as a school girl (I feel like a hypocrite saying that phrase....cause I am a school girl, and rarely do I find that to be the reason for any giddyness). This also made think, "DUH! it's always windy in H-town, why did we never fly kites?" This then made me mad at my ancestry, not because they did not suggest it, but because of their non-innovative genetics that would make me not think of it. Rotten genes.
Anyway, it was the most beautiful evening, seriously, as good as it gets, prime, one in a million and tons of other cliches that demonstrate a perfect evening. Azul, the blue kite, flew like an all-star. Purple Pansie, the more complicated of the two, proved to be troublesome and we never did get her flying. We even put a meal at Rodizzios on whoever could get her to see past her stubbornness and get airborne. To no avail.
On a more spiritual level, this perfect evening with a beautiful sunset and good times made me think of a story my dad tells about kites. For those of you who know the pants of my family, Bruce is an amazing public speaker. He tells stories better than cheech and chong smoke weed, beckham bends the ball, or finals stress me out. I found the story he tells, and to be honest, he tells it way better than it is written, but I'll share it with you cause ...well, there need not be an explanation for every blasted thing


The tree is Shirls bitter enemy, he got the kites stuck in there multiple times. And I was the one being reprimanded for flying poorly. Bah!

The Day We Flew The Kites
The day we flew kites "String!" shouted Brother, bursting into the kitchen. "We need lots more string." It was Saturday. As always, it was a busy one, for "Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work" was taken seriously then. Outside, Father and Mr. Patrick next door were doing chores. Inside the two houses, Mother and Mrs. Patrick were engaged in spring cleaning. Such a windy March day was ideal for "turning out" clothes closets. Already woolens flapped on back yard clotheslines. Somehow the boys had slipped away to the back lot with their kites. Now, even at the risk of having Brother impounded to beat carpets, they had sent him for more string. Apparently, there was no limit to the heights to which kites would soar today. My mother looked at the sitting room, its furniture disordered for a Spartan sweeping. Again her eyes wavered toward the window. Come on girls! "Let's take string to the boys and watch them fly the kites a minute." On the way we met Mrs. Patrick, laughing guiltily, escorted by her girls. There never was such a day for flying kites! God doesn't make two such days in a century. We played all our fresh twine into the boys' kites and still they soared. We could hardly distinguish the tiny, orange-colored specks. Now and then we slowly reeled one in, finally bringing it dipping and tugging to earth, for the sheer joy of sending it up again. What a thrill to run with them, to the right, to the left, and see our poor, earth-bound movements reflected minutes later in the majestic sky-dance of the kites! We wrote wishes on slips of paper and slipped them over the string. Slowly, irresistibly, they climbed up until they reached the kites. Surely all wishes would be granted. Even our Fathers dropped hoe and hammer and joined us. Our mothers took their turn, laughing like schoolgirls. Their hair blew out their pompadour and curled loose about their cheeks; their gingham aprons whipped about their legs. Mingled with our fun was something akin to awe. The grownups were really playing whith us! Once I looked at Mother and thought she looked actually pretty. And her over forty! We never knew where the hours went on that hilltop that day. There were no hours, just a golden breeze now. I think we were all beside ourselves. Parents forgot their duty and their diginty; children forgot their combativeness and small spites. "Perhaps it's like this in the kingdom of Heaven," I thought confusedly. It was growing dark before, drunk with sun and air, we all stumbled sleepily back to the houses. I suppose we had some sort of supper. I suppose there must have been a surface tidying-up, for the house on Sunday looked decorous enough. The strange thing was, we didn't mention that day afterward. I felt a little embarrassed. Surely none of the others had thrilled to it as deeply as I. I locked the memory up in that deepest part of me where we keep "the things that cannot be and yet they are." The years went on, then one day I was scurrying about my own kitchen in a city apartment, trying to get some work out of the way while my three-year old insistently cried her desire to "go park and see ducks." "I can't go!" I said. "I have this and this to do, and when I'm through I'll be too tired to walk that far." My mother, who was visiting us, looked up from the peas she was shelling. "It's a wonderful day," she offered; "really warm, yet there's a fine, fresh breeze. It reminds me of that day we flew kites." I stopped in my dash between stove and sink. The locked door flew open and with it a gush of memories. I pulled off my apron. "Come on" I told my little girl. "You're right, it's too good a day to miss." Another decade passed. We were in the aftermath of a great war. All evening we had been asking our returned soldier, the youngest Patrick Boy, about his experiences as a prisoner of war. He had talked freely, but now for a long time he had been silent. What was he thinking of -- what dark and dreadful things? "Say!" A smile twitched his lips. "Do you remember -- no, of course you wouldn't. It probably didn't make the impression on you it did on me." I hardly dared speak. "Remember what?" "I used to think of that day a lot in PW camp, when things weren't too good. Do you remember the day we flew the kites?" Winter came, and the sad duty of call of condolence on Mrs. Patrick, recently widowed. I dreaded the call. I couldn't imagine how Mrs. Patrick could face life alone. We talked a little of my family and her grandchildren and the changes in the town. Then she was silent, looking down at her lap. I cleared my throat. Now I must say something about her loss, and she would begin to cry. When she looked up, Mrs. Patrick was smiling. "I was just sitting here thinking," she said. "Henry had such fun that day. Frances, do you remember the day we flew the kites?" -- Frances Fowler

7 comments:

Sara Soda said...

If you're into watching b&w oldies, try Citizen Kane. I watched it and thought it was pretty good, but it's #1 on the AFI (American Film Institution) list of greatest movies of all time. Followed by the Godfather, and then Casablanca. (At least, that's what order they were in when I took a film class last year.) And is "Shirls" my grandma?
And yes, your dad is a fantabulous story teller. You should read the talk he gave at my grandpa's funeral. Makes me tear up every time...

Ty * April said...

Rachelle, This post is quite funny to me for a few reasons:
1. I just flew kites with my kids the other day because...
2. I was thinking of "The Day we Flew Kites" story that Dad always tells. (weird coincidence? I think not.)
3. I also have been wanting to watch some good old classic movies. WEIRD again. We must be related somehow.
* Although it is not a classic and really not super old, Ty and I watched Barefoot in the Park once for one of his English classes and we like it. It is an old Jane Fonda film from like the 60's or 70's.

How about Oklahoma or my favorite Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.

Still working on getting you those Easter pictures.

Ty * April said...

p.s. Do you remember the "I can Sleep when the wind blows" story? It's another one of my favorite stories that Dad always told.

Heidi said...

Loved the story. So I want more of these stories, so share.

Kyle and Emily said...

I to am in love with old movies. My mom has them playing all day everyday at the Wright household. Anyways some suggestions, If you like humphrey try The African Queen, An affair to remember (Cary grant crush:) Singing in the rain, White Christmas, Any Shirley Temple. Well if you need more just ask.

KELBY, ANGEL, & CONNER said...

Rach... did i ever tell you i love it when you leave comments on my blog? Well I do! You always make me smile. (That was sincere I promise :))Anyway. No i am not coaching soccer anymore... I had to quit because my baby is due in August...and I just felt like i couldn't do it. Anyway. We need to hang out sometime. I miss ya!

KELBY, ANGEL, CONNER, and BABY said...

So Rach... This is about 3 years late and totally off subject BUT I was doing some scrapbooking today, cause I am such a good little homemaker like that ;) And I ran across some pictures from my Bridal Shower that you threw for me. remember? Anyway... I got to thinking, "I wonder if I ever really told rachelle how thankful I am for that?" So three years later here it is... Thank you so much for throwing my bridal shower Rachelle! You are the best! It was a lot of fun, and it was nice to have your support when I was going through kinda a tough time in my life. Your are such an awesome friend. thanks for EVERYTHING! I love ya!

Angel :)