Saturday, September 12, 2009

Movie Night

It was a rather basic plot that was repeated many times over in the imaginations of a handful of my young friends. It all started out with a single mother that represented the epitome of motherhood that was faced with the trials of raising an unruly sixteen-year-old daughter. The daughter was spirited, adventurous and wanted more for her life that her mother had. The secret underlying plot, was that the mother also wanted a different life, but had taken the high road after marrying her high school sweetheart, and then becoming an expectant mother. This mother’s ambitions became even more oppressed after the death of her husband and the complexity of raising a ten-year-old girl completely on her own. We will call this young daughter Mary.

The next branch of this movie plot involved an ironic polar opposite of the first branch, with a lot of it being the exact same. This was the single father whose loving wife had died, leaving him to raise a young son (whom we shall call Tim) completely on his own as well. This son would also be sixteen years old at the present time of the story. The son was a good son for the most part. He had been taught to drive and to shave by his father, but was in a big hurry to be an adult. His world would be turned up side down after meeting the heroine of the story.

That’s right, you guessed it: Mary.

Upon these two young people’s meeting, it was love at first sight. Mary, being the independent and somewhat obstinate young woman that she was, would pretend not to care about Tim, or even noticed that he existed. However, young Tim had been captivated by her intense spirit and had become instantly smitten. From that moment on, he would have to match her adventurousness and work to make her see that the two of them were destined to be together forever.

This new side to Tim results in his father’s increased concern for his son. It was not normal for Tim to not be interested in the weekly football game on TV. It was not like Tim to be secretive, reclusive and to be so incredibly preoccupied in his own thoughts. Was it drugs? What could explain this behavior?

Through a few clique scenes of extreme male strutting and a couple comical scenes of Tim making a complete fool out of himself, Mary realizes that she can no longer hold her feelings for the charming young man inside anymore. She takes a leap… and goes with her heart.

The romance is kept secret from the naturally concerned parents. But all is revealed in a climactic dramatization of feelings and tears that involves teenagers slamming the door and running out into the rain while weeping. Their parents called after them, but with no avail.

The crying teens find each other in the pouring rainstorm and pledge their love for each other promising that it will last forever! Then, in slow motion, they have their first kiss under the moonlight, and the pouring rainstorm that drenches them both. The parents of the young ones had chased after them, and met for the first time as they both, simultaneously learned that their children really did, truly love one another. Then, just before the credits began to roll, a spark seems to ignite between the single father, and the single mother as the dad says:

“Well, I think that we had better get used to the idea that our children are growing up. Would you like to get coffee with me at some point?”

The End

The viewers totally know where that’s going to go!

When I was eleven years old, the age of sixteen seemed to be so magical. It was the age I was so excited to become. I would be able to drive and would be able to be cool. I was so excited about this, even though it seemed to be so far off into the distant future, that I was able to make my friends just as excited about it too.

I played the part of Tim in this story, and my friend Joey, who was a year older than I, played the part of Tim’s father. My Sister Kelly, was the single mother and played the part amazingly. She was usually more excited about playing house that anything else at the time anyway. Katie was the heroine in the film and played the part of Mary to a tee. She was also a very spirited young girl that loved to ride her horses and make the boys blush.

The infamous scene in the rain actually took place under a sprinkler in Joey and Katie’s back yard. There was no moonlight. And, instead of a kiss, it was a series of almost kisses… no contact of the lips was ever made, except perhaps, purely by accident. We knew that we would get into trouble had there been an actual kiss, so we decided to get technical just in case of a parental inquiry. Our technicalities rarely worked.

It’s funny for me to think about Katie now. As children, we had decided that we would get married when we grew up. However, our families parted ways about the time that her parents got a divorce. A couple years ago I ran into her at the local Wal-Mart where I was greatly taken aback. The memories, the feelings, then… the embarrassment that she was probably remembering the same things. I don’t know if it was just my imagination, but after the initial “Hey!” I think that we both turned bright red.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

She's a Man Eater

The tone of this blog has sort of missed the mark that I was originally shooting for. The idea that I had upon creating this blog was to recount a lot of my memories in a fun and humorous manor. Instead, I seem to have come across a little too depressing. A friend of mine told me the other day that my last entry almost made him cry.


A different approach:

Many years ago, my parents had made the decision to home school my siblings and I. Soon after, it was decided to sign us up for some children’s Bible studies. It was really an excellent idea considering that we had no other real access to families that had made similar choices. As you are most likely aware, we were very close to our immediate family and spent a lot of time growing up and playing with our cousins, but they were not the best of influences considering their exposure to public education. Evolution was evil and my science textbook referenced Noah’s Flood while explaining the rain cycle. Public education was not good and we needed some more like-minded peers.

I will never forget the first day of Bible lessons. My mom drove us there in our Ford minivan and parked on a hill that I felt would eventually make the van roll onto its side. But it didn’t. I do not know where my mom met Anita (a very loud and large woman with the biggest heart and a most robust laugh that infected everyone around with smiles), but I know that she was the person that suggested this particular Bible study place. It was someone’s house in the middle of what seemed like a giant field of dead grass that all sloped toward a ravine. The lessons were taught by a really nice, but very old man, who I assumed lived in the house. Please keep in mind that I was nine years old and this man was probably only forty. But he seemed really old to me.

The old man had these amazing tokens that were awarded to the children that were the quietest and the most polite during Bible story time. I, however, was not able to earn one of these totally cool and shiny coin-like tokens because of a girl named Laci. She was a beautiful blonde that was a year older than I. It was the way I liked it back then. And, She really liked me too! She was constantly trying to get my attention while we were learning about Joseph’s coat of many colors, by poking me, ticking me, or making funny faces at me. Now, before you start thinking that this is really cute, let me tell you a little more about Laci.

Even though my judgment was slightly skewed at the time, I knew that Laci was bad news. She was pretty and knew that she could get away with just about anything. She had spirit too! And, she seemed to get some thrill out of making guys look like fools.

She intimidated me.

Laci was one of those girls that enjoyed leading a guy on just enough to get him to do or say something goofy simply to end up laughing at him. Of course this meant that she liked him, but it was a good way to establish who was in charge. She was what I now call a manipulative bitch. This brings me back to the part where she tormented me (in a very good way of course) during our Bible lessons. It made me fidget and giggle. It made the old man scold me. It made Laci laugh. I was her bitch and she liked it. This is all fairly complicated for a bunch of nine and ten year olds, but one hundred percent true. I must admit that I was totally in love with the attention!

The next week was our second Bible lesson at the strange house in the grassy field. I was so completely determined to earn a “good boy” token that I did the unthinkable. I completely ignored Laci. I didn’t move. I hardly breathed. It took every single part of my conscious effort to remain as still, and as quiet, as a young boy possibly could. I was so incredibly intent on getting a token that I do not even remember what we were taught that day, but I remember as clear as can be, the amount of mental concentration that I had invested. Time passed about as slowly as an evening spent watching “The Lonesome Dove” with people that you can’t stand.

It completely paid off and I was awarded a token at the end of the day. I half expected a little extra from the old man in recognition of the substantial level of stillness that I brought to the lesson, but instead, I was handed the token just as casually as the other kids that sat only almost as still as I did. But, I did not care. I had my treasure and would in fact treasure it for many weeks. It was stowed along with my other little and shiny treasures.

Laci still loved to torment me, and I didn’t mind as much after I won my token. I had gotten what I wanted, and decided that it was too much work to earn another. I would continue to chase after her and she would start this little game of “Hard to Get.” By the time that I was twelve, I had given up on the cute and bouncy blonde and had become much more interested in a tough, tomboy brunette. By this time, Laci’s younger and more awkward sister, Sara, had fallen in love with me. She was a very sweet and funny girl (I think that her humor developed because she lived in her older sister’s shadow), but I was not available.

I had my heart set on Katie the tomboy. She became the love of my childhood life and will be the center of some really fun stories to come!