You see them every year–veterans selling small paper poppies. Every year fewer of us seem to take note–we simply haven’t the time. We should take the time, however. For poppies, you see, are rather amazing flowers. Though they appear frail, they are quite valiant. Their seeds can remain underground, sleeping, for years. All it takes is a good churning of the soil to awaken them from their slumber. And that’s exactly what happened on the fields of Northern France and Flanders during WWI. Amid the death and destruction of the battlefield, red poppies began to bloom. One day Lt. Col. John McCrae, a physician from Canada, looked out over the crimson blossoms and penned the following:
In Flanders fields the poppies blow; Between the crosses, row on row; That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly; Scarce heard amid the guns below; We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved; and now we lie In Flanders field…
McCrae died a few years later–joining those of whom he wrote, with a cross marking his place, in a sea of poppies, far from home. But McCrae’s words continue to remind us of the countless men and women who have given their lives for freedom. They paid the highest price. The least we can do is be thankful for the sacrifice. So this Memorial Day let us take the time. Buy a poppy. Say a prayer. Remember.
So, I’m meeting a friend at the theatre on Saturday. We watch the movie and on the way out we chat about the Stepford Wives. We agree it’s creepy. We laugh. We part. I come back out to my car and parked next to me is a new Beetle. Now Beetles are usually friendly fellows – they tend to make you smile with just one look. This one, however, gave off an air of sinister. Why would you say such a thing? I will tell you why – because the whole back window was filled with mannequin heads. GASP! It was morbidly disturbing. So I did what any rational person would do – I took a picture. I ever-so-inconspicuously held up my cell phone, looked the other way, snapped the picture, jumped in my car and quickly drove away. Who knows what would have happened if I had stuck around …
Oh, and in case your wondering why said picture is not posted – here’s the thing: I got a new cell phone. And I can’t figure out how to download. Pitiful, I know. Therefore, only close, personal friends get to view the alarming image – the rest of you must rely upon your imagination …
The gist: Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day is the story of a day in the life of Guinevere Pettigrew (Frances McDormand) – a dowdy, down-on-her-luck governess. The daughter of a minister, Miss Pettigrew feels it her duty to speak her mind about her employee’s indiscretions, attempting to get them on the straight and narrow. Needless to say, such “helpfulness” is not-so-very appreciated; when she is fired from her third assignment, the employment agency refuses to be of further service. So she steals an assignment – becoming social secretary to Delysia Lafosse, an American actress. Suddenly her life is anything but boring. But it is her truthfulness and concerned meddling – the very things that got her in trouble in the first place – that will ultimately save the day.
My take: I LOVED this movie. To anyone who has called me a throw-back … or even thought it … this will come as no surprise. Set at the dawn of WWII England, I loved the setting, the styles, and the music. That much is given. But it’s so much more. The story (based on the novel by Winifred Watson) is heartfelt; the screenplay (written by David Magee and Simon Beaufoy) simply charming. Bharat Nalluri’s direction depicts life on the verge of WWII like a symphony; and the actors bring a hint of magic as witnessed in films of the golden era. But that which holds it all together is the chemistry between Frances McDormand (Miss Pettrigrew) and Amy Adams (Delysia Lafosse). Given the nature of the two parts, lesser actresses would have been little more than annoying. Instead we are granted a rare glimpse at two opposing worlds – the carefree innocence of youth and the reserved wisdom of maturity. And oh that we should be so lucky to have our own Miss Pettigrew touch our lives.
An aside: Yes, this movie is a chick-flick. We had a pair of couples sitting behind us. As we were leaving the theatre the “boys” were bemoaning the fact that they had to endure such agony. The “girls” were of course trying to appease said boys by promising to go to 88 minutes on the next go around. Of course, most of the comments from the peanut gallery came from the guys behind us. And they were not snide remarks, I might add. So whether they would ever – in a MILLION years – admit it, they too were engrossed in the film.
According to www.on-this-day.com it’s important to note, on this day in history, nineteen-hundred-ninety-nine, Fabio was hit in the face by a bird during a promotional ride of a new roller coaster at the Busch Gardens theme park in Williamsburg, VA. Fabio received a one-inch cut across his nose. I kid you not. This is actually listed alongside the Eiffel Tower opening, Ford debuting its V-8 engine, and Germany beginning its counter-offensive in North Africa.
So here’s my question: What the?!!!
It’s not like comacazi fowl are unusual. Please. And theme parks?! Dangerous ground my friend, dangerous ground. I remember going to The Lagoon when I was young. There I was … sitting on a park bench with a friend … enjoying a snack or two … when I felt something plop-a-top my head. At first I thought it was a bird with gastric distress. But then I looked up. There they were. Two boys. Hovering well above my head they were laughing and pointing. They thought they were hysterical–as boys so often do when they do something unbecoming, like spit on a girls head!
Of course, as said girl, I can tell you boy spit was ten-times worse than bird poop could EVER be. I was ruined. Ruined.
Guess I should just be thankful that particular low-point did not make it on a list of historical events–at least none that I’m aware of …