Eclectic, quirky, and sometimes edgy…this is how things look from my front porch.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

 Last night I snuck out to see a movie at 10:15 p.m.  I haven’t seen a movie that late and by myself since I used to go to midnight showings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show in Greenwich Village.  Rocky Horror is a cult classic and, in New York City at least, audience members would dress up like characters from the movie, step to the front of the theater, and act out what was going on the screen. A Navy pilot named Doug Ord took me there the first time.

In addition to those who acted out Rocky Horror up front, there were certain moments during the movie when the  rest of audience participated by flicking lighters, holding a newspaper folded in half over our heads, and shooting squirt guns towards the front.  I never dressed up, but I was a mean shot with a squirt gun. They still show Rocky Horror like this every other Friday night at the Naro in Norfolk. The Marigold movie didn’t have audience participation except that I laughed in the dark theater where I was the only customer.

 I stepped up to purchase my ticket and a breathless young woman with an Afro ran to her place behind the glass, accepted my payment, and slid my ticket through the opening.   This always reminds me of purchasing a subway ticket back in the day before the ATM-style machines I now use when in New York. I entered the theater where the still breathless girl raced to meet me on the other side and took the ticket.   Somehow I found this comical.

The Marigold movie was a delight, a tale about British ex-patriots of retirement age, who due to reduced circumstances, need to find a lower cost of living.  It was a story of really radical, beyond coupons, downsizing.  The hotel looks glossy and inviting in the brochure, but the actual circumstances are less than ideal.  The incomparable Maggie Smith and the amazing Judi Dench as well as the other actors draw you into an engaging story.  The cinematography of exotic, colorful India was breathtaking.

There was an important Christian message in the movie, despite Hollywood’s best efforts to disguise it.  The same message as my last post, “Godliness with contentment is great gain.”  I was also reminded of the Apostle Paul’s letter written from prison in which he shares that he has learned to be content in all circumstances.

One character was jarred by the cultural differences and anger at the loss of her husband’s retirement account.  Her fear and pain manifested as a critical and repellent attitude.  Other hotel guests avoided her and she derided her husband with caustic comments.  She turned to sin to fill her broken life with disastrous results.

Judi Dench’s character was bewildered by the financial mess her late husband made, but brave and hopeful in facing the future with an open heart.  She ultimately found a new life in India, with adventure, friends, and loved ones.  Other guests wanted to be with her; they sought out her company.  Her sweet nature and life experience led to employment which she desperately needed and a new love in her life.  That employment stemmed from a painful experience which she used as a teaching moment in her life rather than a root of bitterness in her heart.

Two women, facing the same circumstances...the ultimate outcome all stems from attitude.

I should sneak out to the late movie more often, for God’s lessons await in the most surprising places.  “See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness, springing up, causes trouble, and by it many be defiled”?  Hebrews 12:15

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

If Your Every Day Life Seems Poor...

Don't blame it, blame yourself, for you are not poet enough to call forth its riches.
(Ranier Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet)
I was disappointed, because the new Farmer's Market wasn't what I expected...too expensive, too homogenized. I suspect that things marked locally grown were not.  The last Farmer's makert I shopped in was in New York City, near the Flat Iron Building. Lush purple grapes, eggs from heirloom variety chickens in Martha Stewart colors, clover and lavender honey from New Jersey, aritsan bread and cheses from Upstate, and piles of fall squashs tumbling on top of each other on beds of straw.  Okay, I'm  Farmer's Market Snob, I admit it.

Godliness with contentment is great gain.  I looked for some contentment, for beauty, for something to photograph and found a magical nature trail along the path of the the Suffolk Coastline Railroad.  I would have missed this if I hadn't held my plans loosely.

 These lillies of the field grew on a slight hill along a street in Suffolk.  My day would have been diminished without them.  They were part of the richness that I enjoyed that day.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Bermuda Hundred

I am blessed that my family has a sense of history.  I know how and why my great grandfather, Thomas Beausang, came to the United States from Cork, Ireland on HMS Teutonic (fortunately not the Titanic), but the same White Star Line.  I sit on my grandmother Helen's green needlepointed chair every day,  I have an inside window box in my kitchen that was my grandfather Dunn's wooden toolbox.  And I have three chairs that belonged to my second great grandfather who served in the Union Army during the Civil War. 

Second Great Grandfather Galvin was captured by Rebel troops during the Battle of Bermuda Hundred in May, 1864, escaped and walked back to his home in Connecticut.  Yesterday, completely by chance in a meandering drive to enjoy a glorious spring day, I found Bermuda Hundred, outside of the state capitol of Richmond. You can see above that it was settled in 1613.  One of the original residents was John Rolfe, Pocahontus' husband. Amazing, no?  They walked there where I walked yesterday.

It is all peace there now; no echoes of the agonies or the blood spilled as Union troops tried to get a foothold.  Well, I call them Union troops, some local historic signs refer to them as "federal raiders."

However, 140 years ago, my second great grandfather and many others fought here to preserve the Union.  I cannot imagine his terror at being captured by the enemy, so far from home.  It happened to him on that spot where my sandaled feet felt the dust of the road and the breeze from that same river bank location fanned my own face.  My spirit resonated with his, perhaps because of our shared portion of DNA or perhaps because I had heard about him for my entire life.  A descendent he never thought about in a United States he could have never dreamed possible...walking where his boots had marched.

The current homeowners of this stretch of land along the river, the Gray family, keep bees here now where once the Civil War raged and the bees buzz about, unaware.

If you look closely, you can see a red tug boat beyond the bee skeps, across the water.  I dearly love red tuggies.