It's Poetry Sunday. This is usually when I share a #poem I've written, most often from the past, and expound on why I wrote it, what was happening at the time, and some thoughts on what it means (or, in particular, what it means to me). Today, I'd like to do something slightly different.
My wife, her middle daughter (whom she refers to as my daughter), and I took our youngest grandchild to her first movie yesterday. We saw "Christopher Robin," but Miss Evelyn (our esteemed guest of honor) simply referred to it as "Pooh."
This is the story of Miss Evelyn's first movie-going experience, and I might add, it was a first for me too.
My wife (right), Miss Evelyn (center), and me (left).
Photo taken by Evelyn's mother, Leah.
Miss Evelyn, Popcorn, and Pooh
Evelyn had been looking forward to seeing this movie for a week. I'm reasonably sure she had no clue what she was getting into, and neither did I when I agreed to go. I don't think my wife expected me to, and I might not have except that it had been a crazy week and I needed some relief. Miss Evelyn is always good for that.
Not quite two years old, she has her heroes. They include Elsa from "Frozen," Ali Baba from "Aladdin," whom she calls "Babua," and "Pooh." Well, who doesn't like Pooh? He was one of my first heroes, as well.
I liked the movie. It was cute. And it reminded me of how often adults, and I'm guilty of this for sure, sometimes forget that life is a string of moments through which we have no choice but to live. We can get so caught up in planning the future that we forget to live in the present. In that, the message of Christopher Robin was a delightful reminder. But the true joy came in watching Miss Evelyn enjoy herself.
We walked into the movie theater, got our tickets, and visited concessions (isn't that a requirement?). We got our usual big bucket of popcorn and some drinks. Miss Evelyn wanted to carry the popcorn, but I had to be mean and teach her about delayed gratification.
We were quite early, as you can tell from the above photo. As soon as we got into the theater, Evelyn perched herself (with some help) on her seat. My wife spent the entire movie holding the front corner of the seat because Miss Evelyn doesn't weigh enough to hold it down on her own. Immediately upon sitting, she asked for her bucket of popcorn.
I set the bucket in her lap. She dug her fingers in, retrieved a handful of popcorn, and shoveled it into her mouth. That part took no training.
For a not-quite-two-year-old, she did very well. She made it through the entire movie without a fuss, though I can't say she was completely quiet. She wasn't boisterous or obnoxious, but she did talk--at times, to the screen.
She could only sit for a little while, then she wanted down, so my wife or I would set her on the floor and let her watch from her feet. Then, after a little while, she'd want back up in her chair again. When she discovered her three adult companions sharing a bag of Twizzlers she decided she wanted some.
Now, none of us are brave enough to give Miss Evelyn a long string of rubber and expect her to bite off a bit, so I had to tear up little bite-sized pieces for her. After the first Twizzler, she'd reach into the bag and grab another one and try to tear it herself. Upon discovering she couldn't, she'd say "Hulp, hulp" while continuing the futile exercise of pulling at the Twizzler. Of course, Poppy came to the rescue every time.
My wife and I don't go to a lot of movies, but every now and then we like to treat our grandchildren. This time, it was Evelyn's turn. She enjoyed the movie, but I'm convinced that she enjoyed her popcorn and Twizzlers equally as much. And I, as well, enjoyed watching her enjoy them.
Below is the movie's trailer, and if you want my recommendation, I give it a thumb's up.
How I Got To Where I'm Going
I tried to think of an appropriate poem to share for this occasion, but the closest I could come was this old poem about old shows. I wrote it in December 2005. December 9th, to be exact.
My recollection of precisely what was going on at that time is a little rusty, but I believe I was at Fort Hood, Texas in a motel room with my wife. My National Guard unit was de-briefing after our year-long tour of duty in Iraq. My wife had been watching an episode of "The Waltons" and fell asleep. I wrote this poem.
If you aren't familiar with this old show, here's the theme song, one that has become easily recognizable to most Americans.
This poem, "The Old Shows," relies on some artifice. While I certainly don't mind watching episodes of the old shows with my wife, or mother, or another loved one, if I were to choose some way to pass the time for myself, these would not be my first choice. I'm more into science fiction, fantasy, dystopian literature, weird or unusual stuff, or something new and different--like farmpunk. Nevertheless, we are where we are at the times we are, and there's not much we can do about that.
One of the things I like about Winnie the Pooh is he so often reminds us of the simple things, and he can do it in a very simple way. For instance, when he says "I like to get to where I'm going by walking away from where I've been," one can't help but agree it's the best policy. "That's the way I do it," he adds. And my thought is, "Exactly."
I'd have never thought to write a poem like "The Old Shows." It's very much unlike anything else I've written, and certainly isn't my style. But there it is.
I think it was my way of re-adjusting to reality. I had just spent a year in a battle zone, stuck in a stone building with no windows, locked in a time warp with a group of men on a single-minded mission that few of us understood. Suddenly, I'm back at home. Rather, in a state of transition from the surreal environment of groupineering to the very real environment of wondering, what's next?
While I was gone, my wife had moved us to Pennsylvania where her family and our grandchildren were living. At the time, I had a two-year-old grandson and a one-year-old granddaughter. Evelyn was a long way off from being on anyone's mind.
Except for a three-year stint of active duty time in the 1980s, I had lived most of my life in Texas. On December 9, 2005, I was days away from driving 1,500 miles to a brand new life. I was 39 years old.
Time is linear. Life is not. My own life had very much been lived in avoidance mode. I avoided marriage until age 37. I avoided children, and I've never fathered any. I avoided many of things that most people call "life," or that, at least, make up a good deal of living. I avoided them because they just weren't me. Then, one day, I went looking for a wife. I found one, and she had three children.
Six months into my marriage, Uncle Sam called me to duty. I was in no frame of mind for that. But that came anyway.
So when it was over and it was time to get back to my life, my life was completely different than it was before. I had been single for 37 years; I was now married. I had no children for 37 years; I now had three, and a couple of grandchildren to boot. I had been a Texan for 34 out of 37 years; I was soon to become a Pennslyvanian. Operation Iraqi Freedom was the portal that transported me from one life into the other. Suddenly, I was a Walton. I was Christopher Robin. The adult one, the one who had lost his imagination.
My wife helped me get it back. My daughters, they helped. And the granchildren. I have had to learn a whole new way of living.
Leah, too, had been a Texan. Upon graduating high school, she left her father's house and moved in with my wife and me. I took her to take her driver's test--three times. I drove her to work and picked her up from work until she was able to do so on her own. When she wrecked her vehicle, I was the one who refused to drive her to work so that she would have to get behind the wheel again. I helped her move into her own apartment, and helped her move again when she left her dumb-ass boyfriend. When she got married, I, with her biological father, walked her down the aisle. And when Evelyn was born, I held the tot in my arms marvelling at the sight of her mother in her tiny little infant eyes. I made her a part of our family.
"The Old Shows" means so much more than mere words on a page. Is it a good poem? I'll leave that for you to judge. For me, it's not a poem. It's my life. My life in transition. My life on this side of the portal. The life I never imagined and that I didn't want to have, but now that I do, I'm glad I do. It's the Waltons and Christopher Robin and Miss Evelyn eating popcorn on the end of a verb.
Like Pooh, I like to get to where I'm going by walking away from where I've been. That's the way I do it.
The Old Shows
So now, I give you "The Old Shows." It's not much. Just a small part of me. And a whole lot of Evelyn, and Leah, and Theresa (my wife), Dylan, Savannya, and you--if you can see yourself. It's the life I've lived and the life I'm going to live. The life I didn't want and the life I wanted. The life I have and will always have. The lessons I've learned and will learn. Nothing much, only everything that matters. There's so much to hold in a bucket of popcorn.
I love those old shows:
The Waltons, Little House
On The Prairie, Bonanza.
They make me nostalgic
For a tougher time
When the lessons of life
Meant pain, like a cold, hard
Slap in the face. These days
I need coffee to get that
Kind of zing. Like the time
When Jim Bob thought
He didn’t look like a Walton
And John Boy took him
To the county courthouse.
A startling discovery,
To be sure, that the twin
Who didn’t live was as much
A member of the family
As Elizabeth or Mrs. Walton.
In childhood, questions abound
And the values of a more innocent
Time remind us of our long dead
Relatives who loved us more
Than we can imagine. And if it takes
A little heartache to get to the joy
Then I guess we’ll all have to suffer
A little loss along the way. In the end,
It’s not about the joy, the pain, the loss
Or even the lessons that we learn
But it’s all about the triumph
And the next great peace of mind
After the credits have run.
Review Me, Please
While you're here, check out some of my other poems:
- Two Poems: Battlefield Confession & Life
- Love and War
- Breakfast Talk
- We All Sing America Now
- Nocturne: Battlefield Sonnet
- 20 Acres
- The Journeymaker's First and Last Hope
- Old Goth
The backside 5 (my five latest posts):
- Farmpunk Flash Fiction Contest: The First EVER!
- Bitcoin Fell, Crypto Smells, Robinhood Laid an Egg ...
- What Is The Trade.io Liquidity Pool?
- Why Are Steemit Users Powering Down and Leaving?
- Trade.io Review: Do We Really Need Another ICO Platform?
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Animation By @zord189
created and used by veterans
with permission from @guiltyparties