Old Shows, New Shows: Miss Evelyn's First Movie Experience

in ulog •  last year  (edited)

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.

evelyn and popcorn at the movies
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.

blockurator


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I love those old shows too! And Winnie the Pooh has always offered me life lessons when I least expected them. I just wrote a post the other day about living in the moment, and @youhavewings responded with this:

“What day is it?” asked Pooh.
“It’s today,” squeaked Piglet.
“My favorite day,” said Pooh.”

Seems very fitting here too:)

As an aside, I'm submitting your post to c-squared; hopefully they pay you a visit for such a lovely post!

And most importantly, Miss Evelyn is darling :)

Thank you very much @lynncoyle1. We rather enjoy her company, as well. :-)

  ·  last year (edited)

I always felt like Pooh was a little mini Buddha wandering acacia wood speaking simple moments of doing.... and finding stillness. Well that's what I think as an adult, as a kid I thought he was a funny old bear.

Evelyn is such a cute little munchkin @blockurator, it always amazes me how children can hold a mirror up to us as adults and help us revisit the simple wonder of life, even if only for a moment

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.

What you say here reminded me of that experience I have had with my ex partners kids who were like my daughters for a time. The flip in perspective and focusing on life through the lens of a child's eyes.

A really interesting and thought provoking post. It resonates with me especially at the moment as I feel like I'm drawing to the end of that transitory period of my late 30's where life outlook deepens to a much more reflective state of being. Three or four years ago I wouldn't have got a lot of what you're talking about but now it rings out like a tuning fork, resonating. The poem is great as well and the way you describe where it comes from is excellent. Really enjoyed reading this :-)

Thanks @raj808. Your feedback is always enlightening in itself, and most welcome. Yes, I remember coming upon my late 30s and feeling that reflective tinge, but I think I hit it earlier even more--late 20s or early 30s--where I just knew there was to more to life than what I had, but where was it? It was like looking for a lost set of keys. You knew where not to look but didn't have a clue about where you should look, so you ended looking in all those places you knew they weren't, like, 15 or 20 times. Then life happens, and there are those keys!

It happens again later in life. Now I'm into my 50s and asking some different kinds of questions.

Thanks for stopping by. Yes, Miss Evelyn is pure joy. :-)

That seat looks like a little accident waiting to happen, really. How dedicated to hold the seat down all the while - And that bucket of popcorn! It's large enough for Miss Evelyn to get lost inside of, but hardly a size for all that joy you managed to fit into the poem.

Hello, excellent article! Greetings. Thanks for write. I'll be successful, reading you, I give you my vote. and if you can support me, continue and give me your vote I will be grateful ...

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This post was shared in the Curation Collective Discord community for curators, and upvoted and resteemed by the @c-squared community account after manual review.

such a beautiful story..and I love here expressions, looks like she isn't too happy sharing her bucket of popcorn. she is an angel <3 Love and gugs to her

She actually didn't mind sharing, but she had to hold the bucket. It was fun watching her enjoy the movie-going experience. Thanks for the comment.

https://discord.gg/3VQVnZw

Here is the discord address. I have to get some sleep but if your there I will contect you

Thank you, sir. Also got it from our mutual outcast buddy. :-)

Yea I was half asleep when he told me. Wanted to make sure you got it before I passed out. Jai is a good guy
I upgraded you to member little bit ago when I woke up

Ok, thank you. :-)