Thursday, June 18, 2015

Please Forgive Me Meryl Streep

I didn’t start out hating Meryl Streep!

I don’t know Meryl Streep other than through her movies. I have never met her and probably never will. I’m sure she has never heard of me and could care less how I feel about her.


I feel I owe her an apology.

You see, Meryl Streep is too damn good an actress.

It all began in 1979 when I was young, watching her in the movie Kramer vs. Kramer.  This was an amazing movie with a great cast: Dustin Hoffman, Jane Alexander, Howard Duff and of course Meryl Streep.  Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep won Oscars for their roles and the movie won three others including Best Picture.

Herein lies the problem; Meryl Streep and Dustin Hoffman were just so good at their jobs that I ended up associating their characters in this movie with them.  I could never see Hoffman and Streep in another movie for the rest of my life without thinking Kramer and Kramer.

Being a young guy, I totally bonded with Dustin Hoffman’s role in this movie as he struggled to take care of his son after his wife abandoned him.  I winced as he lost his job and had to find another lesser job fast as his wife had come back by now and was suing to get custody back.

Now that I am older and hopefully wiser, I realize that forces that work between a man and a woman in marriage are very complex and when you throw a child into the mix it complicates the situation even more.  Now, I think I could watch a story like Kramer vs. Kramer and hopefully see both sides of the situation. In fact, I am an author that writes about just these types of complex situations.

At twenty six, like many people my age, I saw the world as black and white and I saw red as the court awarded custody to the Meryl Streep mother.  I was so righteously enraged that I watched the rest of the movie through a crimson haze.

I was so mad at the Meryl Streep character in that movie that for many years I refused to watch any movie with Meryl Streep in it as no matter what part she was playing, it reminded me of her character in Kramer vs. Kramer.  My loss, as Meryl Streep is a magnificent actress.

Fast forward thirty years and I’m discussing that horrible movie with my daughter and she decides she wants to watch it.  As a good father, I agree to watch it with her.

An amazing thing happens!

Watching the movie through older and wiser eyes I’m not so enraged at the court decision in the movie and I actually am able to absorb the final scenes.  To my horror, I realize that at the end of the movie, the Meryl Streep character sees how much the Dustin Hoffman character loves the little boy and changes her mind and lets him keep the child.

For all the horrible thoughts I have had towards Meryl Streep over the years I sincerely apologize.

It’s a happy ending though, as I got to catch up on thirty years of great Meryl Streep cinema!


If you liked this blog post I know you will love my Hating God Trilogy. Please go to Amazon where you can read for free “Hating God”, “Ignoring God”, and “Loving God” if you subscribe to Kindleunlimited.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Before Cell Phones

Do you remember what it was like before cell phones?  I’m not talking about not being able to post your latest adventures on Instagram, I’m talking about not being able to call someone.

This is a story before cell phones and before electronic ignition for that matter.

It was 1975 and I was leaving the northeast in my almost new Opel Manta on my way to Mississippi where I was going to enter pilot training at Columbus AFB. When you traveled back then, it was always good to have a lot of cash on hand as finding an ATM was almost impossible; Of course, fifty bucks was a lot of money back then.  I could fill the tank of my Manta fifteen times with fifty bucks.

I was cruising at seventy mph down the highway somewhere in Appalachia when all of a sudden my engine shut off.  No problem; I depressed the clutch and coasted a mile to the next exit.  It was one of those long winding off-ramps, but I was not worried as I still had enough speed to cruise the final two miles to the end of the off-ramp.

I then encountered something I never imagined in my life that I would ever find at the T-intersection at the bottom of a major highway off-ramp; a dirt road!  Not a dirt road with a gas station, but a dirt road with nothing in sight in either direction.  

In my short life up to this point, I had never exited a highway and not found a city of 100,000 people or more.  I was a little stumped, but hey, I was a brand new college graduate and I should be able to figure something out, so I pulled my car over to the side of the dirt road and got out.

I opened the hood and tried willing the engine to start to no avail.  I was getting a little anxious as it hadn’t been too many years before that I had seen the movie Deliverance and the phrase “squeal like a pig” kept running through my mind.

What was I going to do?  I had just about decide to walk the two miles back up the off-ramp to the highway and hope to thumb to the nearest civilization when I spotted two young boys, about sixteen years old,  walking my way.

I should say that I saw Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn walking my way; bib overhauls with no shirts, no shoes, straw hats and of course, bamboo fishing poles.  Was I dreaming?

I saw a problem right away when we started trying to communicate.  These boys had such thick Appalachian mountain accents that I only understood one word out of three. Eventually, I got my tool kit of my trunk and got a screw driver out for them relying almost entirely on sign language.

Evidently, the points in my carburetor had closed and with a little fiddling, they were able to get the engine running again.  I was so happy to be able to get out of there that I would have promised them my first born child, but they refused any attempt I made for compensation; they probably got enough enjoyment over the years telling the story of the Yankee who didn’t know one end of a screw driver from the other.

I thanked them again, waved goodbye headed back to the highway where I made my way to Mississippi where I learned many more life lessons south of the Mason Dixon line.

Sure would have been nice to have had a cell phone back then, but then I probably would have been out of service!
If you liked this blog post I know you will love my Hating God Trilogy. Please go to Amazon where you can read for free “Hating God”, “Ignoring God”, and “Loving God” if you subscribe to Kindleunlimited.