Monday, November 12, 2007

Wait For A Samaritan

Whenever a movie is described as a southern gothic, I've learned to expect that it will be very close to what passes for my normal life. Such was the case with Chrystal, a dark, lonely look into a world that I know all too well: desolation, maiming, lost love, and gallows humor. Billy Bob Thornton stars as a man who has killed his child and crippled his wife in a drunk driving accident. The plot is graceful, the characters deeply compelling. Much of the movie centers around Chrystal's (Billy Bob's wife) broken neck. While she can still walk, she has tremendous pain from her fused spine. This is where she believes that she carries her lost child. And while there is a lot of wicked behavior in the movie, there's an undercurrent of kindness and faith that flows beneath everything. At one point, two men from the University of Chicago come to the small southern town to research a book of folk music and get their car stuck in the mood. When the driver asks his blind companion what they need to do, he says, "Wait for a Samaritan."

Which I suppose we're all doing much of the time. Stuck in the ruts of our own suffering, digging ourselves deeper with each effort to get out, we often have to wait for help. I think about my old hometown, a place I could not wait to get away from. And how I get lonesome for it now from time to time, wishing that I could go back to my old block and see my neighbors from the past, those who have been dead for a long time. And those summer nights flickering like fireflies. Much as we try to catch them, they leave so soon. Whenever I visit now, the past enters me like a spike, forcing me to catch my breath, easing up when I see someone I recognize who knew me a long time ago and hasn't quite realized I've been gone.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"I'm not trying to stump anybody. It's the beauty of the language that I'm interested in.” Buddy Holly

Cocktail Hour
Drinking movie suggestion: Chrystal

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Monday! Congratulations to Mark for getting his license back -- watch out world, the walking man is back on the scene!


Brian in Mpls said...

It is a humbling experience to wake to the realization that help is never going to come...

Dick Cheney said...

Iran will never have nuclear weapons!

Charles Gramlich said...

I feel much the same way about my home town when I visit it now. It wasn't that I couldn't wait to get away. I loved it and probably would have been happy to stay. But once I was away the world changed me so radically that going back now is hard. And now I'd have a hard time living there. I think it's not even that I miss it so much, as that I miss myself at that age. I was a kinder, gentler, person.

John Wayne said...

It's not how fast you are that matters. It's how willing.

Billy Bob Thornton said...

Kind of spooky, ain't it?

Pythia3 said...

What a beautiful post, Michelle! I know those feelings all too well.
I love the way you describe going home . . .
"easing up when I see someone I recognize who knew me a long time ago and hasn't quite realized I've been gone."
That rings truer the older I get. When I was younger I was always trying to prove how much I had moved on and changed. The older I get the more I want to be seen through the eyes of someone who knew me back "when" and has no real knowledge of where I've been since then.
I'm always re-energized when visiting your blog and reading your posts! Your amazing energy is so alive and real and comes through in your words and on your page.
Thanks :)

Tim said...

Hey Michelle,
Great post! I can relate to your feelings about going home. For me it's a lot of anxiety, pain and pleasure at the same time. Things have changed so much that it makes it hard to go back, but when I start talking to one of the neighbors who still live there I can sometimes feel like things are just the same as they always have been, and wonder if the rut I was in there might just be preferable to the one I've made for myself since.

Anonymous said...

If only i can get you to spread wide open for me... going home would be heaven every day!!

the walking man said...

What are they writing movies with the specific details of my life in them now? The sequel will wind up with her having a second fusion lower down.

Detroit is my home, born and grown here but not matured here so much. when I left the west side at 17 I only went back at age 29 or so to buy my family house so my mom could leave. By then anyone I had grown up with was long gone spread out who knows where, suburbs or country. Never knew, never tried to find out, never really cared.

Now at 53 it's pretty sad to say I don't have any life long acquaintances but at least I learned to live in a place where every one of them were afraid to stay and be happy in it and concerned for it.