Mary Beth Writes

I found an inexpensive, ethnic recipe for chicken, so I asked Len to buy a couple pounds of chicken legs or thighs while he was out. Humanely raised chicken breasts were the least expensive cut at the store he visited, he bought them.

So now I need to upgrade my recipe to be worthy of the meat he brought home.

This happens to me a lot. I have a somewhat energetic idea and the world responds with abundance, as if the world doesn't know how to do "just enough."

After we eat dinner, we will probably walk over to the free spring band concert at Carroll University. More “too much”.  

“The world is so full of a number of things, I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.”  (Robert Louis Stevenson)

Theology is everywhere.

(Call this next section “Move over, Miss Kitty”)

...

We watched (streaming) "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" last night. Maybe not a perfect movie, but profound anyway. If truth in art is what you feel and think about when it is over, this movie wins. You will not be sure what you want when it’s done; you will not be sure what you WANT to think. Good on them.

The lead character is an angry middle-aged woman who is rough, has violence in her, but also has amazing tenderness. That scene with the deer …

Art is about creating characters that draw us into them – and I loved Mildred. She legitimizes the anger and toughness in so many older, not-conventionally-pretty women who seldom get to be “the film”.  Len liked this movie a lot, but in different ways than me and I think that's curious.

It is one thing to say we appreciate diversity in art and culture.  Then you sit through a non-typical show, absorbing a story and feeling feelings. When you are horrified when she’s horrified. When you feel her violence in your own muscles and you feel your arm pull back, too. When you look around at the life you have built, and it doesn’t warm you. When you live by sharp words and seeing eyes and a fierce deep loyalty to your flawed children.

Then there was this which stuck out like a neon sign to me - and Len didn’t even notice.  (Watch for what the over-churched girls see.)

The deputy sees guys putting up the billboards after dark. The promise had been they would be up by Easter, it must be Saturday night before Easter and they are hustling to get it done per the contract.

The deputy sees this happening and calls the sheriff who is sitting at his dining room table with his wife and little girls. Because it’s dark outside, the white tablecloth, china, and silverware glow.

The sheriff swears at the deputy, "Why are you calling me in the middle of my Easter dinner?"

Easter is light. Easter is morning. Easter dinner is the one you eat with all your relatives.

I think this meal is Saturday night – which is Holy Saturday. Per tradition, that Saturday between the crucifixion and resurrection is when Jesus is in hell, fighting with Satan for the souls of humankind.

There is not one-to-one symbolism of the Christian story of Easter here and it is not an extended Bible story. But it borrows elements from the death and resurrection story people from the Christian traditions share... If you have seen the movie, consider the Bible story about when Jesus went away to pray alone to find courage for what he knew lie ahead. and he left his disciples to pray. That scene is in this movie, if you think about it,

This movie is about choices between revenge and forgiveness. And what those choices look like in a racist, sexist, violent world.

I especially appreciate that this time, in this movie, the exploration of these ideas are not portrayed by a tall white man with a laconic drawl. And that the strong woman living through it all doesn’t end her story by driving off a cliff.

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By coincidence, the Google Maps car happened to be driving through Sylva, NC, during the filming of the Billboard movie. This picture shows the aftermath of the fire at the police department (which was actually a consignment furniture store): https://www.google.com/maps/@35.3736202,-83.2234076,3a,75y,180.73h,83.57t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sF5FNtObh2Y_fHBhqqM3B8g!2e0!7i13312!8i6656?hl=en

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Let's go to Canada. It will be beautiful and convenient and nothing will get too crazy.

Hi! Len and I returned home at 1:30AM from our 15-day road trip through eastern Canada and Maine and more.  

In case you ever wondered, you CAN go to the “Glazed and Confused” donut shop in Syracuse, NY at 9 in the morning, peruse the  Erie Canal museum https://eriecanalmuseum.org/ and then drive back in Waukesha - all in one 16-hour day. We are generally closer to interesting places than we know.

But I get ahead of myself.

An afternoon in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario

Sault is a French word that mean topsy-turvy as in the rapids on the St. Mary river that tumbles between the US and Canada. Or summersaults. Isn’t that cute?

We walked a lot that first day. We thought the Ermatinger Clergue National Historic Site; which is two old houses that we wanted to see, were just around the corner from where we parked. Nope; more like two miles there and two miles back.  But it was a brisk day and after our hot, humid Wisconsin summer it was delicious to wear a jacket and not sweat.

Mountain Top Toddler

We drove to Chicago to help care for our 2-year old granddaughter. There is a lot going on in their family as is true of any family with a toddler, a new infant, and two working parents. Such as; my daughter went back to work the same week their daycare center closed for a 10-day break. A perfect storm of domestic hoopla. 

We only watched her from 7:30AM until 4PM on Monday and Tuesday. When our son-in-law came home from work, he took over. Other relatives are watching her the next few days. 

Here are three things I noticed about taking care of a toddler.

"Death Comes for the Archbishop" and How to drive to the Y without a map.

I read Willa Cather’s “Death Comes for the Archbishop” when I was in high school. I heard it was an important book which made me curious (still does), so I borrowed it from the library and read the whole thing.

It was mud. I didn’t care about the characters; two middle-aged priests who go to the American southwest to build and strengthen the Catholic church. Snooze. Nothing cohesive happens. They do a bunch of walking around in the desert followed by episodes of trying to be helpful a few days here, a few years there. Yawn.

When Weaving is NOT a Metaphor

I wrote this 12 years ago.  It's long and even I get confused as to what I wrote when one gets about half way through this  - and I was there!   But some of you will be interested to read how those "ethnic weavings" from Guatemala begin.  Next time you buy something hand woven, for less than $20, you will understand that price is not right.

.....

Retirement Smackdown

I just made a list of fourteen friends who have retired in the past five years. Of the fourteen, SEVEN retired early and abruptly when their employer’s business practices, for various reasons, changed or failed.

There is a myth out there that retirement is a fixed event with a date one knows years in advance. Then at the desired retirement age there will be a company party where one gets a memento from their employer - and after that they live aimlessly, trying to find purpose.  

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