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”)

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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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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.  

Cahokia

Last week we went to Cahokia with our pals, Otis and David. Our Corps of Discovery (not to be confused with Lewis and Clark’s expedition of the same name) started because, at my daughter’s request, Otis had sewn a quilt for her. Len and I decided it would be fun to drive to the central Illinois village where he lives to pick it up, thus saving them the fortune it would cost to ship it.

And if one is going to be tootling down along the Mississippi River, why not hop on down to Cahokia, across from St. Louis?

I mean, how much further can it be? 

4th Thoughts

I’m reading a new book about the Upper Midwest, late 1500’s - 1750ish.  The book is Indian Women and French Men; Rethinking Cultural Encounter in the Western Great Lakes, by Susan Sleeper-Smith - and I am reading it as avidly as my granddaughter listens to story hour. 

This is from the introduction: “In kin-based societies, behaviors change as people struggle either to attain or retain symbolic capital – what people sense as honor, prestige, respect, or authority.”

Pastor Betty Rendon has been Deported by Our ICE

This is on Facebook this morning:
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 Here is a message posted by Pastor Betty Rendon, who landed yesterday in Bogotá after being d

Spring is Blooming!

Please click into this PDF to see a lot of photos and a few quotes and poems about what's blooming!

In Honor of Honor

Here we are at Memorial Day again. This is a time to honor those who have given so much to and for our nation. In honor of their honor - here are some of my thoughts and actions. 

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Some of you already know about this. If you don’t, please read the Sun-Times article.

Pastor Betty Rendon was arrested by ICE early in May in Chicago. She was a student pastor at Emaus Lutheran in Racine and just beginning her work on a Ph.D.

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