Sunday, May 11, 2008

Is it just me, or ....

.... is there a certain sexual tension between Mary Poppins and Bert?

I love this movie! I'm so glad it's on this evening. While I enjoy it on its own merits, Mary Poppins holds a special place in my personal history. On a rainy afternoon more than 40 years ago, my parents took my sister and me to see it at the movie theater! The lights went down, the curtains parted, and the magic began. Movies have held me spellbound ever since.

Of a granddaughter and a grandmother

When she puts her mind to it, my niece can be a really spectacular kid. Yes, she wears too much kohl on her eyes. And she backtalks her parents something terrible. And she can be wound a little tight at times. But I think those are minor issues, completely standard for a high school freshman. Oh, she's caused us concern over more major issues, too, but today's not the day to contemplate those. Instead, today is the day she was confirmed in her community Lutheran church and I'm very proud of her.

Unlike other kids, her early girlhood didn't include being dragged to Sunday School against her will. For reasons all their own, my sister and brother-in-law decided against giving their kids any religious training at all. A little over three years ago, as she was entering adolescence, my niece insisted on learning more about God, on cultivating her spiritual side. She chose this church (where her late greatgrandmother had been a member) on her own and told her parents if they didn't take her to the services, she would ride there on her bike.

For three years' worth of Saturday mornings, she went to confirmation classes. Last year she (and her kid brother) were finally baptized. She did it all on her own and, amazingly enough, even after initially encountering resistance from her parents. And today, she was confirmed and can take her place as an adult in her church.

I left the Lutheran church more than a decade ago and have found my spiritual home at Unity Temple. That doesn't diminish my pride in her or her accomplishment. I believe that worship is a highly personal and individual affair. The important thing is that my niece is in touch with her spiritual side and has a fulfilling relationship with God. I am so proud of her.

So is my mother. She is still in the hospital and unable to attend this morning's special church service. But she is a proud and loving grandma. We compared notes on my niece: Was she nervous? Was she proud of herself? Did she enjoy the celebratory lunch afterward? We relived every moment. This, even though my niece had been to the hospital herself to see her grandma for Mother's Day.

My mom and my niece have a special bond that enriches them both, and that's worth celebrating on this special day.

I Love Him!

Last night, my beloved future Hall of Famer Greg Maddux burnished his Cooperstown creds, becoming the ninth pitcher in the history of the game to win 350 games. He needs only 5 more victories to be the winningest pitcher of the modern era (and to surpass Cheater McCheaty Pants Clemens).

Classy as always,* The Professor is quoted by as saying, "It was kind of cool. I don't want to make it out to be nothing, but it is May and we haven't been playing that good, and you just really want to win for the right reason and not necessarily for the wrong reason. We need to start winning as a team and hopefully tonight is the start of things to come."

This means he won't be pitching tomorrow night when I am in attendance at the Cubs-Padres game, but that's OK. I think the stress would be too much. (I've never cheered against the Cubs at all, much less while IN the friendly confines of Wrigley Field.) But, weather permitting, I will wear my Cubs 31 MADDUX jersey with pride. That's why I chose a photo of him in a Cub jersey for this post. I know fans in Atlanta will disagree with me, but to me, Greg Maddux will ALWAYS be a Cub.

* He is classy and softspoken with the press. He is known among teammates as a prankster, and a vulgar one at that. That's OK. I like the dichotomy. Greg Maddux reminds me of Otter, Tim Matheson's character in Animal House.