Sunday, September 09, 2018

Attention must be paid

In 1994, when Burt Lancaster died at age 80, my grandmother was bereft. I was surprised, because she had never expressed any affection for him before. She seemed to go for the Latin lovers that were popular in the old days -- Fernando Lamas, Riccardo Montalban, and most of all, Cesar Romero.

"You don't understand," she said sadly. "Even my movie stars are dying." My dad (her son) was gone. Her husband, her sister and parents were gone. And now, even Burt Lancaster, who was crazy popular in her regular movie-going days, was gone.
I know how she felt. Burt Reynolds died this past week. Between 1978 and 1982 -- for five straight years -- he was the #1 movie star in the world. So even though I wasn't a fan, I have memories attached to his movies, his talk show appearances, and magazine covers ("Will Burt marry Dinah?" "Will Burt marry Sally?" "Loni vs. Burt: Hollywood's Nastiest Divorce.").

And so, in tribute to one of the lions of my girlhood, I share this TCM tribute.

Sunday Stealing

Food questions from Facebook

1.   Ever had ramen noodles? How do you fix yours? Do you add anything to them?   I just add the little envelope of seasoning that comes in the package.

2.   Do you like spicy foods? No. Irritates my tummy.

3.   Crispy or grilled chicken on your salad?
Grilled. Though I prefer cubed ham.

4.   Do you like corn on the cob? Oh, yes!

5.   Pumpkin or apple pie?
Depends on my mood.

6.   Dinner rolls or crescent rolls? Nice, flaky dinner rolls

7.   How do you like your eggs?
Over easy or poached

8.   Most expensive meal you have ever eaten?
Chicken dinner at Roister.

9.   Do you like stir fry?

10.  What kind of pots and pans do you use?
As few as possible.

11.   Do you like Brussel sprouts?

12.   Canned or fresh tomatoes?
I hate tomatoes.

13.   BBQ Chicken or Ribs?
I like both.

14.   Do you like coffee?
Hate it even more than tomatoes.

15.   Cupcakes or ice cream cake?
Cupcakes. It's the frosting.

16.   Hot dogs or polish sausage?
Hot dogs.

17.   Do you like cinnamon toast?

18.   Do you eat dinner at the table or in front of the TV?
I eat at the dining room table but I can see the TV.

19.   Do you like to BBQ?
I don't like cooking.

20.   Do you like cold cuts?

21.   Do you like rice? Fried rice, yes.

22.   Macaroni and cheese?

23.   Key Lime Pie?

24.   Favorite Fair/Carnival Food?

25.   What kind of gravy do you like?

26.   Jalapeno Poppers?

27.   Broccoli/Chicken Alfredo?
Chicken Alfredo

28.   Do you like cottage cheese?

29.   Do you like lasagna? Sure

30.   Do you like hard boiled eggs?


So that makes four of us

Last night my movie Meet Up got together and saw a nice, fluffy film from 1936, Theodora Goes Wild. The movie was fine, but it wasn't what made the evening memorable.

Four of us are going to the TCM Classic Film Festival this spring! Will, Betty and her daughter, and me. The three of them have attended before -- Betty/Lauren last year, Will for several years running. It sounds perfect for me, for it was agreed that we'll each do our own thing, seeing the movies that we individually want which could take us on separate paths. But there will also be someone there I can ask for guidance, for help if I get lost or in trouble, for camaraderie if I feel the need for it.

If only every trip offered me exactly this. For, truth to tell, I get so annoyed with people when I spend too much time with them. I've lived alone too long to live with anyone.

So why am I annoyed

Last evening, the Windy City was sporadically very windy. While I was waiting for a very long light to change, I saw a black woman in a wheelchair, festooned with bags. Those bags led me to believe she was homeless and the bags are her belongings. The woman asked a chic lady of color to help push her Walgreens drugstore on the next corner. The lady refused and then incongruously started screaming -- and I mean really yelling -- for a cab to stop and pick her up.*

So there sat the woman in the wheelchair, her belongings flapping in the wind. The green arrow turned yellow, so I knew the walk light was next. I don't know why the woman didn't ask me for help, but as I stood there near her, waiting those last few seconds for the light to change, it seemed that I knew what I should do.

"Excuse me, ma'am," I said, "Do you need help?"

"You could push me to Walgreens," she said. I stood there for a second, expecting a "please" or "thank you." It was not forthcoming.

So I began to push her wheelchair up the street to the drugstore. I was wondering how I would get through the revolving door. I worried this would make me late I'd be for my movie MeetUp. I was struck by how vulnerable she was: she didn't know me and I was in charge of her safety.

When we got to the corner, she saw someone she knew outside Walgreens -- a man also in a wheelchair -- and she said, "OK. Stop. Thank you." I walked away.

On my way to the movie group, I was alternately pleased and annoyed by my deed. Pleased because I try to do good. I try to live the kind of life that would please God. I try to be more Melly than Scarlett. Pleased that even though I'm a fat old lady with a bad knee, I'm still able to help.

But annoyed because she was so ... cold about it. Is it because I'm white? I can't help but notice that she asked the camelhair-clad black woman beside me for help but not white, jean-jacket clad me. She didn't say "please" at the beginning of our ride and made no attempt to make eye contact with me at the end. I treated her with respect, and didn't feel I was respected in return.

There's a verse from The Book of Matthew that bugs me: Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in Heaven.

By being annoying with this woman for not treating me with the same humanity I showed her, am I merely respecting myself? OR am I just being silly and vain, upset that my I didn't receive more gratitude for my good deed?

*I remember thinking, "I bet she wished she could whistle like Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's."