Sunday Morning ~ The Glad Game
Madzi adzala, mlamba usekera. ~ The waters become plentiful because of all the side rivers.
~ Chewa proverb
September 6, 2020
My granddaughter is with me for two weeks, her delayed start of school turned problem into gift for me. It is such a balm having her here. I have been craving human contact, a hug or even a handshake would be nice, so being with her for two weeks of endless cuddling is the healthiest, most healing thing possible. If ever an event could illuminate the importance of therapeutic touch, this is it.
Amelia has an impressive movie inventory at her disposal. She could play all the leads, knowing scripts by heart and able to perform with flair. I regaled her with stories about my childhood movie experience: We could watch them only when the networks decided to show them, usually once a year, AND we had to be ready at the time they started. That meant, dinner done, pajamas on, channel and seats chosen. She looked at me wide eyed. “You could only watch Frozen once a year?” she asked incredulously. I told her Frozen wasn’t a movie then but the movies I loved were only shown once a year. She asked which movies I loved? Wizard of Oz was a biggie, but my favorite was Pollyanna. She’d never heard of it. I wanted to show her an alternative to the animated musical extravaganzas she adores and thought watching it together would be fun. I tried Netflix but it isn’t there. I checked the actual brick and mortar library but they didn’t have it either. I thought I would have to buy the DVD but that meant Amazon which I have been boycotting. A big dilemma.
My neighbor invited us to a campfire Monday so Amelia and I masked up and walked over there to sit as far away as possible from the two other women and still be able to toast marshmallows. We started talking about movies and I told them I wanted to watch Pollyanna with Amelia, a movie they probably never even heard of. They told me of course they’d seen it! The Glad Game! They loved all the Haley Mills movies! I found this so sweet and incredibly reassuring to hear affinity for feel-good entertainment is something we share in the neighborhood. I’m clinging to shared values anywhere I can find them. Amelia got more excited with such a ringing endorsement from women closer to her age than mine.
We walked home in the full moonlight determined to figure out how to watch that movie. I braced myself for a day of figuring it out, subscribing to a service I didn’t want, prepared to pay whatever it cost. I set aside the whole day Friday to work on it. This is how inept I am at passive entertainment. I am completely dependent on my children for this. I’ve had boyfriends willing and able but they come and go and are currently gone. I was determined to become self-sufficient. I can build my own house I should be able to find a movie to watch. A friend told me all the Disney movies are now on Disney Plus which Amelia excitedly told me she could get on her iPad. That made me feel foolish and a poor provider but it saved me a whole day of fretting. I said we’d check it out after all our other activities. I had built this movie up to be the epitome of entertainment and I started getting worried it would flop. I hadn’t seen it in at least fifty years. I started thinking it probably moves slow and she’d get bored. I, of course, wanted her to love the movie as much as I did. Wanted her to go through life looking at the bright side. Maybe even dissuade her from sneaking out at night in the future. We talked about it all day Friday. As we hiked a lakeside path to swim off the rocks, she asked more questions about what life was like when I was her age. “How old were you when you first saw Pollyanna?” she wanted to know. I told her I was about her age. I told her what it was like to negotiate with my brothers about what we would watch in the evenings as everyone had to watch the same thing. There was only one TV and three stations to choose from. This struck her as the depths of deprivation. (I wonder if we learned better negotiating skills because of that?)
Friday evening, after we’d eaten and cleaned up, Amelia handed me her iPad. She showed me where Disney Plus was, I typed in Pollyanna, and there it was! Yup, 1960. That was it. I saw it was a two hour and fifteen minute commitment. Do attention spans even last that long now? I felt both ridiculous and ecstatic. I was literally getting my credit card out but all we had to do was hit play. Miraculous. The only problem was we had to watch it on her iPad. When I lamented this to my daughter she said, “Mum, your TV is not much bigger than her iPad, c’mon.” Which is sort of accurate. Then she wanted to watch it in bed. I reluctantly agreed with the understanding it was a big concession for me. I insist on eating meals at the table and watching whatever in the study. But as Amelia said, “It’s Covid! We need to be flexible!” And the idea of just turning out the light and going to sleep was appealing. And if she got bored and fell asleep I wouldn’t have to carry her upstairs. I’m going soft.
The movie has held up well! Amelia loved it, laughed a lot (which thrilled me), and buried her head in my shoulder when the old man caught them sneaking around his house. I cried at the end (as I always did), and we both raved over the costumes. The acting is silly and mediocre, but in keeping with the period, so forgivable. I was struck by how airbrushed the sticky situations were but found it a relief from real life right now. I was horrified when the doctor carried her downstairs like a bride. She had a spinal cord injury for God’s sake! Couldn’t they make that scene a little more realistic? But otherwise, seeing everyone come together for a cause (and orphans no less), standing up to a bully (philanthropic but controlling), and melting hearts, well, it has given us lots to talk about. Amelia asked what my favorite part was. I had to think about it, but said my favorite part of the movie was that they showed how powerful one little girl can be. She changed a whole town just by being kind and finding good things to focus on. Then she asked what was my least favorite part? I said, that she was climbing a tree at night in slippery shoes and didn’t get inside the window and make herself more secure before reaching for that doll. She listened intently then asked, “Wait, did that really happen?”
News blackout this week. Bliss.
Love to all,