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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Leonard's picture

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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Quarantine Diary #15 3/28/2020

The Long-Awaited Groceries (The hymn “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus” is in my brain right now) came last night at 9PM – when it was raining. A woman named Sarah, late 30’s, brown ponytail, not-posh sweatpants and hoodie – carried ALL our groceries across the street from her car to our porch. This included 8-packs of Gatorade plus boxes of seltzer water, plus lots of other heavy stuff. Did I mention it was raining?

Quarantine #14 3/27/2020

Last night we did another wild and crazy thing. We got in our car and went for a drive! The first thing we remarked to each other was that we had not been in the car together in weeks.  It felt a little odd to be in there, next to each other, about to GO SOMEPLACE! Maybe this is the way it feels to be the family dog when they let you sit in the front seat and EVERYTHING IS SO AMAZING!

We drove west into the rosy sunset, filled with excitement to, um, see the sky.  Quarantines are easiest on people who have a low bar for excitement.

Quarantine Diary #13 3/26/2020

What do you miss?  What, in our new pandemical world do you miss most from our pre-pandemical world?You know, the one we lived in till two weeks ago?

I don’t mean the heartbreaking realities such as safe medical care providers and enough places to go should one become ill and the loved ones that we are losing.

I just mean, what are we getting used to? Or trying to get used to. What might we never go back to?

Quarantine Diary #12 3/25/2020

Right now it is 11:00AM.  Got up this morning at the regular time. Did regular things. Came to the office to write. Worked (hardly at all) on a project, wrapped an item for eBay. Announced to Len at 10:30 that I was sleepy and going to take a nap.

You know what he said?  He said, “Me, too.”

The following half hour he took the sofa and I took our bed and both of us slept like toddlers on cots.

Quarantine Diary #11 3/24/2020

Most mornings we wake up, get coffee, then sit in bed to read news websites and Twitter on our phones. This isn’t the most spiritually centering way to begin a day but IMHO any morning one can actually rouse oneself at all is good enough.

Except this. Remember when Len and I went to Kearny, Nebraska last spring to see the migrating Sandhill Cranes? (Right here.) 

When I have freaked out enough about the news, I go to this crane cam. 

Quarantine Diary #10 3/23/2020

This was a really good part of today. When my daughter was putting the baby down for his nap, Len and I read storybooks to our 3-year old granddaughter before her nap. Literally, she was sitting on her little bed in Chicagoland while holding mommy’s phone.  I read; Len moved the phone around carefully to show the illustrations. 

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