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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What the Dickens?

The photo is from Barnados, a childrens charity in London in the 19th century. 

6/15/2024

Argh! I have a new phone because the old one stopped staying charged plus a few more foibles. My phone cost $400 five years ago so it makes sense that it stopped working reliably, right? If an appliance worked like this we would burn that manufacturer to the ground.

Swan Story

6/3/2024 

I’ve been reading a lot of other people’s writing lately and I have decided there is too much to read. Much of it is very good but there is JUST TOO MUCH!

So my goal going forward is to write shorter posts, more often, that might remind you of the glory, power, and goofiness of your life as well as mine.

So, let me say again what’s always very true. Thank you for reading what I write.

..

About My Memorial Day Story

5/25/2024

Today my story ‘Memorial Day’ is posted at Substack. Read it here. 

Courage, Big & Little

5/22/2024

Courage.

I’m writing fiction this week. I started a story in December that, along the way, turned into a Memorial Day story. It will be my Substack story this Saturday.

This morning I looked for an old newspaper column to rerun and found this one about a time when one of our kids needed to have four teeth pulled.

Cholesterol Numbers & Squirrels

 5/15/2024

Years ago I was out to dinner with friends. We were all just entering our 40’s and thus were all beginning to get the fun medical tests about this and that and cholesterol. I said, to a friend next to me, that I’d started eating oatmeal everyday for breakfast and my cholesterol had dropped …..

The room went silent.

Everyone heard “cholesterol dropped” and stopped speaking. Everyone wanted to hear how much it had dropped – which was about 8 points. In our twenties the conversation stopper was gossip about sex. Now the secret sauce was HDL and LDL

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