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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"Brotherhood" by Mohamed Mbougar Sarr - A Book Review

10/13/2021

“Brotherhood” by Mohamed Mbougar Sarr is the most compelling novel I’ve read this year. I read the first half as if I was reading a book for the first time; it felt as if the writer was expressing a story so powerful he called it fiction just to get it out, to me, to us. 

I skimmed the second half because I was exhausted by the impossible trauma and decisions the characters would need to endure and try to survive.

Let me say right here than many will survive. Not all.

Thanks & Now Let's Do Pups!

10/13/2021

 Thank You!

I sent our collated list of “Ways to Help My Community” to the Third Graders this morning.  Laura has already shared it with them; I just received this from one kid. This was really cool and helpful thank you for coming back to me so quickly well you always respond quickly like all the time and also I like hiring (hearing) from you always make me smile from writing to pictures I love them all.”

3rd graders on Community Building

10/12/2021

... 

I’m just back from volunteering in the third grade.  I’ve done this for five years; Laura Zahn who is this class’s teacher, plus her friend and fellow teacher Mara, have become among my favorite people in Waukesha. 

My Relationship with a Door 10/5/2021

Dear Friends,

I seem to be out of Deep Thoughts lately. Not sure if this is apparent to you but it is to me. This is not exactly a problem but keeps me guessing what in the world I should be writing. Or - since “should” is a sometimes toxic and generally unhelpful word – these days I am not sure what you want to read and I want to write.

So maybe I’ll just write you a quick Dear Friends. Sometimes relationships are just about checking in.

Up North 9/30/2021

Here’s why I’ve not posted anything in nearly two weeks.

Last week Len and I took a trip to Duluth, MN and Ashland, WI. We hiked seven hikes, met new friends, ate too much. (We didn’t eat IN restaurants. We ate take-out dinners while sitting in our car overlooking Chequamegon Bay.) We marinated in the breezy Up North rhythms of woods, streams, rivers, and Lake Superior. 

Then we came home to all that stuff one does up returning; laundry, groceries, and bringing in the Big Dozers to deal with cat litter boxes. 

Cabeza de Vaca & Company: A 500-Year Old Story for Our Time.

I’ve been thinking about Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca for years and I’ve also been thinking about him for a week.

It’s crazy out there in the world right now and people are, I think, kinda sick of each other. Racism, sexism, and classism are the muck we walk through to get to our cars while our climate is turning into flying monkeys. And the rich keep getting richer.

So let me tell you about a guy I admire.

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