So I went ahead and taped a whole slew of Christmas movies starting right after Thanksgiving, in anticipation of the annual we're-not-showing-any-new-programing-until-after-the-new-year that the Big Three (e.g., ABC, NBC, and CBS) generally subject me to. Sigh. Those jerks.
And I've been watching the movies off and on. For the most part they're juvenile, contrived, and treacly; you know, instead of tugging at the heartstings fair ripping them out using them to saw off an arm only to then use that to bludgeon one over the head ... but I love 'em anyway. I am just about the biggest sap you'll ever meet when it comes to Christmas programming. I do believe I embody the demographic.
In any case, tonight I watched yet another, this one called "Thomas Kinkade's Christmas Cottage". I love that it had so many actors I truly enjoy, such as Marcia Gay Harden as the mom, Peter O-Toole as the mentor, Richard Burgi as the ne'er-do-well dad, Ed Asner as the mentor's agent, Jared Padelecki as the main character Tom, and Charlotte Rae, Chris Elliot, Richard Moll, and Geoffrey Lewis (!) as colorful town characters.
I have loved Geoffrey Lewis since he played Philo Beddoe's best bud Orville Boggs in both 'Every Which But Loose' and 'Any Which Way You Can', which my friends and I must have seen a dozen times each when they came out, they were that cool (in our defense, we were 12 and 14, respectively ... the <gasp!> language alone made them guilty pleasures) ... plus they starred Rowdy Yates himself! Yummy!!
But back to this evening. There came this one scene of Lewis' that picked me up, threw me on the ground, and stomped all over my heart: his character, Butch, who had lost his 19 year old son as a casualty of the Vietnam war eight years prior, asks Tom if he'd like to take a walk with him, to go visit his son. Next scene: cemetery.
They're standing side-by-side, in front of Butch's son Lance's headstone, and here's what Butch said (with built-in pauses as close to actual as I could emulate) that had me bawling like I'd lost my best friend:
"I can't sleep.
They say ...
that time heals,
but I ...
still can't sleep.
And, uh ...
it hurts the same
year after year.
Why doesn't it get easier?
I miss you.
Son, I miss you ...
And here's where he saluted his boy and said,
Then he sighed and walked away.
Up 'til the part where he said "I miss you" I thought he was talking to Tom, so when I realized it was really Lance he addressed, I just lost it.
Oh! Doesn't that just kill you?!? All I could think about was that here we are, at war again, and there are people who feel this way. Every day. Really and truly live in those bones, right now, and there's not a single thing I can do to help them.
I don't know who they are, so even though I want to hug them all and make their pain go away, I'm probably actaully that asshat who yells at them when they get distracted in traffic and slow me down, or when they they can't make a decision and get the hell out of my way at the store, or when they fail on a deliverable at work. I mean, how would I know? And why can't I just remember how much I love these people right now ... but all the time ... so I can be considerate of what they may be living through? Why instead does everything have to revolve around me?
You know, stuff like that. And it's when I get these little epiphanies that I decide to strive to be better. Not so much a better person, although I guess that's part if it, but just strive to be better, period.
It's not going to end any wars, or bring loved ones back to family members who miss them, but it could help, even if it's just a tiny little bit, right? Be better, be good, be nice, be kind, be loving, take care with other's hearts. Go ahead and be the glue.