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A Helping of Courage


If giving up something precious meant guaranteed your success in life, what is it that you would let go of and forever walk away from?  When you think of an answer to this question, you don’t immediately begin to think of handing me things like your safety and health or livelihood do you?

This is the question being asked by the movie “The Help”, and if you are alive, human, and have 8 dollars you should definitely take 2 hours and 12 minutes out of your life to let it interrogate you.

Based on Kathryn Stockett’s 2009 novel of the same name, the movie places its focus on the early 1960s (get used to this trend) and the plight of the African-American maid.  Two of these maids engage in the risky business of telling their life stories to a struggling, young, white, unmarried, journalist.  While the backdrop of the film is Jim Crow Era Mississippi, racism isn’t the real monster that the movie confronts.

If it were, it would be an easier film to watch.


Riding Out The Summer…

By my reckoning, today August 12, 2011, is the day that my town broke the Summer vacation barrier. I don’t say this because we’ve finally arrived at a consistent weather pattern that includes sun (this is Portland after all) I’m saying this because I don’t think that longsuffering moms can take much more Summer break.

I spent the morning in places that moms do, Grocery stores and Target. It was utterly macabre.

During the school year, a Friday morning at Target is usually a collection of the chipper and hipper moms prepping for the ubiquitous weekend soccer games and dinner parties.

By mid-August those days are long gone.

A mid-August trip to Target on a Friday morning is a disconcerting blend of aggressively solicitous children tended by the walking exhausted, desperately seeking some quality “alone time.”

By mid-August the family trips have been completed, the grandparently visits are finished, and every church but the Amish have completed their Vacation Bible School programming. Without a sports camp or a school carnival in sight, the exhausted mothers are left to wrangle the final two weeks of Summer without an ally or respite.

Women who formerly spent their mornings in productive, if not life giving, activites like laundry, tax preparation, and scheduling, have discovered that their lives have now faded to a listing meander.

It’s like watching a Spanish galleon, stilled by an arid doldrum, get boarded by miniature pirates.

This Golden Age

This has not been a great week for our globe.  The rioting in Europe working in conjunction with the U.S. credit downgrade have joined with the uncertainty of our new global economy to create an anxious stare in the eyes of even the most optimistic of people.  This is the kind of week that makes people openly pine for “the good old days”.

“The Good Old Days”, you remember them right?  They were a time when things seemed so certain, people were more trustworthy, and music was so much more meaningful.  During the “Good Old Days” you didn’t worry about things like calories or fat content, interest rates or balloon payments, you just enjoyed life because it was quite simply better.

Obviously I’m talking about the Reagan years.

Or did you think that I was talking about the British Invasion ’60’s?

For some of you it was the Wally and Beaver era ’50’s.

Depending on your age, the time period we’re talking about is different, but the feelings are the same aren’t they?  When we think back on the “Good Old Days”, we both experience the same feelings, even though you may be remembering HALO while I remember Burgertime, and a grandparent is thinking of a hoop and a stick.


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