The Leaning Cow

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Over a decade in the past in Kendallville

December 16th, 2015 ·No Comments


The name of the movie was “Secondhand Lions.” And “we two” were in the audience, each with a large cola in the drink holder and a large bucket of popcorn between us.

I am the elder of this two-person club, by a good 44 years. I am the grandma. Specifically, I am the grandma who likes good books and good movies and has always been drawn to stories where characters try to pull themselves up to what is right.

I am the grandma with scenes in her head: Humphrey Bogart in the rain in Casablanca telling Ingrid Bergman about how if the plane leaves without her she’ll regret it – maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of her life.

I remember Gregory Peck leaving the courtroom in “To Kill a Mockingbird.” I can see David Niven’s quiet determined bravery in “55 Days in Peking.”

But let us not think of me – this grandma – as a gentle soul of soft voice and compassionate character.

No, I am also the grandma who looks at a refrigerator door standing open and yells, “The next person who doesn’t shut this door is going to . . . “ Well, let’s not go into what exactly it is that I yell; let us settle on the notion that I can be pretty inventive.

I am the grandma who looks over her glasses and inquires, “Now exactly how long have you known about this project . . . that is due tomorrow?”

Now the younger partner on this “we two” team is 10, soon to be 11 . . . and he is Cameron, the grandson. He likes video games and action movies and is constantly badgering me for permission to build up forts and such in a computer game called “Stronghold” which is installed on MY computer.

However, he is also the boy who gets up before school to turn on the Animal Planet Channel or the History Channel. And once, he and I stayed up way past our bedtimes to watch “Attila the Hun.”

So when I saw Cory Renkenberger, manager of the Strand in the Do-It-Center and he said “Secondhand Lions” was coming the following week, it got my attention. I remembered the magazine reviews I’d read and I thought that any movie where Michael Caine and Robert Duvall star as two old eccentrics who spent 40 years of derring-do in Africa and are now hosting a great-nephew for a summer should be pretty good.

Actually, maybe too good to see alone . . . and maybe too good to see with a brood. So the idea came to me of “we two” – Cameron and I.

We went on a school night – homework done first – and were first in the theater. And this takes us back to the beginning . . . in the theater with the drinks and popcorn.

While waiting for the movie to start, we munched our way about three-quarters of the way down the popcorn container. Cameron looked at me and said, “Why, Grandma, I think you’ve outdone yourself.”

I got us a refill.

The lights went down . . . the movie came on. We watched through the exciting parts, the funny parts, the sad parts and the part where Robert Duvall gives a portion of his “how to be a man” speech.

He told the boy there are just some things you ought to believe in – honor and courage and virtue . . . some things you just need to believe are true – such as people being basically good.

I didn’t look over at the boy sitting next to me, but I thought of him – of us sitting there together in a small town theater . . . and I remembered another movie I had seen over a decade ago –“Shadowlands”

That movie was based on aspects of C.S. Lewis’ life. Anthony Hopkins played the title role and he spoke of feeling happiness lay in what was over the crest of a hill, around the bend of a road. Then later in the movie he reconsiders and talks about happiness being “here and now and that’s enough.”

I feel the pull of the crest of a hill, the bend in a road . . . but in that theater, in this little town, the here and now of “we two” was enough.

Tags: Just Me - AmeliaJake · Kendallville · The Peanut Butter Cafe & Roadhouse

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