Thursday, May 31, 2012

the man in romance

Yes, I like the movie Somewhere in Time.  Guys like romance too, take my wife (please).  Just because manly-men aren't into the girly-girl romance stories - manly-men are all about romance.  Heck, even John Wayne himself was all over Maureen O'Hara in The Quiet Man.  The Duke said that The Quiet Man was among his personal favorite.  Most of Humphrey Bogarts greatest rolls had puckering in them.  Casablanca, need I say more?  This story isn't just about WWII and resisting fascism, it was about love and sacrifice.  No one was resisting kiss'n in Bogart's movies.  Also watch To Have and To Have Not with Bogart and Bacall.

Gone With The Wind is a great romance that manly-man Clark Gable as the dapper and dashing Rhett Butler.  Gable, by the way, had the most romantic lines in the film classic.

"Here's a soldier of the South who loves you, Scarlett. Wants to feel your arms around him, wants to carry the memory of your kisses into battle with him. Never mind about loving me, you're a woman sending a soldier to his death with a beautiful memory. Scarlett! Kiss me! Kiss me... once..."
-Rhett Butler

But that's not my favorite romantic movie of his.  I watched Clark Gable and Claudette Cobert in the romantic-comedy It Happened One Night.  I never tire seeing it.

Want to see some good romance movies?  Tender Mercies with Robert Duvall, Murphey's Romance with James Garner, Sleepless in Seattle and You've Got Mail with Tom Hanks, Shop Around The Corner and It's A Wonderful Life with Jimmy Stewart.  Robin and Marian with Sean Connery.  Shadowlands with Anthony Hopkins. A lot of my movie favorites have a whole lot of lovin' goin' on.

I am not interested in what many consider romance to be.  I think the covers of most romance novels silly...those long haired - muscular pretty boys grasping their buxom beauties in their arms - ready to ravish them on the next page.  I'm really drawn toward the guy and gal, shoulder to shoulder, committed to each other, relying upon one another to get through each day, each struggle together.  I think of Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn pulling at the rope of The African Queen.

Monday, May 21, 2012

spuare peg amid round holes

Christian Brothers Coffee House 1979
Years ago dad used to get onto me every now and then about my not going to church.  I was a Christian mind you, but corporate worship somehow repelled me when I was younger.  I'd go every now and then because I had friends that went to church - but I just had a hard time going.  As a little kid I had to go.  The more I had to go, the more I didn't want to go.  My dad once told me that I had to go church until I was a certain age and then I could do what ever I wanted.  This wasn't the case.  He didn't like it when the day came that I didn't have to go and I didn't go.

I understand where he was coming from.  Scripture instructs parents to train a child in the way they should go.  So dad and mom were just doing their job as parents.  I just never enjoyed the programs, the lesson plans, and all the standing up and sitting down and standing up and sitting down that seemed to be the primary focus of corporate worship.

As a kid  I'd often sneak out and roam the hallways of the church.  I'd often go outside and play in the little church playground or roam around in the woods that surrounded the church.
  I don't think my mom and dad ever knew what I was up to. 

Church would consist of congregational hymns, singing only first, second and last stanzas with all of the unbridled energy of a man building his own gallows.  This would usually be followed by a preacher who would get up and tell a few weak jokes followed by a sermon.  Don't get wrong, I didn't think anything was wrong with traditional church, I just never connected with it.

To this day scripture speaks with a clear voice.  I never understood why people would take a sentence that Jesus plainly spoke and feel as if they have to explain and expound upon the obvious.  I have learned from sermons, but most times, I prefer to just sit and read scriptures while the preacher expound and explain.

I liked the people of all the churches I've attended these 50+ years of my life.  I think it was mostly my problem.  To me church reminded me of school.  I couldn't stand Sunday school because it was SCHOOL.  Anyone that knows me probably knows that I had a horrific experience throughout public school.  I was wounded from school in my youth and yet had to spend part of every weekend in Sunday SCHOOL!  Hell, even during Summer I couldn't escape school.  Once you think you're out....THEY WOULD PULL YOU BACK IN!  There I'd be, sent to Vacation Bible School (I once escaped from VBS, but that's another story).

I didn't really start going to church regularly until I married Gina.  The reason I started to go was because the Holy Spirit compelled me to go.  He wanted me to go because I was now head of the household.  I found myself responsible for someone elses spiritual being - not just mine.  It was one of those things that happened that I knew was His will and not mine be done.  Okay God.

Even when I went to church, I went out of obedience to that directive.  I made some great friends there, but still church was church.  The folks there liked me and tried to fit me into the program, to assimilate my talents.  They tried getting me to lead traditional worship service and I tried to comply.  It was awkward.  They tried getting me to be youth director, but I am afraid I am a little too youthful to be a youth leader.  I had fun, but as you know now, I am not a Sunday school kind of guy.  The only way I fit in that fellowship was that I made friends there.  I loved them and miss them still.  I never fit in the program.  I always felt like a square peg.

Getting back to dad.  Back then, dad felt that I was substituting my coffeehouse fellowship at Christian Brothers 'Free House' (later Skylight Coffeehouse) for traditional corporate church fellowship.  Back in the day, church was so corporate that we all had to wear suits.  Dad and I used to go back and forth about it.  Funny how almost all of our disagreements were about church and spiritual matters.  Dad felt that I needed to be in church and that my coffeehouse fellowship had taken the place of real church.  I used to deny it over and over again.

I found out that dad was right about the coffeehouse being my church.  He thought it was a bad thing, but it was a good thing after all.  As I looked back on my early years, I realized that my brothers and sisters at that coffee house had indeed been a surrogate church.  I am so grateful that God gave me a place to fellowship with the saints when the traditional venues at that time just never worked for me.   I know I am a square peg.

My poor dad was so concerned for my spiritual well being.  I know he loved me and he knew that I loved him.  He couldn't figure me out and to be honest - I couldn't either.  Now that I am a dad, I understand his concern for me.  We love our kids and want to do our best to lead them to and keep them on the straight and narrow.  It's our job - it's what we do.  Even though I was an odd kid to figure out, dad knew I loved Jesus.  Even though dad couldn't figure me out, I always knew and felt dad and mom's prayers covering me.  

I enjoy the church I am attending now.  It's a church of square holes - of very unique God loving folk..  Sometimes though...I still have the desperate need to slip outside and head for the monkey bars and the swing-set

Friday, May 18, 2012

a time to sing

I look forward to Finlayson family gatherings.  It's amazing how little I see of my siblings and their spouses even though they live in the very same town that I do.  Even though many of us go to the same church, it's still a hello - how are you - and see you soon - kind of thing.  Our ships are sailing through the week, we wave at one another as we pass each other along the way.

Seeing Don and Jennie Rakestraw (my brother in-law and sister) is a rare treat - a couple of times a year.  They live a good distance and it's always good to see them.  I have heard that they will be at the family gathering too.  There's no holiday or reason other than mother wanted her children and children's children to come.  She asked everyone to bring their guitars.  So let there be music.

Almost everyone of us plays something.  If they don't play, they sing.  If they don't sing, they love music.  It's all good.

It's always a disappointment when we don't get to play together.  I don't know why that is.  I can tell you why I miss it when we don't.  I love being with my brother and sisters.  I also love hearing their voices.  There are many styles, tastes and influences in their songs.  I like hearing them all come together.  It's all one voice when we do.

We come from music.  My dad loved to sing.  He led his swing band in his youth.  He loved the camp meeting songs and the traditional church hymns.  He also liked Willie Nelson.   It doesn't take much for me to hear his voice echo in my memories.  His brothers and sisters loved to sing too.   His mom was a voice and piano teacher in their small hometown of Cheraw, SC.  I wonder how far back the music goes in our family?

As time passed, families have married in to families and they are all are drawn to lyric and rhythm.  There's more and more as we sing along.

I've been looking forward to seeing you all.  I look forward to catching up.  And of course I look forward to the music.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

tickle me kelsey

Kelsey likes for me to tuck her into bed.  To her, a good tickling means the same thing as a hug and a kiss...maybe a little more.  Kelsey has an unusual sense of humor that always catches me off guard.  Her's is the kind of funny that reflects an underlying intelligence.  I have no idea what she's going to grow up to be.  I know that she will keep me guessing - and laughing.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Make Mine Marvel!

This is the movie our family had been waiting to see with great anticipation - especially Katie.  We were strapped financially this weekend.  It had been a very tight week for us. At first we were resolved not to see it until later, but we ended up combing the house for money to go.  We looked everywhere and added up all the change in the house.  Not only did we scrounge up enough money, but Katie found some coupons for free popcorn.  So we went.

The Avengers is among the best superhero movies ever.  This movie ties previous Marvel movies into something rather epic.  So if you want to watch this one, I'd recommend you go back and first watch The Hulk (the second one), Iron Man 1 and 2, Thor and Captain America for all the back-story.  The Avengers doesn't try to force previous stories together to work.   The Avengers make all previous stories one story - like the Star Wars or The Lord of The Rings sagas.

Even if you don't know the comic book history or watched the previous movies, you'll enjoy this one. This movie rates FIVE STARS from David.

I've been a Marvel fan since I was knee high to a grass hopper.  Though not a big super hero fan in my youth, I read my share of them and dove headlong into Nick Fury's past with Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos.  My only disappointment with The Avengers is the Nick Fury character.  I think Samuel L. Jackson was a great cast, but I walked a way feeling that the writers were not true to who Nick Fury was as a leader.  Nick Fury from the beginning is every bit as red, white and blue as his old friend Steve Rogers.  Maybe the writers and directors didn't want too much mushy sentiment, desiring only Captain America to reflect his allegiance to God and country.

What I REALLY liked about the movie is that it shows what sets the Marvel world apart from all other comic book worlds - the Marvel humor.  Whether found in tough guy one-liners to physical humor found amid struggle amid life and death situations.  There's no world like Marvel.  This couldn't have been illustrated better after calm Bruce Banner turned into the Incredible Hulk.  He was violent, vicious and full of rage... all about smashing things up in a carefree creative way.  This is how the Hulk is supposed to be, the way that Stan Lee and the late Jack Kirby originally created him to be.  I think if Kirby were around today, he'd be very pleased with The Avengers.