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I had a good Mother’s Day weekend. Saturday, I spent with one half the family. We went to town and shopped. I do my grocery buying once a month following lunch at some preferred restaurant. We combined this with other shopping, which includes a new action figure for Chuckie, as payment for his terrific help. He always insists that he doesn’t expect anything, but I always insist that he deserves it.
It isn’t easy going shopping with me. There’s the matter of folding and unfolding my walker, helping me into and out of the car, getting me an electric riding cart in the various stores, and walking around with me helping me load the basket.
Not only does he help get me into a chair or booth at the restaurant, he gets me back on my feet and onto my walker, after helping me put on my coat. Somehow, I never can manage to find the second sleeve. He always carries my ten ton purse on his shoulder until we’re back in the car.
Once home, he helps his mom carry all my bags into the house, and then puts the groceries and additional stuff away in proper places.
All the goings on at various stops invoke lots of comments from clerks and other customers, all to the effect that he is a remarkable kid. I couldn’t have better care from a paid personal attendant, who wouldn’t be half as entertaining and amusing during the whole routine.
Last weekend, everything was done in pouring rain and wind so gusty it blew the umbrella he was trying to hold over my head, completely inside out. Fortunately, neither he nor I mind getting wet. When I fuss that he’s getting soaked, he always assures me that his hooded sweatshirt is keeping him dry. It’s a good thing I have never minded getting doused in a rainstorm. It actually does not bother me, which is good because it’s pretty darned hard avoiding it when you have to use a walker. You’re not going to quality for a NASCAR race, that’s for sure.
Sunday, I spent the day with the other, much older grandchildren who cooked me a favorite meal and rented a movie for us to watch together. The meal was great; the movie was not.
They were thoughtful and rented a film they thought I would really like, knowing how much I like Broadway musicals. They picked up Phantom of the Opera. Ordinarily this would have been a good choice.
They were aware of the bad reviews the film had received; with almost unanimous critical boos and hisses, but decided to see it anyway, cautioning me not to compare it to the New York stage cast. I said I would be an audience with an open mind, which snapped shut after the first half hour of one of the worst performances I have ever seen or heard.
Mind you, the sets and costumes were very good. Unfortunately, the acting, singing, and dancing were very bad. I was raised on Broadway fare and I can tell. It would have been a thousand times better if performed by the Waterville Summer Theater group at which I marveled during the 1980’s. The Cloutiers, who produced the musicals, chose all the big hits, including South Pacific, Sound of Music, Music Man, Damn Yankees, and Annie. They went to New York City to select cast members and came back with remarkable talent.
I have no idea where they scraped up the miserable cast for the movie, but I can safely bet that none of them had ever appeared in a good road company production. I think the producers paid so much for the costumes, the sets, and the orchestra they could only afford bottom of the barrel singers, actors, and dancers – so called.
The male lead was the worst of the lot. He didn’t sing, he shouted. At one miserable point when he had to go for a high note, the sound he made caused one family dog to yelp in pain, and the other to fall down on his side. The other half of the family had also rented the movie. It was especially hard on Katie, who had seen the show on Broadway. Chuckie, who loves musical theater, had been driven out of the viewing room after a short period of time, left his Lego’s in the other room at the Phantom’s big moment, asking, “What in the name of Heaven was that?”
My granddaughter, Claire, who had been planning to go to Boston to see the show on the stage, declared, “I’m not going.” I love musicals and I love opera, and this is neither.”
Despite the dubious entertainment and the storm, I had a wonderful Mother’s Day.
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