Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Pop and The Godfather by Margaret Ullrich, part 2, Weeding

Tonight there's going to be a full moon.
No, I won't say anything like "Hail, Luna" to the moon.
I also won't howl at it.
I just like having a sign that a month has passed.

Since being over 50, I've lost a time marker, a period.
Yes, ladies, that period.
It had marked the ending and beginning of another cycle.
It had been the messenger of good and bad news.
But now it's gone.
So, in its place, I notice the full moon.

Well, how does one notice the new moon?

Another thing we do notice is TV listings.
One of the channels is running a series of gangster movies this week.
Monday night we watched The Godfather
The Godfather was released in 1972.
And has been on TV hundreds of times.
We never miss it.
As Tom Hanks explained, "It's the I Ching."
There's always something to learn from how the family and friends interact.

In 1972, before we left New York, we wanted to treat my parents to a night out.
Paul paid the bill.
After we left the restaurant, Pop grabbed Paul's hand.
There was a twenty in Pop's hand and a look in Pop's eye.
It's a Dad thing.
At least in New York.
Seinfeld and his Dad would've understood.

After dinner, we went to a drive-in in Nassau County.
We got there a little late.
The gate was closed.
From outside we watched the "horse's head in John Marley's bed" scene.
If we'd had speakers, we'd have stayed.

This was the early 1970s, in a comparatively undeveloped Long Island.
That drive-in was not the only game in town.
We drove to another.
It was not a first run drive-in, so there was plenty of room.
Their feature had been filmed in 1971.
Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider in The French Connection. 
Cops chasing a drug dealer in the streets of New York.

It was almost a tradition to take my parents to things they'd never seen.
My parents never quite got comfortable in New York.
They never saw most of the standard New York tourist attractions.
The Empire State Building, The Statue of Liberty, and Broadway may as well have been on the moon as far as they were concerned.

In 1968 I had treated them to their first Christmas show at Radio City Music Hall.
The Impossible Years, with David Niven, was playing.
It had been a hit Broadway play.
It was about a psychiatrist having problems with his teenage daughter.
A G rated family comedy.
Perfect, right?
According to Leonard Maltin, it's a BOMB, and not in a good way.
The most obscene G rated film of all.
When Niven was in Daddy Hell, Pop said, "I understand that man."
Well, the live Christmas show was nice.
After we left the theater, Pop grabbed my hand.
There was a twenty in Pop's hand and a look in Pop's eye.

In 1973 my family came to British Columbia to see how we were doing.
After a very short while we ran out of things to do to keep Pop busy.
So, there we were, going to another drive-in movie.
While we were waiting in line to enter, Pop grabbed Paul's hand.
There was a twenty in Pop's hand and a look in Pop's eye.
Some things never change.

In British Columbia the drive-ins showed two features.
Perfect, right?
My parents kept falling asleep.
Ma remembered Caesar the Ape had died.

Back to The Godfather...
It's all about family.
As Michael said to Fredo, "It's not easy being a son."
Or a daughter.

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