Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight Song: For Good Friday and Easter

Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. In honor of Good Friday today and Easter this Sunday, this week’s Spotlight Song is the beautiful “Misere in C minor” by Jan Dismas Zalenka:

In Latin, misere means have mercy. It’s a realization in the petitioner that life is more than the world we live in. We have no control over what happens to us. It is reminder that God is indeed merciful. All we can do is appeal to God to watch over us, to take care of us. How appropriate for Good Friday and Easter.

Near 500 words: TW Goes Missing In Action

Episode 7 of The Writer.

TW (aka The Writer) walked around the house, looking for the robin. It was nowhere to be found. It had lit out for parts unknown. Then he realized that there was no birds filling the spring morning with their song. They seemed to be missing in action.

TW sighed and headed back in doors. As he opened the kitchen door, Cat dashed outside.”You’re on your own today, Buddy. I’m not waiting on you out here on the porch. I just don’t have it in me.”

Cat gave him on of those looks that cat owners known may just mean trouble.

“Okay.” There was a resignation in his voice. “Let me get a cup of coffee.” He filled the Keurig with water and waited.  As he did, he thought of the lines he had written. He had the next sentences worked out until the robin showed up. The water was hot. He popped the cup into the Keurig and poured his coffee into his Grumpy mug. Then he grabbed his kindle and sat down on the back porch.

Cat was giving him the eye. “What took you so long?”

TW lifted the mug to his lips and sipped and ignored the cat. He just wasn’t in the mood.

Cat, being Cat, sensed her human just wasn’t in the mood for their usual game. She came over to him, gave him a consoling meow and laid her body across his feet.

Sitting in the chair, TW realized he didn’t have the energy for writing. Cat’s body felt warm across his bare feet as he waited for his mood to pass. An hour passed and his cup was empty and his mood had not passed. He mustered up the energy, reached down, pushed Cat off his feet, then he stood up. “Let’s go inside.”

Cat followed TW into the house. He rinsed out the mug and sat it in the sink, then he went back into his office and sat down at the computer. He looked at the lines he had written.

It was the week after Mrs. Dish ran away with Mr. Spoon. All because of the Cat and the Fiddle. They had introduced the two at a company picnic. On top of that, Cat had jumped over the moon.

Then he typed. Jack sat on the stool beside the cow. Maudie was being cooperative as Jack squeezed her teat. The warm milk…

TW stopped. Then he jumped up and hurried to the hall closet. He reached and pulled down a cardboard box. He dropped the ingredients on the floor and there it was.

Special toes

The other day I was cleaning out my parents’ attic. It had not been cleaned out since God knew when. I knew my parents were not up to it. They were getting on in years and could no longer climb the stairs. So I took a weekend off.

I emptied box after box, making a list of items. My parents could choose what was to keep and what was to be gotten rid of.

It was late Sunday afternoon when I came across an old wooden chest filled with my stuff. A chest I had forgotten existed, packed with mementoes from my childhood and teen years. I unlatched the beast and opened it. It squeaked.

The chest was stuffed to the brim. There was all sorts of paraphernalia. A baseball cap and a trophy, my scout uniform and my high school yearbook and other treasures. Setting them on the floor next to me, I soon had a pile of yesterdays. I was almost through when I noticed a picture of a toe. How could I have forgotten that toe?

I took the picture and studied it. Sure ‘nough it was Joey’s eleven-year-old toe.

Joey’s family moved into the house next door. From the first, Joey and I took to each other. All that summer we did everything together. Bike riding. Baseball. Glueing together model airplanes. Watching monster flicks while baby-sitting his little sister.

One afternoon we rode our bikes over to the swimming hole on the Rustin’s farm. We went skinny-dipping. Finally we crawled out of the water and laid out on the grass, looking at the sky, proclaiming what each cloud was.

As we went to pull on our socks, I looked over at his bare feet and said, “Wow, you have six toes.” I couldn’t believe it. It was the most amazing thing I had ever seen.

Joey quickly pulled on his socks to hide his extremities.

I grabbed his arm and stopped him.

“Don’t,” he yelled.

“B-b-b-but that’s the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.” I gazed in wonder at that foot. Then I realized he didn’t have an just one extra toe on. Both feet had six toes. “How come you have the extra toes and I don’t?”

“Usually kids laugh when they see my feet. You’re not laughing.”

“Laughing? Why would I laugh? I want extra toes like you. How can I get them?”

“Don’t know. I was born with them.”

When I got home that night, I asked my mother, “Joey has six toes on each foot. How come I don’t have six toes?”

My mom thought for a couple of minutes, then, “Joey’s special.”

“How come I’m not special?” I asked.

“But you are. Only in a different way.”

“I want to be special like Joey.”

When Dad got home, I confronted him.

He said, “Joey’s special in his own way. And you are special in your own way.”

I wasn’t satisfied. When I went to the pediatrician, I brought up the subject.

His answer, “You’re special the way you are. Joey needs a little bit extra to be special.”

“I want you to give me extra toes,” I demanded.

“I don’t have any to spare.”

I was not one to take no for an answer. I wanted to be special like Joey.

Joey and I spent the next month of Saturdays, scheming on how I could get those two toes I wanted. We thunk and we thunk as young boys often do. Finally we agreed that there was no other answer than digging up a kid’s grave and sawing off two of his toes.

Then we realized we didn’t have to do no digging. The following Friday night happened to be Halloween. We decided Halloween at midnight would be the perfect time to catch a ghost kid. We’d get one of the ghosts as they returned from their hauntings to the grave.

We arrived at the cemetery early. We were not going to miss our chance. The moon was out and it was showing its smiley face for all the world to see. We pulled out two brown paper bags of peanut butter sandwiches and a canteen of water and consumed the food. Then we watched.

Just about midnight the first ghost arrived and headed for its grave. It was a old woman. And she had big teeth. We decided this one was not the one for the toes. Slowly more and more ghosts passed us by. Now you’d think we should have been scared. But we weren’t. We’d seen enough haunted house movies to know just what to do if we had to take one on. We had more bravery than we had sense.

Finally a eleven year old kid came by us. Before he could slide back into his grave, we jumped him. He slugged me first, then Joey. I jumped back on him and Joey grabbed his skeleton arms.

“I got him,” Joey shouted. “Get the knife and cut off the toes.”

“No,” he screamed. “Please don’t. I have to keep my toes.”

Out of curiosity, I asked,”Why?”

“If I don’t return with my whole body, I can’t get back in. And you don’t know what it’s like when they don’t let you in.”

“But I need just two toes,” I said.

Just as I was about to slice the beasts off, he bit Joey. Joey let go of the kid and he was gone.

I began to cry. Joey joined me with my crying.

“What are you two doing here this late?” came a voice behind a flashlight. “Answer me.”

We told him about the toes I needed.

“Oh, I can fix that.”

The man grabbed Joey’s foot and took out a giant knife.

I jumped him and knocked the knife out of his hand. As he went for the knife, he released Joey’s foot from his hold.

Joey and I up and ran as fast as we could away from that cemetery. When we made it home, I said to Joey, “You keep your special toes. I think I’m special enough.”

Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight Movie: Let the Audrey Shine

Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. This week’s Spotlight Movie is Breakfast At Tiffany’s (1961):

There are a few perfect movies that a remake of them would be blasphemy. “The Sound of Music” (1965) and “The Big Lebowski” and “Casablanca” and “The Ladykillers” (1955) and David Lean’s “Doctor Zhivago” and “The Haunting of Hill House” (1959) and Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho”. Oh, sure. Some have tried the remakes but they always turn out badly.

Blake Edwards knew something about making perfect movies. He directed some of the best of the best: Cary Grant, Peter Sellers, Tony Curtis and Julie Andrews. And, in his time, he would direct several very good movies, including “A Shot in the Dark” with Peter Sellers and “10” with Dudley Moore,Julie Andrews and Bo Derek. But “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” is his masterpiece and that most perfectest of perfect movies.

There’s George Peppard and there’s Mickey Rooney and a cat named Cat and there’s New York City in the early 1960s and, of course, there’s Tiffany’s. What would a movie named “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” be without Tiffany’s? And then there is Audrey Hepburn. Nobody lit up the screen quite like Audrey Hepburn.

From the very first moments of Henry Mancini’s music and the cab driving down the empty New York City street, then stopping at Tiffany’s and Audrey Hepburn getting out of the taxi, I’m hooked. Audrey, with her hair all bunned up, wears a black dress and a necklace of fake pearls and long black gloves. I can’t think of another actress who could play that moment with the grace and charm of Audrey Hepburn. You don’t know class until you’ve seen Audrey Hepburn on the screen.

Patrica Neal has set her writer, George Peppard, up in an apartment in a brownstone building. He’s her pet and she’s got him on her lease. Until he meets his neighbor, Holly Golightly, played by Audrey Hepburn.

One night George is at his typewriter and he hears Holly outside his window,

There’s no going back for George. Like us, he is smitten. Truman Capote may not have meant for his Holly Golightly to be the very fragile little girl with the tough exterior of the film. But that is the performance that Audrey Hepburn gives us. And it’s the one that makes Holly Golightly so darned memorable.

I’ve loved this movie since I first saw it. So if you’re in need of a little magic, then let the Audrey shine. “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” will definitely Audrey up your day.

Near 500 words: TW sees a robin

Episode 6 of The Writer.

Now you might think that a robin would not make TW (aka The Writer) stop his writing. After all, he finally had several sentences. “It was the week after Mrs. Dish ran away with Mr. Spoon. All because of the Cat and the Fiddle. They had introduced the two at a company picnic. On top of that, Cat had jumped over the moon.” And that was a nice start. With lines like that, he could take the story anywhere it wanted to go.

You might think that a robin would not remind TW of his ex-wife, Sylvia. He had not seen her in a beaucoup number of years. And he hadn’t thought about her in quite some time. It was only late at night when she came to mind. When he couldn’t sleep and when he was tired. Most nights he was a sound sleeper and he had nary a trouble going off to Slumberland.

And he wasn’t the lonely type. He felt his life was full. He had a good job. At the library. He had the few friends he needed when he wanted companionship. When it came to sex, he wasn’t that sex-starved.

For him, sex was more of a hassle than a pleasure. From observations he had made over the years, he had seen how much misery it brought to others. The people he knew would date. Then one thing led to another and pretty soon there was trouble.

But there had been that one woman he had dated for six months. Helen was her name. When he made up his mind to propose, she told him she had fallen in love. And the guy she had fallen in love with was not TW. So he swore off dating.

The ten years since had been one long routine. But he was a routine kind of guy. And now This. He starts his novel after battling a case of near-writer’s-block and he gets a lo- and-behold. Like he occasionally said, “Life can be a shit sandwich.”

Then a case of what Holly Golightly called “the mean reds” came over him.Tears rolled down his eyes. Suddenly he missed Sylvia, and he missed her more than he had ever thought he would. He missed those first few weeks when Sylvia was the world. He missed her soft, soothing voice. He missed her short brunette curls. He missed the palm of her hand running across his face. He even missed the piles of messes she left behind in the living room and the bed room.

He looked down at Cat. “You would like Sylvia. She was your kind of person.”

TW stood up, walked through the kitchen, opened the door and went out onto the back porch. He looked at his window and the tree nearby. The robin was gone.

The robin was gone.