A fishy smell story

Gabriela’s husband was a fishmonger. Every night Juan came home smelling like fish. She hated that smell so much. Sometimes it made her sick. But she loved Juan all the way to her deepest heart. He was a wonderful father to their baby, Pedro, and he had the kindest of hearts. She wanted better for the man she loved and for her son.

Gabriela went to see Father David. She told him how she felt about Juan and the fish.She picked up her baby who had been crawling on the floor. “Father, I cannot stand the smell.”

“That is a problem.” Father David did not have an answer for Gabriela, except to say she perhaps Our Lady would help with the smell.

On her way out, she lit a candle for Juan and prayed the Hail Mary. Then she asked the Mother for help.

Father David watched her walk down the dirt road back to the shack where she and Juan lived. He smiled. These were two of his best parishioners. Unlike the others, they never complained about their lives. Except for this once.

The next evening Juan came to see Father David.

“Father, I have a problem.”

“Yes,” Father David answered.

“It is Gabriela. I love her so much.”

“I know. I see you together.”

“It is the fish.”

Father David could smell the fish on Juan.

“They stink,” Juan said.

“Yes, they do.”

“Gabriela cannot stand the smell. And I do not blame her. Things were good when we first married but now. They are bad.”

“I am sorry to hear this.”

“I could get a job as a carpenter. I am good with my hands and I am good with the wood.”

“Wood doesn’t smell. It’s true.”

“But there is one problem.”

“There is always a problem. This is why God is there for us.”

“I’m afraid this one is not so easy to solve. Even for God”

Father David had seen God perform miracles. He had seen Him change hearts. So there was no problem God could not solve.

Juan hesitated, then he let out what was on his mind. “I am a sinner.”

“We are all sinners.”

“No, I am a sinner. I cannot resist temptation.”

Father David assured Juan, “You must pray to Our Lady. She knows your heart.”

“No, Father, my heart is wicked.”

Father David was taken aback by Juan’s insistence. “You must pray. What sin could there be Our Lady would not help you with?”

Juan’s voice went into a whisper as if others could hear him. No one could. The church was empty. “It is women. They love me. And I cannot resist them.”

Father David was floored. He choked down his response, then said, “Women love you? I don’t understand.”

“In the days before I met Gabriela, every night three or four women were after me. I was not a happy man. Then I met Gabriela. She was different than all the other women I had known. I had to come up with a plan. Even on my wedding night, there was a woman knocking on my door. That is why we left the city and came here. That is why I became a fish monger. The women now all turn and runaway when they smell me. I cannot go back to the days before. I love my wife so much. But I am about to lose her.”

Father David was stunned. He did not have an answer. Except one. “Let us pray to Our Lady and Her Son.”

The two prayed.

Our Lady heard Juan’s prayer. She went to Her Son and told Him the story. Her Son was taken aback. “Women cannot resist this Juan? That is a dilemma. Let Me give it some thought.”

That night the Lord couldn’t sleep. He lay tossing and turning. Juan’s dilemma was a challenge. He had looked down and seen Juan’s treatment of his wife and son. And how he even treated the beggar on the street. If ever there was a kind man, it was Juan. What could He do?

Like so many of His ideas, the Lord came up with a solution while taking a shower the next morning. He would send an angel. And so He did.

The angel’s name was Derwood. While Gabriela slept, Derwood sprinkled some stardust on her nose. The next morning Gabriela woke up bright and early. The birds were singing. The cat was meowing. It was like Gabriela was experiencing a whole new world. Juan came to the table for his usual breakfast. Funny thing was Gabriela couldn’t smell the breakfast. She couldn’t smell Juan.

That night when Juan came home, he wore his usual bad smell. But Gabriela couldn’t smell him. She realized that she couldn’t smell. She was so happy. She kissed her husband. And it was the best of kisses. Our Lady and Her Son had performed a miracle.

The next day, she and Pedro went to the church and lit a candle of thanksgiving. As she left the church, a beautiful woman approached her.

“Senora, you have a very handsome son. Can I hold him? He is so irresistible.”

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Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight Movie: Little Boy Lost

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 “Lion” (2016):

Trailer for the movie “Lion”.

What if you had gotten separated from your family when you were five years old? That is what happened to Saroo, the hero of “Lion”. Saroo lived in  Khandwa, India with his mother, Kamla Munshi; his older brother, Giddu; and his younger sister, Shekila. They are poor. His mother, abandoned by her husband, works construction to support her three children. Saroo and Giddu steal coal off the trains for extra money for milk and food.

Giddu has work that will take him away from the family for several days. Saroo insists that he be taken to work too. Finally Giddu agrees. The two catch a train to a different town. It is night and Saroo is sleepy. So Giddu leaves him at the station, saying he will return soon. He does not return.

Saroo spends the next few years, wandering, until one day he ends up in an orphanage in Calcutta. He is adopted by an Australian couple, living on the Island of Tasmania.

Twenty-one years later, Saroo has flashbacks of his mother, his brother, his sister. The loss of his family drives him to find them again. Until he finds them, he will continue to be a little boy lost.

Hamlet: Ophelia’s Finale

Gertrude: Sweets to the sweet. Farewell! (scatters flowers)
I hoped thou shouldst have been my Hamlet’s wife.
I thought thy bride-bed to have decked, sweet maid,
And not have strewed thy grave. Hamlet Act 5 Scene 1.

For Hamlet’s plot till now, see Hamlet So Far.

Act 5 Scene 1 (continued). Everything has conspired against Ophelia. She can’t even get a decent burial. The priest won’t bury her in consecrated soil. She was a suicide, or so everyone believes.

She is so like Shylock. At the end of it all, she is a woman without family or country or love or even religion.

She is ultimately the tragic hero of Hamlet. Hamlet has choices. She does not.

Gertrude has choices. Ophelia does not.

Everybody gets to choose. Not Ophelia.

This is why Ophelia is so hard to play.

Think about this. Ophelia’s mother is dead or maybe she went insane. Now Ophelia is at the mercy of her father and her brother. Polonius and Laertes are a lot to handle.

Again and again Shakespeare reveals the terrible plight of women. Ophelia and Juliet are at the mercy of the pleasure of their fathers. They command their daughters to marry Paris or leave Hamlet out standing in the rain. Hero is falsely accused of indiscretion in Much Ado About Nothing. Only Benedict, a man, proves her innocence. Kate in Taming of the Shrew has to marry Petruchio and then is at the mercy of his abuse. Hermia in Midsummer must marry a man she does not love. Thanks to her father. Hamlet’s mother, Gertrude, too must have been commanded by her father to marry Hamlet Senior. Then there is Ophelia. Poor Ophelia. It seems daughters just can’t win.

Laertes and Hamlet throw themselves onto the Ophelia’s wooden coffin, proclaiming their love for her.

“My poor dead sister,” Laertes cries out.

“I loved her,” Hamlet cries out.

“You scoundrel,” Laertes protests, grabbing Hamlet by the throat. “You killed her. You are responsible. You did not love her at all.”

“Did too.”

“Did not.”

The two are pulled apart.

They have given Ophelia what she wanted. Love. But it’s kinda late, fellows.

 

The Lovers

Happy Valentine’s Day, y’all.

“Such a beautiful rainbow,” Melanie said to Walt.

“I made it just for you,” Walt said to Mel.

“You didn’t,” she said. “You can’t make a rainbow.”

“Oh, you think not,” he said, squeezing her hand just a little to show his love. “I spent several years at the rainbow-making school. I was their star pupil.”

“Were not.” She laughed. She liked it when Walt made up stories just for her.

“I was.”

They two stared at the rainbow, thinking beautiful thoughts. Walt thought about a Mel who could walk, Mel thought about a Mel who could walk. And they were very very happy.

Uncle Bardie’s Movie of the Week: When in Rome

Once a week on Monday, Uncle Bardie shares a movie with his Readers he gives a big two thumbs up. It will simply be a short excerpt or a trailer. Uncle Bardie might even throw in a reflection on the movie. If so, it will make an appearance below the video. So pop some popcorn and give yourself a treat. This week’s movie is

Not sure why I love this movie. It’s a post-World-War-II 1954 and America was the penultimate Good Guy. Everybody loved the good ole U S of A. After all, we had beat the crap out of Hitler and Mussolini and freed Europe, so that the French could be French again and the Italians could be Italians. It was a good time to be an American abroad. So there’s that.

Then there’s Rome. Rome, man. And Rome in the spring too. You can’t go wrong with Rome, can you? Rome puts on its best face for “Three Coins in a Fountain”. Rome is the star and the actors are only in the movie to support the city. The Eternal City has never been lovelier. So much so that the camera can’t take its lens off the City of the Seven Hills.

At the beginning, the director, Jean Negulesco, does a Woody Allen before Woody Allen did it with Manhattan. His camera surveys Rome. Its fountains. And there are a lot of fountains. With an uncredited Frank Sinatra singing “Three Coins in a Fountain”. The camera pulls back and gives a long view of the Tiber and the Seven Hills. Then more fountains. In addition to Rome, we get Venice and the Italian countryside.

The three coins of title are for the three female Americans who toss their coins into a fountain and wish. If I were looking for a cast, I couldn’t find a superber cast than the cast cast of Clifton Webb, Dorothy McGuire, Jean Peters, Louis Jourdan, Maggie McNamara and Rossana Brazzi. Each get a chance to charm our socks off. It’s great to see one of my favorite character actors, Clifton Webb, at his Clifton Webb best, a bit crusty on the outside but a sentimentalist deep down.

So we have three women who come to Rome to escape a boring life back home. One, the longest in Rome, is a secretary to writer Clifton Webb. Jean Peters is getting ready to return to America. Her replacement is Maggie McNamara, the newby.It is through her eyes mostly that the viewer discovers Rome.

So see the movie, fly to Rome, find a fountain and toss a coin in. Maybe your wishes will come true too.

What is your favorite city?