I was thinking about my father today- how an army dentist somewhere in the early 1950’s encountered this young man with horrible teeth- the result of poverty, non-chlorinated well and spring water and no dental care- and determined he should have all his teeth pulled and be sent to Newfoundland rather than Korea. Thus my sensitive father was spared the horrors of war and a relatively smooth ride in his army career, which also taught him his trade. He returned to his home unscarred, unlike many who were sent to war. I attribute this to the hand of a sovereign God who wanted to bless me with a father who didn’t have to overcome the emotional trauma, or worse, that might have resulted in a theater of war. He used that unknown dentist to change the path of Dad’s life. Now just multiply that simple encounter with the “series of intersecting incidents beyond our control” Benjamin Button speaks eloquently, if mysteriously of. This will drive one to worship. A God who is in control is good news for postmodern man.
Just saw the Curious Case of Benjamin Button this evening. The first thing I note is the liberties the screenwriters took with F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short story. The infant Benjamin bears no resemblance to the bearded articulate old man of the story. The results are an appropriately lush embellishment of the original which it bears little other resemblance to than its title.
Jonathan Edwards wrote in his Resolutions this ninth entry: "Resolved, to think much on all occasions of my own dying, and of the common circumstances which attend death." Chances are this didn't make the top ten of your New Year's resolutions, right?
This film will force you to think about the meaning of life. That holy place is where this movie took me. In spite of its failure to rise to the greatness it held potential for, I believe it is important in the fact that it highlighted the impermanence of real life in a cosmetic world dominated by youth culture. It raised important questions which it ultimately left unanswered, but hinted at- intimations of eternity, and of heaven are present in the various characters Benjamin encounters along his descent into infancy. Benjamin is different, and difference insures loneliness, but also drive him to seek connective relationships.
The sets are gorgeous, the effects are transparent and believable. From the tale of the blind clockmaker (I took this as a veiled, if inappropriate reference to God) to the blustering artist/tugboat captain/naval commander we see types and lessons to be learned. Yet in its concern for becoming maudlin, it seems to have retreated too far from affect. Benjamin is so serene in most cases that his bouts with doubt are hard to identify as real. The story is told against the backdrop of the emerging hurricane Katrina that repeatedly reminds us of the transcience of life in the wake of nature.
I was taken back to the question Forrest Gump powerfully asked- some people think life is predetermined and others think we are floating like a feather on the wind- this film adds a powerful third perspective from Queenie, Benjamin’s mother. She insists the hand of God is in everything. Benjamin is a miracle and it is in no small part the power of her love that is the most redemptive thread of the movie.
It is also a film about hope and the power of making choices to make our lives better and to be willing to start over if necessary rather than succumbing to the droning of life. In this aspect it was very much in the mold of Fitzgerald, but in my opinion it does not descend into the self-made man “lifted up by his own bootstraps” syndrome. This is a strong, evocative film that was a pleasure to escape into for almost three hours. Life is lived in time and we must spend it wisely for we can never recover it. These hours were not wasted, and it will provide fodder for many more good conversations at home. With Edwards, we can see life’s impermanence as a galvanizing force rather than a paralyzing one. Both of the key characters had to deal with this in their lives. So must we all.
So far we've come up with 429 old sayings our parents were known to use on a consistent basis. I have a theory that this is in part the reason why Earnie and I are very strong analogical thinkers. Anyway it's just a theory...
I also note that I cannot think of many of these idiomatic/axiomatic sayings that have been created in the past fifty years. They all seem to have emerged over the mid 19th to early 20th century. Other than "jump the shark" I cannot think of many new ones out there. Or am I just getting old?
200. Like a bull in a china shop 201. Tippecanoe and Tyler too 202. They are as thick as thieves 203. He’d rob you blind 204. My get up and go just got up and went 205. Don’t make promises you can’t keep 206. That thunder is just God’s tater wagons turning over 207. He’s drumming up trouble 208. Jimmy crack corn and I don’t care 209. About as useful as a screendoor on a submarine 210. That and a nickel will get you a cup of coffee 211. What this country needs is a damn good depression 212. There’s light at the end of the tunnel 213. A penny saved is a penny earned 214. A penny for your thoughts 215. Children should be seen and not heard 216. Like a wiggle worm in hot ashes 217. Like two peas in a pod 218. Goes together like peas and carrots 219. There are too many chiefs and not enough Indians around here 220. You couldn’t suit her if your life depended on it 221. Like a bat out of hell 222. Like rats off a sinking ship 223. Better get while the gettin’ is good 224. Batten down the hatches, full steam ahead 225. Don’t take any wooden nickels 226. Not worth a continental 227. Not worth a grain of salt 228. He didn’t have one thin dime 229. It’s not whether you win or lose it’s how you play the game 230. Finder’s keepers, losers, weepers 231. When you fall off a horse you have to get back in the saddle 232. It can be here today and gone tomorrow 233. There’s nothing worse than a welcher 234. Don’t be an Indian giver 235. Remember in life there are no guarantees 236. Don’t wear your heart on your sleeve 237. He couldn’t find his way out of a paper bag 238. He’ll soon be pushing up daisies 239. You’d better knock on wood 240. Always a day late and a dollar short 241. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush 242. He hasn’t got the sense God gave a goose 243. He hasn’t got the sense God gave a woodpecker 244. You bet your bottom dollar 245. Down to the last pea in the dish 246. He hasn’t got a pot to pee in 247. Better make hay while the sun is shining 248. I declare as I live and breathe 249. Bless my soul 250. Bless her little pea pickin’ heart 251. Monkey see, monkey do 252. That’ll happen when pigs fly 253. What's that Thingamabob 254. That's a Dooma –flotchey 255. No its a Thingamajig 256. It’ll be a cold day in hell when I apologize 257. She’s driving me nuts 258. Jumpin Jehosaphat! 259. Great minds think alike 260. He has one screw loose 261. She is in a snit. 262. One wheel's loose and the other’s draggin 263. My wagon’s draggin’ 264. That's the long and the short of it 265. One card short of a full deck 266. Sweeter than candy 267. Too old to cut the mustard 268. Heard anything worth repeatin’? 269. Keep this girl fed and you’ll never have any trouble out of her 270. She’s a Jabberwocky 271. He’s a blabbermouth 272. Not for love nor money 273. It takes two to tango 274. Two’s company and three’s a crowd. 275. Now the fat is in the fire 276. Out of the frying pan and into the fire 277. I am fair to middlin’ 278. Take an old cold tater and wait 279. I don’t give a hoot nor a holler 280. That’s a fine how do you do 281. There’s another fine mess you’ve got me into 282. One time shame on you the second time shame on me 283. Now ain’t that a crying shame? 284. The world in going to the dogs 285. The bigger they are the harder they fall 286. Don’t toot your own horn 287. Friends are few and far between 288. He’s lost his marbles 289. Out of sight out of mind 290. You’re going down the wrong track 291. Better late than never 292. A stitch in time saves nine 293. Never look a gift horse in the mouth 294. I’m so busy I met myself coming and going 295. Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today 296. It’s just a hop, skip, and a jump from here 297. Better you than me 298. Over there down yonder 299. Way down yonder in the paupau patch 300. She’s high as a kite 301. She’s skinny as a rail 302. Go take a hike
This is a work in progress, as we keep thinking of new ones. Earnie's folks, especially her Mom, had a saying for everything, and sometimes she even pulled the old switcheroo and combined sayings in funny ways, We called those Jennyisms. Here is the first installment, as the list grows longer...
1. Don’t step on a crack or you’ll break your mother’s back. 2. He is true blue. 3. A man’s word is his bond. 4. He has more ….than Carter has liver pills 5. He has more ….than Carter has oats. 6. Lord, have murder. 7. He is as good as gold. 8. Good gravy! 9. No grass grows under my feet, big boy. 10. For Pete’s sake! 11. Crooked as a barrel of snakes. 12. She looks like a million bucks. 13. More fun than a barrel of monkeys. 14. Me and Old Willie will get er done. 15. See you later, alligator, after while, crocodile. 16. He is the salt of the earth. 17. Once in a blue moon. 18. He was deader than a doornail. 19. I’m going to hit the hay. 20. Glad you got to talk to me. 21. We’re on an even keel now. 22. I’ll give you a nickel if you’ll get me a cup of coffee. 23. Every man puts his pants on the same way- one leg at a time. 24. Don’t ever do anything in the dark you’d be ashamed of in the light. 25. If you have one good friend in this world consider yourself blessed. 26. The only thing you can take with you is your character. 27. Two heads are better than one. 28. Glad to see your back. 29. You make your bed and then you have to sleep in it. 30. Have a little who shot John? (liquor) 31. Good night and good riddance! 32. Good night, Irene. 33. Trust is the hardest thing to get and the easiest thing to lose. 34. I was all dressed up and no place to go. 35. You sure are all duded up. 36. She is putting on airs. 37. He is cute as a bug in a rug. 38. Look what the cat drug in. 39. That’s as bogus as a two dollar bill. 40. I’m so hungry I could eat a horse. 41. He come by it honest. 42. Like falling off a log. 43. Like a needle in a haystack. 44. A day late and a dollar short. 45. That went over like a lead balloon. 46. Pride goeth before a fall. 47. The apple didn’t fall far from the tree. 48. He’s a chip off the old block. 49. Like water off a duck’s back. 50. Like a duck on a junebug. 51. Do you know what this is? It’s the world’s smallest violin. 52. Age is just a state of mind. 53. If you have a roof over your head and food to eat and you are warm, then you are rich. 54. Time is something you can never get back so spend it well. 55. One for the money, two for the show, three to get ready and four to go! 56. My dogs are barking tonight. 57. She was pollyfoxing around. 58. He is a gadabout. 59. She is up to no good. 60. That was a boneheaded thing to do. 61. No point in beating a dead horse. 62. No point in crying over spilled milk. 63. This thing is bass-ack’ards. 64. This thing is jerry rigged. 65. Dam the torpedoes, full steam ahead! 66. Mama is having a hay- henhorrage. 67. Mama is pitching a hissy –fit. 68. Cute as a button. 69. Playing with a deck of 51. 70. You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. 71. He is meaner than spit. 72. That’s like spitting in the wind. 73. He was tighter than a drum. 74. If the good Lord’s willin, and the creek don’t rise… 75. He spends money like its going out of style. 76. Naked as a jay-bird. 77. If you don’t have anything good to say don’t say nothing. 78. Like a pig in a poke. 79. Go fly a kite. 80. Kick off your shoes and set a spell. 81. Make yourself at home. 82. If you’ve got the money honey, I’ve got the time. 83. For pity sake. 84. Going to hell in a handbasket. 85. No point in beating around the bush. 86. He is as drunk as a skunk. 87. Last but not least. 88. Champagne taste on a beer budget. 89. Mama is throwing a conniption fit. 90. He is an acid head. 91. She is two faced. 92. Mercy me! 93. That’s the icing on the cake. 94. Happy as a tick on a hound dog. 95. It’s raining cats and dogs. 96. She was nervous as a cat. 97. So poor he didn’t have a pot to pee in. 98. That’s like the pot calling the kettle black. 99. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. 100. Don’t count your chickens before they hatch. 101. Here today and gone tomorrow. 102. He’s rolling in gravy. 103. What you see is what you get. 104. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. 105. I am plumb tuckered out. 106. She is as blind as a bat. 107. Playing cards till the cows come home. 108. Like shooting fish in a barrel. 109. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. 110. Just put one foot in front of the other. 111. She’s been around the block a few times 112. Better safe than sorry 113. God works in mysterious ways. 114. I was between a rock and a hard place. 115. Bless her heart! 116. My goodness gracious sakes alive. 117. Famous last words! 118. We’ll be sure to alert the media. 119. Rise and shine! 120. Top o' the mornin’ to ya! 121. My goodness gracious sakes alive! 122. Beware the red-eyed monster (jealousy) 123. He was like a flash in the pan. 124. I had to rob Peter to pay Paul. 125. As I live and breathe! 126. Pretty is as pretty does. 127. He got too big for his britches. 128. The jig is up!
For the past dozen-plus years since we left Dallas, we have been the beneficiary of prayer support from a group of ladies and other friends from our former church. I cannot express (but I'll try) my appreciation when we get a prayer letter from the Mary Lou's. These are now ten ladies who meet weekly for prayer. This is the sort of prayer that avails much- persevering prayers of the righteous sustain us and our life. We stay in contact with these folks and take encouragement that they have not forgotten us though we labored in their midst so many years ago. I also hear on a regular basis from dear friends the Gotts who are ever in our corner. I don't know where we would be without the prayers of our friends. We need all the help we can get!
FInished Comprehensive exams and now it's up to the evaluators... I actually had a weekend (remember those?) before making contact on my prospectus. Back to work and creating a learning portal as of today! Thanks to all who have been praying for the process!