"If my father were here today, there would be two words running through his head: Good grief." The speaker at the lectern laughed along with her audience. "Seriously, he'd wonder what all this fuss was about!"
Traditionally, mid-February is when I write my annual Movie Column. During this grim, bleak, shabby excuse for a month, it always cheers me to look back at the year in movies and comment on the new batch of Oscar nominees. This year, it has somehow come to pass that I've only seen three of the nine films nominated for Best Picture. And I call myself a film buff? Disgraceful.
Greetings, reader. It's a Tuesday morning, and I'm writing from my kitchen, wearing flannel pajamas, a heavy sweatshirt, a brown cape that my husband loathes, and my daughter's fuzzy pink pig slippers. (They're actually fuzzy pink lamb slippers – I know, I bought them – but she insists they're pigs, and you have to pick your battles with 12-year-olds.)
Every new year, I try to find a word to keep in front of me as something to strive for in the days ahead. It usually comes to me with little effort but this year I struggled, grappling for one word to capture the goal of my annual journey. And like it always does, finally, suddenly, the word arrives. This year, it is simply, love. It is a big, little, word.
I spent the holidays in north Alabama at my parents’ house, a rambling cottage on the Tennessee River that’s just about the best place in the world for Christmasing. It’s always a charmed interlude, this week of food and festivity and family; but like all families, we’ve been known to have our little . . . tensions.
First, some background: I'm one of those high strung, hyper-sensitive people who mentally elevates every pleasant event that occurs semi-regularly – or even more than twice – to that hallowed realm known as "Tradition," setting up an endless series of sacred expectations that will inevitably be violated by reality, battering my soul and leaving me desolate.