While Amy was at school the other morning, I went out and bought "Saving Private Ryan" on DVD, hooked the auxiliary speakers up to the laptop, closed the curtains here in my office, and landed on the beach at Normandy.
With all the attention being paid to Veterans Day (you do watch the History Channel and read the newspaper, right?), it was impossible not to have some regard for the men who served in our armed forces. More specifically, it was impossible for me not to imagine my father's experience as a waist gunner in a B-24 over Europe.
Like so many other children of dads who served in WWII, I grew up hearing stories and seeing photographs of the places where battles were fought. I'd see my dad lean back and wade into the past, often with mixed feelings about what it meant to him personally. It was by far the most vibrant part of his life, and I can only imagine the impact made when intense camaraderie, world crisis, and the possibility of giving one's full measure of devotion all merge at the beginning of adulthood.
After the madness of war, the serenity of suburban life must've been excrutiating for some guys. For others, like my dad, it was time for a long well-deserved nap.
After the movie, I went looking for a copy of a video I'd put together as a Fathers Day gift for my dad a few years ago. It was a humorous biography of him, a comedic chronicle of his life using gag graphics, old photos, snippets of video, period music, and voice-over narration, all put together in a frenzied afternoon of pre-PC video editing. After digging deep in my office closet, I found it and popped it into the VCR.
What I'd forgotten was that this piece was just one of several that I had put onto one cassette. It included a video letter to a friend on the east coast, some short sketches, and a thing I put together in honor of Viv's first Mothers Day. The whole thing is comedy interspersed with the overly sweet shots that parents take of their babies when they have time and a new video camera.
Amy wandered in about halfway through the viewing. My first thought was to turn it off. I'd last seen this tape about five years ago and back then, when this three-year-old saw her father on the television cooing over a four-month-old baby, it freaked her out. She didn't realize it was herself, and no amount of explanation could convince her that this was not an infant who had come to steal her parents and their love. So she cried. Hard.
But as an eight-year-old, this time she was riveted. Amy knew she was that little baby and it fascinated her to no end. In the last five days she's seen it seven times, and she's full of questions. She may not always follow the logic of the intended joke, but the mechanism upstairs seems to be cranking on the right bias, and that leaves us gratified and hopeful. Viv and I were pretty funny people, you'll just have to trust me on that.
What's most interesting is watching Amy watching the video. Viv and I sit there wondering what sort of impresssion she's going to have of us after she's seen us as full-blown goofs. We suspect she may be having some papers drawn up.
Seeing all this again has fired up my producing juices and now I want editing software, more desk space, and great huge buckets of time.
I spent some time at city hall this week trying to secure a permit for some of the activities we're planning for the Neighborhood Y2K Extravaganza. We will be staging an event which may require blocking off our street. To that end we held a neighborhood meeting/BBQ earlier this week to attend to some of the details. I'm being purposely sketchy here because, well, it's fun to be purposely sketchy. Let me just say we discussed lighting and cables and the possibility of some very hard nipples, depending on the weather.
It will make for some good video, you'll just have to trust me on that.
"Collaboration" -- Stan Kenton -- KENTON IN HI-FI
"Lead your life so you wouldn't be ashamed to sell the family parrot to the town gossip."
- Will Rogers