My DAY: 4:15 AM Thursday

It’s 4:15 AM, and the first day of four days off. I am wide awake, but have hopes to return to sleep shortly.

Our evening walk did not go so well, as the younger set of the trio seemed to have a surplus of energy, especially after seeing several dogs on our walk. Once Chief sees another dog, all the training, all his sensibility seems to leave his brain. He turns into this big glob of excitement who wants to play with the other dog.

However, they redeemed themselves tonight. Flyer woke me at 3:40 AM needing to go to the bathroom. Naturally, the other two, whether they needed to or not, began their potty dances. Due to the rain, I knew there would be some in the backyard and did not wish to deal with needing to wipe and dry twelve feet. After all it was 3:40 AM. Flyer has always been the gem when it comes to behaving in the front yard. I never have to worry about her. The other two, if given 1 ounce of freedom from the leash, will generally dart. However, tonight, with great trust and assurance, they lived up to the reputation of being a good Haas dog. One by one, each member of the trio descended the steps to the front yard, did their business, and returned in the house without incident. When we finish our walks, we’ve been stopping, first, in the middle of the yard, and now at the sidewalk, and unleashing, one by one, with instructions to go to the front door. They each have done a super job. Of course, the younger two have been great students of Flyer who, even in old age and blindness, has been a super role model. This was a great moment this morning, and one with a great deal of fanfare and celebration with a treat.

And now, I remain the sole member of this quartet who is wide awake. The other three have returned to slumber, and snoring.

Before going on our evening walk, I began watching the movie, Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner, on my laptop in my study. After our walk, I resumed watching the movie on my iPhone from bed. I don’t think that I, personally, have ever watched a more beautiful, poignant movie. The directing, writing and acting are, to me, superior in every way. A few minutes ago, I listened to dialogue I’ve heard many times before, but heard them completely in a different way. This time, I did not hear a discussion about a black man and a white girl falling in love during a time when it was terribly unacceptable, even dangerous; instead, I was delivered a lesson simply about two people falling in love. It doesn’t matter, one bit, what the rest of the world thinks. All that matters is that the two people love each other, and are prepared to face a full future together.

In the final stages of the movie, Dr. John Prentice, played by Sidney Poitier, says to his father, “You tell me what rights I’ve got or haven’t got, and what I owe to you for what you’ve done for me. Let me tell you something. I owe you nothing! If you carried that [mail] bag a million miles, you did what you’re supposed to do! Because you brought me into this world. And from that day you owed me everything you could ever do for me like I will owe my son if I ever have another. But you don’t own me! You can’t tell me when or where I’m out of line, or try to get me to live my life according to your rules. You don’t even know what I am, Dad, you don’t know who I am. You don’t know how I feel, what I think. And if I tried to explain it the rest of your life you will never understand. You are 30 years older than I am. You and your whole lousy generation believes the way it was for you is the way it’s got to be. And not until your whole generation has lain down and died will the dead weight of you be off our backs! I’m your son. I love you. I always have and I always will. But you think of yourself as a colored man. I think of myself as a man.”

Finally, one of the greatest motion picture actors of the 20th Century, Spencer Tracy, wrapped the film up with one of the most powerful speeches I’ve ever heard.

“Now Mr. Prentice, clearly a most reasonable man, says he has no wish to offend me but wants to know if I’m some kind of a *nut*. And Mrs. Prentice says that like her husband I’m a burned-out old shell of a man who cannot even remember what it’s like to love a woman the way her son loves my daughter. And strange as it seems, that’s the first statement made to me all day with which I am prepared to take issue… cause I think you’re wrong, you’re as wrong as you can be. I admit that I hadn’t considered it, hadn’t even thought about it, but I know exactly how he feels about her and there is nothing, absolutely nothing that you son feels for my daughter that I didn’t feel for Christina. Old- yes. Burned-out- certainly, but I can tell you the memories are still there- clear, intact, indestructible, and they’ll be there if I live to be 110. Where John made his mistake I think was in attaching so much importance to what her mother and I might think… because in the final analysis it doesn’t matter a damn what we think. The only thing that matters is what they feel, and how much they feel, for each other. And if it’s half of what we felt- that’s everything. As for you two and the problems you’re going to have, they seem almost unimaginable, but you’ll have no problem with me, and I think when Christina and I and your mother have some time to work on him you’ll have no problem with your father, John. But you do know, I’m sure you know, what you’re up against. There’ll be 100 million people right here in this country who will be shocked and offended and appalled and the two of you will just have to ride that out, maybe every day for the rest of your lives. You could try to ignore those people, or you could feel sorry for them and for their prejudice and their bigotry and their blind hatred and stupid fears, but where necessary you’ll just have to cling tight to each other and say “screw all those people”! Anybody could make a case, a hell of a good case, against your getting married. The arguments are so obvious that nobody has to make them. But you’re two wonderful people who happened to fall in love and happened to have a pigmentation problem, and I think that now, no matter what kind of a case some bastard could make against your getting married, there would be only one thing worse, and that would be if – knowing what you two are and knowing what you two have and knowing what you two feel- you didn’t get married. [To the families made, played by actress Isabel Sanford] Well, Tillie, when the hell are we gonna get some dinner?”

For some reason, the emotional impact of this movie has weighed heavily on me for several years. I keep figuring that there is a lesson, or something I am to learn from this movie. Perhaps, there is a creative project in store. Regardless, this, for me, is a tremendously great movie.

From DLJH’s iPhone
“Make it a great day!”

About Wright Flyer Guy

Darin is a single adoptive father, a teacher, playwright, and musical theatre director from Kettering, Ohio.
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