Saturday, January 5, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 01/04/19: A Bit More of What I Miss, Storytime at the Lounge, Alec Guinness

1. I spent over four hours writing my blog post, much of it inspired by watching the movie, My Name is John. I wrote about missing friends in Eugene, the Episcopal church, and living where there's a movie theater. Not long after I posted it, I realized that I could have added two other things I miss now that I live in Kellogg.

I miss the egrets and herons and other waterfowl at Delta Ponds, especially this time of year. I have scores of photographs I snapped at Delta Ponds during the late fall and on into the winter. Back in Maryland and Washington, D. C., I lived near Greenbelt Lake, which had a trail all the way around it and lived not far from the Aquatic Gardens where I loved the system of trails in the gorgeous wetlands area in the Anacostia River basin. These places, along with other trails along water in the D.C. metropolitan area, were my favorite places to take pictures. There is plenty of water around Kellogg. I'm especially interested in the Cataldo Slough. What I don't really know, however, is whether any of these watery places have trails that are easy to walk along and to take pictures from. It's time to go exploring. (I was never an outdoorsman when I lived in Kellogg in my youth.)

I think I've written about this before, but I miss participating in Shakespeare productions, whether fully produced plays or the Shakespeare Showcase. I loved narrating the Shakespeare Showcases, whether I did it alone or alongside Marcee, and, even though I played small roles, I loved being a part of telling Shakespeare's stories on the stage.

Yes, and as I've written this before, I used to love reading things out loud for people, whether it was the scripture at St. Mary's, poems, passages from other writings, or passages from Shakespeare in the classroom, or being a narrator for the Shakespeare Showcase.  I'll always be grateful that living in Eugene, being a member at St. Mary's Episcopal Church, and working at LCC afforded me the opportunity to express myself out loud, and physically, through the written word.

2. I took a trip uptown today. I picked up a James Lee Burke novel and the BBC mini-series, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy at the Kellogg Public Library. On my way home, I stopped in at the Inland Lounge and yakked for a while with Cas. John Seavy was at the bar when I strolled in and later Bird Legs came in and I was audience to all kinds of stories on a range of topics: prime rib prices, doctors, surgeries, pain killers, the Fish Inn, Mr. Jim's, that day a mentally ill guy shot Kenny while hunting but didn't kill him, the anonymous Vietnam medic who saved Kenny and got him to the hospital (to this day Kenny doesn't know the man's name), and any number of other things. My only real contribution to this session was in the beginning when Cas asked me how my homemade Rice a Roni worked out, and when I said we all thought it tasted good with the prime rib, the prime rib stories got rolling and things went from there.

3. Back home, I watched the first of six episodes of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. I'm not quite ready to comment on it, except to say that John Le Carre finds depth in telling a story about a retired or nearly retired spy being called back into action for, possibly, one last mission. This was how The Spy Who Came in From the Cold got underway and, in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, the retired (or semi-retired?) George Smiley is called back into service to root out a suspected Soviet mole who is working in the highest levels of administration in the British intelligence service.

One other thing. The role of George Smiley is played by Alec Guinness. For years, I've loved Alec Guinness' work in a series of movies he made in the late 1940s and on into the 1950s: The Lavender Hill Mob, Kind Hearts and Coronets, The Man in the White Suit, and Last Holiday. I haven't seen The Ladykillers, yet, but I think it fits into this list of comedies, often dark comedies. Alec Guinness' versatility staggers me. At the same time, I can see elements of his work in the movies I mentioned in the episode I watched this evening, especially in a longish scene when George Smiley is accosted by an old colleague in the intelligence service, Roddy Martindale, a pompous non-stop talking boor and gossip, who strong arms Smiley into having drinks and dinner. Guinness plays Smiley's boredom, disgust, and suffering in Roddy Martindale's company quietly and brilliantly, echoing the characters in those earlier movies who must suffer fools, and not at all gladly.

No comments: