Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Many years ago, my husband and I belonged to a small startup church in Garland. The pastor and his wife were friends and so we kind of served as asst pastors. I ran the Sunday school and Randy helped the pastor with his stuff. So we rented a space in a retail strip mall and furnished it and got some pictures on the walls and pews in the main auditorium. It was a cute little church and fun project. We had about 6 or 8 faithful families that would come and it was growing – sometimes there might be 50 or 60 people on Sunday morning.
One of the families was a man, his wife and 2 kids around 8 and 10 years old. The thing about this family is that they were strange. Every one of them was tall, thin, pale skin and kind of sickly looking. On the way home from church, we would always talk about them and say things like, “Wonder how they got that way?”
So one Sunday, they invited us to go home with them to eat lunch after service. We followed them in our car and pulled into their driveway. It was a decent looking but somewhat plain house. On the inside, it was sparsely furnished. We settled around the dining table hoping for something delicious like homemade fried chicken, gravy, mashed potatoes and sweet tea. After a few minutes, the lady brought a big clear glass bowl of steamed carrots and set them in the middle of the table.
We muttered, “Mmmm, those look good – wonder what else we’re having? Maybe a steak and potatoes with gravy and some rolls.”
The lady returned with glasses of tea and then with plates and silverware. Her husband says, “All ready to eat, dear?”
And the wife answers, “Yes honey.”
In my mind, I’m saying, “No honey! Get up and go get the fried chicken, the mashed potatoes, the rolls and butter. What about the pecan pie?”
So my husband and I smiled back and forth at each other, exchanging uncomfortable stares. Neither one of us knew what was going on. Surely this lady wasn’t going to serve ONLY carrots to their guests.
But the man, his wife and the two kids were called to the table and everyone sat down. The dad gave thanks for the food (if you could call it that.) and we all said Amen! And began to spoon carrots onto our plates, all the while bewildered. Maybe this was just the first course and more food would come once we ate the carrots. There was hope in our hearts. But then, we finished our carrots and looked around. Nothing happened. That was it. The meal was over.
We told them how nice it was for them to invite us over for lunch and how great everything was and then we excused ourselves saying we had to get home and let the dog out. Of course, we left there making a beeline for a good restaurant where we had a delicious lunch. While eating, I said, “What just happened there? Do you think they eat that way all the time?”
He said, “Well, at least we know now why they are all so pale, thin and sickly looking.”
“Yeah, but do you think they brought us there to show us how poor they are so we would offer to buy them some groceries? Or what?”
“Maybe, but they never mentioned anything about that to us. They seemed happy eating their carrots.”
“You know…if that’s all they feed those children, that’s child abuse. Someone should call CPS and report them. Kids can’t develop strong bones and brains eating only carrots. That’s going to cause a whole bunch of health problems down the road.”
“Well, I don’t think we should get involved,” my husband said, frowning. And we never did. But I always wondered how those kids were, if they were able to learn, play, run track, do all the things kids do in school and in life.
I wondered if they grew up with unhealthy relationships to food and maybe developed dangerous eating disorders. I still wonder today about that family.
Friday, September 2, 2016
I guess I like the popular programs that most people enjoy. Survivor, Big Bang Theory, Amazing Race, Modern Family … I generally watch Big Brother every summer.
But your viewing favorites can change from time to time, sort of like your food cravings. One day, you’d love a big steak and the next, fried shrimp is what you dream of. TV programs are like that too.
Big Bang Theory is a great show. I’d love to write for that show. That would be my “Dream Job”. But everyone will agree that, it’s easy to get an overdose of “Sheldon Cooper”. I know his character is written to be pedantic, pestering, and even outlandish … but really … he takes “finicky” to a whole new level.
You do really watch the show and just want to shout at his friends: “Oh my gosh! Stop catering to his insanity!”
But that never happens. Occasionally, one of his group tries to call him out but doesn’t do a very effective job of it. So someday, we may all reach our Sheldon Cooper limit and then what?
Well, as most viewers would agree, those folks who are tasked with coming up with original programming to air in prime time are not really going to much trouble to make that happen. Generally, they try to rehash old hits like “The Odd Couple”. Then when that doesn’t work, they try to come up with spin-offs of Modern Family or Friends. Then when that plan fails, they just show us reruns for a few months.
Honestly, if I made the money those guys make, I would work a lot harder to come up with original programming that viewers would enjoy. The best shows now are coming out of cable channels. Eager to beat everyone in the ratings, these guys are actually using their brains to THINK. I know this a peculiar concept for Hollywood.
The best new cable show is “Queen of the South”. It’s about a young Mexican woman who accidentally gets mixed up with the Texas drug cartel. She struggles between her desire to do the right thing and her need to stay alive. I know I’m a little biased because I’m a Texas girl, born and bred, but it is a highly original program.
It’s not a warmed-over “Law and Order” or a 12th generation remake of “Seinfeld” or “60 Minutes”. Some creative people sat down, thought a lot, tossed around some ideas, worked hard on a story line and finally came up with this great new idea for a show. They worked hard at it till they finally got it right.
So here’s an idea for a new show:
The producers and developers at a major network sit around all day and try to come up with great new ideas for shows.
That’s what’s wrong with America. We want everything to be quick and easy. All the song lyrics and tunes sound exactly like a thousand other songs. All the movies look exactly like a thousand other movies. Nothing’s original anymore. When someone does make an original movie or TV show, we freak out. It gets all kinds of awards. Everyone’s talking about how great it is.
I think Americans have let their brains go to mush! Very few people really use their creative genes. It’s rare to meet someone who tries to utilize all of their God-given gifts to do better, be better, create something amazing or become the best version of themselves. Like I said, when we meet someone like that, we immediately make a big deal out of it.
I’m starting on a new story this weekend. It’s about friendly aliens that invade our planet and set up a colony here. It will be full of twists and turns, exciting chases, love scenes, scheming and all that stuff that makes up a good story! All I need is a title!