Friday, April 3, 2009

The Sanctum Sanctorum

Years ago - maybe six - my daughter Katharine (Kit) came up with an idea called "Mother-Daughter Date Night." Once a week, she and I were to get together for a sit down dinner and a movie at home - just us. She lived at home at the time so this was an easy thing to do. After a few weeks, it dawned on us both that I had a mother too, and she lived just a few blocks away. We started holding our weekly "date nights" at Shorty's house(my Mom)...with Shorty in charge of dinner, and the movie being my responsibility. The name changed to "Movie Night," we added other women in the family to our enclave, and every Wednesday Shorty's house becomes "The Sanctum Sanctorum." It is a place where we can sit down to dinner and catch up with each other's lives, argue about politics, complain about men (that's a popular topic), drink wine, gossip, and then we watch a movie while drinking more wine and eating snacks that are not good for us. This week Shorty had a bowl of peanut M&Ms out, the week before was Bar-B-Q Fritos. One can never tell what Shorty's apt to put before us. She comes up with some interesting food combinations at dinner as well, like a menu consisting of polish sausages, tuna salad and brussel sprouts - or beef stew, shrimp and a baked potato. But, that's really part of the fun. This Christmas, Kit gave each member of the Sanctum Sanctorum a sterling silver wishbone on a neck chain. Thus, we dubbed ourselves the Royal Order of the Silver Wishbone. I've been trying to come up with a hat for each member to wear at Movie Night - something silly and gaudy and reflective of that person's personality. Certainly, Shorty's would have an artist theme because she's a gifted painter. Kit's would probably have a very trendy, girly shoe nestled in somewhere. When friends or relatives come into town, they become honorary members, if they so desire. This includes men. The rule, however, is this: we are probably going to watch a chick flick, ergo, men must sit there and behave...that means no sighs, no grunts, no chuckle-headed jokes, no burping and no passing gas. (This can often be too much to ask of my two sons.)

At some point early on, we began to keep track of the movies we watched, noting them in a stenographic notebook Shorty keeps by her telephone - two columns to each page. I'll have to count them one day - there are hundreds of them. When we think of it, we'll put little stars next to the movie (4 being the best). So far, there was only one movie that was so painfully awful, we had to stop in the middle. It was a gift from a friend, so I can't say what it was. But I do hope you can avoid renting it anyway. This week we watched "Marley and Me." Lots of sobbing going on among the Wishbones with that one. (As a matter of fact, I wanted to race home and kiss my black lab on the lips - I didn't, however.)

Kit no longer lives at home, but a few weeks ago, out of the blue, she said with a sigh, "I love Movie Night." Out of college now, she's applying for jobs in the big city far from home. Far from the Sanctum Sanctorum. Far from Shorty's gentle acceptance of us - faults and all. I think I feel a little twitching in my chest, and a sort of lumpy thing in my throat - like trying to swallow a hot sock. To us Movie Night is sacred. In the absence of hurricanes, floods or pestilence, the Wishbones make it to the appointed place at the appointed hour. I suppose one day Movie Night will cease to exist, and the Sanctum Sanctorum will close its doors...the Wishbones all gone away. But for right here and for right now, life is good every Wednesday.

9 comments:

  1. Oh Grad - this just sounds so wonderful. I wish I had a family I wanted to be with that way. I can imagine how you feel, facing up to Kit's moving away. But she may well move back one day, too, and in the meantime you'll have had those thousands of movies' experience of loving, shared togetherness. How amazing is that?

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  2. Litlove, I've had a lot of challenges and disappointments over the decades. But, I can say with absolute conviction that a loving family makes up for everything. Don't forget, family doesn't necessarily mean just relatives. Anyone we cherish is a part of the familial embrace, right? Amazing indeed, my friend.

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  3. What a beautiful, beautiful post about a beautiful, beautiful tradition! Is it awful to admit that I'm jealous?

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  4. Debi, thank you. It's a tradition anyone can start, and it doesn't have to be weekly. It can be whatever you make it. (It's rather nice to have someone jealous of me for a change! :>)

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  5. This sounds so wonderful, Grad. What a simple but potent bonding experience for the women in your life (and occasional flatulence-free men...). It does make me wistful, although to be honest my bookclub is not so dissimilar - and it's on a Wednesday night too, which forever more will make me feel like I am somehow sharing the evening with you too.

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  6. Doctordi, we'd love to share the evening with you - even if only in spirit.

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  7. I want some of Shorty's favourite snacks.

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  8. Please check my blog for an award for you Grad.
    http://paradise-mysteries.blogspot.com/2009/04/lovely-blog-award.html

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  9. Happy Easter, Grad! I bet it's a treat with your clan.

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