June 06, 2007

The Cat is Alive!

Last night—after visiting with the landlords (and little Isaac, who is army crawling all over the kitchen)—I went upstairs and (finally!) watched the MGM classic Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

It was intense. It was nerve racking. It was intoxicating. And it was one of the most magnificent dramas I have ever seen.

Tennessee Williams creates a tense family crisis that seems completely hopeless. The six characters all seem irredeemable; it feels like the entire family will self-destruct on their own selfishness (and mendacity). And yet, somehow, it comes to a satisfying and beautiful finish. Other plusses? The tough (but surprisingly warm) Burl Ives, the captivating Liz Taylor, and the gorgeous and brooding Paul Newman. (And, boy, I mean gorgeous! Whooie!)

Honestly, I can’t believe it took me so long to watch this film (though I don’t think Mom and Dad would like it much, so that may be why). Anna, you’d love this—it’s a masterpiece.

Of course, I was so tense afterward I had to watch 4 episodes of The Mary Tyler Moore Show (Season 4. Lou: “BALDERDASH! I don’t even know what that means!) before I was calm enough to even try to go to bed. By then it was nearly 3 am.

* * *

I do miss California a lot this time of year—but the Mid-Atlantic does spring and early summer like nobody else. May I recommend driving in the dusk, and rolling down the windows? Even in town, the air has the slightest hint of honeysuckle—in the country the air is heady with the scent. If you wait another hour or so, you’ll see flocks of fireflies rising slowly from the ground; it’s positively magical. Now if only Peter had built a bat house to get rid of all the mosquitos…

* * *

Speaking of magic: I just have to share one more thing. My very favorite book when I was growing up was not Peter Pan as many people suppose. I actually didn’t read that until I was a junior in college. No, no. My favorite book was Natalie Babbit’s The Search for Delicious, which is about a young man who goes touring the countryside polling everyone for their definition of the word Delicious. The king thinks its beer, and the queen thinks its cod (or something), and the magistrate thinks its prunes (ugh!). Turns out not a single person can agree on the definition. Meantime there is a water nymph and a lot of dwarves, and some bad men, and a drought, and an epic battle. It’s really marvelous.

Babbit is most known for her equally wonderful Tuck Everlasting, about a family who lives forever. The Search for Delicious was no where near as popular a book, but my mom read it when it first came out, and introduced me to it when I was 8. I’d take it out of the library about once a year, and re-read it. Then, finally when I turned 18 she bought a new edition for me. But yesterday, as I was doing some gift shopping at the local used book store, I found a first edition in perfect condition, for ONE DOLLAR!!! I know I’m not supposed to be buying books, but I thought the gods would forgive me—this was too good to pass up. I left a very happy person.

1 comment:

  1. Mags, Some day in our busy life (hopefully before we are old and gray though, of course, not senile) we will be able to read aloud together that oh, most beloved book, "The Search for Delicious." After all, you were the one who introduced me such genius.