Friday, August 19, 2011

CRY ME A RIVER....OR A POOPY CHOCOLATE PIE

Usuallty I read a book before I will see the movie based on that book, but I made an exception when I went to see "The Help".  As I sat in the theater, alternating between laughter and tears, I wondered what it is that makes people cry.  Well, I can't speak with any authority about anyone other than me, but I've come to realize that it is the human face and the written or spoken word.

When I was much younger, I didn't cry about much, other than tears of extreme frustration when I couldn't figure out how to do something...usually math.  To this day, I still think algebra sucks.  Once I reached adulthood and had a baby, something happened.  Some sort of biological switch was flipped.  After that and even today I cry over too many things and not all of them deserve the salty exudate.

I can't stand in a crowd and sing "The Star Spangled Banner" without feeling the moisture brim in my eyes.  This makes no sense to me as I'm not a USA-chanting zealot.  When I took a trip to Italy a few years ago with my sister-in-law to her ancestral home of Boiano, we visited a nearby cemetery and I was overcome, hurriedly wiping away tears.  There wasn't a soul there that I knew or loved, but the Italian custom of embedding photographs on the grave markers was heart-rending.  If the grave's occupant hadn't lived long enough to have a formal photograph taken, as was often the case with children, the photos were taken after death, with their little bodies surrounded by floral tributes.  All I could think of was the broken lives of the parents and families left behind.

Yesterday I drove to Gettysburg, PA to visit some old friends who were traveling the country in an RV.  We saw a film and visited a magnificent museum dedicated to the tens of thousands of soldiers who died there during the civil war.  The faces of the young soldiers, so many in their teens, whose bodies lay with diaries and pictures of wives, girlfriends or children in their uniform pockets tore my heart to pieces.

Sometimes the mind creates a visual, prompted by reading something sad.  You may think it ridiculous, but I can't read E.B. White's "Charlotte's Web" to myself or aloud to a child without my voice breaking when I come to the part where the spider dies.  The first time I ever heard of this classic story was when my then three-year-old son watched the movie on television.  When Charlotte expired, he turned to me and asked in an unsteady little voice, "Did Charlotte die?"  I nodded numbly as tears rolled down my cheeks and he ran from the room, crying "I'm never watching television again!".  Even White, the author, wasn't immune to the power of his own writing.  When he narrated the audiobook of "Charlotte's Web", he struggled through seventeen takes before he could get through it without betraying his own emotions.  White paced in agitation, berating himself and mumbling, "This is ridiculous.  I'm a grown man, crying over an imaginary insect."  And yes, spiders aren't insects, but that's what he reportedly said.

Things don't even have to be sad to make me cry.  If something is funny enough, I'll laugh until I cry.  If you've seen or read "The Help", and recall the chocolate pie scene, you'll know a prime example of that.

So go ahead......post/share something strange or unexpected that makes you cry.  Just don't expect me to sit here dry-eyed while I read it.




 

8 comments:

Connie J Jasperson said...

I cry for Charlottes Web everytime! and while I have not yet seen The Help, I am sure that it will get to me when I do get a chance to see it!

Gary Hoover said...

King Kong for me. Great blog!

Danielle Raver said...

Oh Kathleen, I am cry-city. Martin Luther King's speech - we watch it every year in my classroom.

Kimberly Carvill said...

I cry at the drop of at hat should I concentrate on how much I love my dog Buster....ironically, noy my husband.

Anonymous said...

I'm exactly the same way. I did it with my children and now my grandchildren. Every time I leave them, the tears start to flow. But at least they are happy tears and then when I have to leave them again I cry even though I know I will be seeing them soon. Crazy, huh?

Theresa C. Webb said...

I am not sure what I did, but I am anonymous. Theresa Budacz Webb. Not so anonymous anymore!

jenny milchman said...

I too began crying more once I had children. Hallmark commercials could do it. Charlotte's Web for sure. Most stories on the news. That Christian the Lion video. Oh, don't get me started...

Nice post!

Sandee said...

Old Yeller.