Erin's Journals

Monday, November 25, 2019

Just a thought… Only the gentle are ever really strong. [James Dean]

Yes, Christmas is one month away. But it’s come early for Rob and me this past week, with the visit of our friends from near London, Ontario, Lisa and Derek. We’ve shopped, sight-seen, talked, eaten, visited and then talked some more – we even went to see A Beautiful Day In the Neighborhood, with the lovely Tom Hanks as Mister Rogers.

Watching the film was akin to sitting with a cup of cocoa and a close friend, as we soaked in the empathy, wisdom, kindness and love that was Fred Rogers. While I never watched his show as a child or as a parent, I’d love to think there’s a little of his soul in each of us; it’s just remembering to dig in and find it – and bring that kindness out – as often as we can.

I thought of him (“What would Mister Rogers do?”) as I hand wrote letters and accompanying book labels to journal visitors and readers of Mourning Has Broken who responded to last week’s offer to send the labels to accompany Christmas gifts this year.

Thankfully, Lisa and Derek will haul home the 60+ stuffed envelopes and will get them mailed sometime next week. So please say a thank you to Lisa when you get yours, as she helped to make this possible.

Lisa understands better than most the ties that bind a host and her listeners, an author and her readers. There’s a sense of gratitude that links us all and keeps us close, if we’re lucky, long after the radio show has ended or the book has faded from lists and disappeared from shelves.

Another brilliant film Rob and I saw upon our arrival here in California, where we are surrounded by theatres offering the latest blockbusters as well as smaller films, was Jojo Rabbit. Perhaps you’ve heard of this one, but likely not.

It’s about a boy who’s up to his epaulettes in the Hitler youth of the 1940s in Germany, and who happens to have an imaginary friend, as so many children do. But in Jojo’s case, that friend is none other than his hero, Adolf Hitler.

My description of this quirky, lovely, humorous and touching film can’t possibly do it justice. The title is based on Johannes’ nickname, and the fact he’s called “rabbit” because he was too scared to kill one when he was called upon to do so at “training camp.” But don’t be surprised if you see it right up there with big-budget films such as A Beautiful Day come Oscar time.

I just loved this movie. Co-starring Sam Rockwell, director/writer/actor Taika Waititi and Scarlett Johanssen, Jojo won’t be for everyone, and it’s for that reason that I can’t say “You HAVE to see it!” but it certainly is one film I won’t soon forget. So, maybe look it up?

While we’re talking movies, if you haven’t yet seen this year’s Rocket Man, you’re missing out on one of the great bio-pic/fantasies ever. Lisa and Derek hadn’t seen it yet and we rented it on demand on Friday night, lest they succumb to temptation and watch it on the plane.

Boy, were we glad that we did! If Taron Egerton isn’t nominated for Best Actor, there’s no justice. The music, assembled beautifully but in no chronological order whatsoever by “Fifth Beatle” producer George Martin’s son Giles, was spectacular.

Giles also did the music for the Beatles LOVE show in Vegas and its breathtaking soundtrack remains one of Rob’s and my favourite albums of all time. The entire film left us in awe, grateful to have lived in the same time as one Elton Hercules John.

I wish I could tell you some details today of last night’s Randy Rainbow show here in Palm Springs, but I promise some pictures later in the week from our experience with truly the best satirist (in my opinion) of our time. Our pink feather boas were set on STUNNING for the evening and I can’t wait to tell you all about it.

I’ll talk to you Thursday – so do have a wonderful week.

Rob WhiteheadMonday, November 25, 2019