February 10, 2019

Slice of PIE…Maybe…: Alzheimer’s, STAR TREK, and Reconciliation

NOT using the panel discussions of the most recent World Science Fiction Convention in San Jose, CA in August 2018 (to which I be unable to go (until I retire from education)), I would jump off, jump on, rail against, and shamelessly agree with the BRIEF DESCRIPTION given in the pdf copy of the Program Guide. But not today. This explanation is reserved for when I dash “off topic”, sometimes reviewing movies, sometimes reviewing books, and other times taking up the spirit of a blog an old friend of mine used to keep called THE RANTING ROOM…

I’m a sucker for a movie or book that’s all about reconciliation – The Jane Austen movies are about reconciliation of broken relationships (They’re romances, too, but that’s beside the point). STAR TREK: Wrath of Khan is about reconciliation between Kirk and his son David. Dad introduced me to STAR TREK in the late 60s, and watching the shows with him, and eventually my wife and kids, was a foundational event that led me to me pursuing my writing.

Even the goofy Lego Movie has a father-son reconciliation at the end (Oddly, there are NO images of them hugging at the end...sad, that.)

The first movie mom and dad brought us to see was the original MARY POPPINS. We saw it at the Terrace Theater in Robbinsdale, the city Mom grew up in. At the very end, Mr. Banks reconciles with his kids, dumping the “bank life” for flying a kite with Jane and Michael.

I’ve been reflecting lately about WHY reconciliation movies and books are so important to me. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a sort of odd duck in the family. Dad played football and basketball (in the day when players who were 6’1” were tall, he was STILL short!). My brothers and sister played sports all through high school and beyond. Even mom was a member of the Robbinsdale Girl’s Athletic Club – tennis, badminton, and even fencing.

I didn’t do sports. I read. I wrote. I played guitar. I went to a very religious college and then went touring in Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin and eventually West Africa with two different church bands. I went to Moorhead State University and worked most of my summers at Bible camps.

I wasn’t home a lot because, frankly, I didn’t feel like I belonged.

Then I got older and wiser, got married, then Josh and Mary were born, and then Alzheimer’s touched our lives. After Mom passed, it just seemed to get worse, but I started to spend more time with Dad. Oddly, I started to feel closer to him as we did more and more things together – like watching NASCAR racing, going to restaurants after doctor or dentist visits, or going to The Lookout just because. Our lives began to wind together like they never had when I was younger. We would talk, sometimes just sit together, or go to an event at SilverCreek and enjoy ourselves. In the end, I felt reconciled – I felt like Dad was part of my life again and that I was part of his. Maybe that’s why the movies like Sing, and Back To The Future – and even FINDING NEMO meant so much to me. They were always about reconciliation; about joining BACK together after a time of separation. And I cried at those movies when I first saw them; and a few days ago, I cried when I realized that me and Dad had reconciled…               

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