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Today in My History

2000: Adventures in Decorating
2001:  Boston to Davis in only 16 Hrs.
2002:  And Yer Pointe Is...?
2003:  The Gift that Keeps on Giving
2004:  Joy Riding
2005:  You Want Spackle with That?

2006:  R.I.P.
2007: Everyone's a Little Bit Racist
2008:  Our Little Angel
2009:  Lookin' Good for an Old Guy
2010:  What's Wrong?
2011:  Look Up, Look Down
2012: A Bug Sandwich

Bitter Hack
: 4/10
"Billy Elliot"

Books Read in 2013
 Updated: 4/7
"The Sixth Man"

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Brianna's 5th Birthday
Lacie's Christening

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mail to Walt


12 April 2013

I saw a beautiful little film this afternoon, which probably most people have never heard of.  I was feeling slightly under the weather and when the mail brought the film, I decided to just take the afternoon off and watch it.

I am currently reading (well, technically listening, since it's an audio boook) to a book written jointly by Martin Sheen and his son, Emilio Estevez.  The book is both an autobiography of both men, and the story of the movie, The Way, in which Estevez directs his father, and also appears as his son (type casting!).

I have been fond of Martin Sheen ever since The West Wing (he's still my choice for president!), but knew little about him and, as I read his filmography, realize I have seen very, very little of what he has done professionally outside of West Wing

His story is fascinating and I've discovered that I really like celebrity autobiographies read by the writer.  Kristen Chenowith's, for example, was maybe the best of the lot (so far)...such a different experience from just reading the book, because in a few places, she bursts into song on the recording.  Such fun.

However, I listened to a bit of Debbie Reynolds' recently released autobiography at Audible.com and decided that it would drive me nuts to listen to her reading and should I ever want to read about her life, I'll get it in print rather than as an audio book.

But back to the Estevez family. Martin's father was from Spain and his mother from Ireland, which must have been an interesting combination.  When he began to seriously look for acting work, there was difficulty for a Latino to find work and so he changed his name from Ramon Estevez. He chose "Martin" for CBS casting director, Robert Dale Martin who gave him his first big break,, and "Sheen" for Bishop Fulton Sheen, who was perhaps the very first televangelist.  (My mother was a huge fan of his and watched his show...uh...religiously.  She also has many of his books.  I still remember those penetrating eyes and his "angel" who cleaned his blackboard for him.)

There were ten children in the Estevez family and Martin's mother died when he was young, so the father raised the kids alone.  An undemonstrative father, he was quiet and withdrawn though obviously loved his children fiercely.   When Martin and his wife (now married more than 50 years) began to have children (4 in all, three boys and the youngest a girl) he determined that he was going to be a more hands-on, affectionate father.  I admire the fact that wherever he went on a movie shoot, whether it was a few weeks or a few months, the whole family went, up until Emilio, the oldest, was in his last year in high school and didn't want to miss school. 

Sheen also discusses his problems with alcohol very honestly.   He has been sober for a very long time now.

As I listened to the book, I became more and more interested in seeing The Way.  It's the story of an ophthalmologist (Tom Avery) whose son, with whom he had a contentious relationship, was killed on his first day walking the Camina de Santiago, a 800 km road from St. Jean Pied de Port in the French Pyrenees to Santiago de Compostela in Spain.  Tom goes to France to retrieve the body and decides to have it cremated and take it on the pilgrimage himself.

Most would-be pilgrims get physically fit, but Tom was not--nor was Sheen, age 70 when the movie was made (you know...an old guy).  He decided he wanted to experience the walk as the character would have.  The book tells of lots of things that happened on this movie shoot, and how fortunate they were to have 40 days in a row with almost not bad weather--apparently unheard of.

Through the movie we see Tom gradually open up to his fellow travelers and, a bitter man at the start, developing friendships toward the end.   Also along the way, he makes peace with his son, whose image appears briefly at various spots.

The more I listened to the book, the more I wanted to see the movie, so I checked Amazon and discovered it was only $5, so I ordered it.

This was a real tear jerker for me. . Maybe it was because it centered so much on a child killed much too soon.  Maybe because Tom leaves bits of his son's ashes at various spots along the way, or maybe I was just taken in by the story, but I was very moved by it.  If you get a chance to see it, I highly recommend it (and if you are a friend of mine living nearby and would like to borrow the DVD, I'd be more than happy to lend it to you).

Tomorrow will be another busy day.  I'm driving to San Rafael (of course) to meet with my mother's doctor to pick up a form that must be taken to Springfield before we can start the moving in process, then drive up to Springfield to drop it off and make an appointment for a "contract signing" next week (after which the apartment belongs to my mother, whether she moves into it right away, or a month from now), then to my mother's (who won't know I'm doing all this driving around before I get to her house) to take her to Kaiser at 5 to have her TB test read.  And maybe, just maybe find those damn pills for her!!!

I will be in the car for such a long time I am almost certainly going to finish the last of "Along the Way" by the time I get back to Davis.


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