“Winnie the Pooh” seems like an unusual topic for a guy to write about. Even more unusual that he would go see the movie. For 90 minutes or so, I wanted to forget that I was an adult. I wanted to forget that I’d just worked a long 60 hour week, and that I’m avoiding more work I have to get done before Monday and what is sure to be another long week.
I thought this was going to be a post about seeing a little bit of ourselves in each of A.A. Milne’s characters. The outgoing Tigger; Owl always with some bit of knowledge; high-strung Rabbit worried about his garden; Pooh ever-conflicted between finding some honey and helping his friends; Eeyore who struggles to see that there is anything in the glass at all, never mind whether it is half-empty or half-full.
Sometimes, I want to see a movie without thinking about drugs, sex, violence, lie upon destructive lie that tears apart people and relationships, people cheating on their girlfriend/wife/boyfriend/husband, really nasty people like Carolyne in ‘The Other Woman‘ with ugly hearts who take pleasure in hurting other people.
Sometimes, I want to remember something good from when I was a kid – a time when life wasn’t so complicated. It was, but I try to pretend that it wasn’t.
Sometimes, I want the world to stop for a few minutes so I can try – despite knowing better – to fix the things I’ve broken, and repair the things about me that are broken.
Sometimes, I want to forget for a time this is not how life was supposed to turn out.
That was last night. Today, a very serious reality check that I don’t believe is at all a coincidence.
I sat down this afternoon to watch Lt Dan Band – For the Common Good, a documentary about Gary Sinise’s work for the USO and on behalf of the troops. The movie opens with scenes from the morning of September 11, 2001. I’d very nearly forgotten that two wars we’re in started with planes flying into buildings.
As I’m watching this, there are parts that make me cry. The song one of the Lt Dan Band singers wrote for the troops, and just how she felt like she wasn’t worthy to write it, who was she?
I am your son, I am your daughter
I stand for freedom and for honor
And I am brave, my love is pure
And I’d sacrifice my life for yours
I completely fell apart and wept openly when they interviewed Ginger Gilbert, wife of fallen Air Force major Troy Gilbert. He was an F-16 pilot killed in theatre just after my brother-in-law, also a viper pilot, arrived for his first tour in Iraq. As Ginger tells it, her husband saved 22 lives on the ground and lost his own.
As I put last year’s Honor Flight videos together, I wanted to honor Major Gilbert and Capt Giglio, killed on a night training mission while my brother-in-law was working the flight in the control tower. Yet, who am I? To see some of the same images in this documentary that I used was extremely humbling to say the least.
It isn’t that life doesn’t suck in a lot of ways, and there aren’t things I wish I knew how to change. A father lost two sons on 9/11 – one a NYPD cop, one a FDNY fire fighter. Ginger lost her husband, their kids lost their father, and the country lost a hero. I can imagine at some point she must have thought “…this isn’t how life was supposed to turn out.”