Friday, November 24, 2006

First Sleep Over...

Emma is totally in love with Chicken Run (pronounced Shicken Run as if spoken with a light French accent). After we received our first copy two years ago the strip of film contained within the video case was almost worn bare with the amount of viewings that the family endured for the next six months. And then somehow mysteriously the video simply disappeared, worn filmstrip and all. The Clam shell case remained but was empty much, to Emma's complete horror.

The family sympathized deeply with her loss but not one person seemed to know what had happened to it. It was even suggested that perhaps her own guardian angel, tired of watching it daily, might have had a hand in it's disappearance. Given the hostility that had lately begun to be expressed each time this flock of birds flew across the TV screen, and the new found gusto with which chicken pies were being consumed in our home, it is possible that her angel just might have been protecting his charge by causing the video to simple vanish.

It was not under the couch, behind the video case, nor had it slipped upstairs to a book shelf. It was gone. After a few weeks, Emma moved on to another favorite but whether it was because she was wiser and feared its disappearance, or it simply could not completely replace the soft spot in her heart for 'Shicken Run', she did not ask to watch it multiple times - daily.

And then yesterday while at her sister's house for Thanksgiving dinner what to her wondering eyes should appear but a copy of SHICKEN RUN!

Emma gasped and grabbed the clamshell cover, opened it and within it, her eyes lovingly embraced the actual video. She pulled it out and scurried over to Jenny and begged that she be allowed to watch it. Now we were 16 people crowded into a small, nay tiny 2 bedroom house with the living room a mere 15 by 15 feet by a generous guess as to size. A light tremor was felt through the floor when the family, as a collective, shivered at the prospect of watching Emma's beloved film of squawking chickens.

Jenny’s eyes locked with mine across the room and she saw weakness in mine but I strengthened my resolve and suggested:
“After we eat Emma, we can watch it after we eat dinner.“

“Oh, but I am not hungry.”

Seeing that I was wavering, Jenny surveyed the room and thinking quickly she then suggested to Emma, “I know, how about you stay all night with me and then we can watch it together.”

Emma was torn, she had been pining to sleep over at her big sisters but to have to wait even another minute before watching her beloved Rocky and Ginger was almost too much to bear. I leaped on the band wagon and encouraged her to stay all night, whilst wondering how I would cope with leaving my darling Emma Wee wee behind when we returned home for the night. But Thanksgiving must, after all, be spared at all cost!

A few minutes later I saw Emma and Jennifer in conference with said movie in hand and Emma left her side and came to me asking with great animation and concern written across her face; “When are we leaving Mummy? When are we going home?”

“Well, I don’t know.” I replied somewhat perplexed. “We haven’t eaten yet and I thought YOU were staying all night with Jenny.

“Oh yes, I am and we are going to watch Shicken Run, so when are we leaving?”

“Oh I see, you mean when is the family leaving?”

She nodded solemnly.

“Ummmm, after we eat. I guess when it’s dark.”

Her eyes darted to a window as if gauging how much sunlight was left in the day.

Okay she sighed and traipsed back to Jenny. “They is leaving at night time Jenny, when it is dark outside”
“Okay,” Jenny smiled, ‘we can watch it then, Emma. When it is dark outside.”

The crescendo of noise grew in proportion with the delicious aromas issuing forth from the tiny kitchen and I mused over how Emma’s “own special Momma” had been so easily replaced by - a movie, of chickens no less. And Emma continued to watch the window and to measure how much lower the sun was in the sky. At moments she could not bear it and would ask an adult, a different one each time. “Can we watch Shicken Run now?” Somehow though there was a unity of thought and each person relied, ‘after Dark Emma, after dark.’ Finally fearing she would ultimately lose the video by dragging it through the house as well as outside when watching her brothers rake leaves I encouraged her to relinquish it to me and together we placed it in a pantry cupboard when she could see but not reach it.

Finally a trip to the local park was suggested and full ninety minutes of sunlight was worn away in great fun and energy (Look for pictures soon!) on swings , slides and foot races around the perimeter of the play ground.

It was not long after their return to the house that the turkey was pronounced ready for carving and we all gathered around for Grace and the feast began. Emma did not even notice the sun set but suddenly she realized that it was DARK outside. Her goal even closer in hand she willingly helped dump plastic plates and cutlery in the garbage bag. Finally, finally it was time to say good bye and I wondered; would she really be able to stay and watch the van drive off. She had never slept anywhere but in her own home and still often awoke in my bed cuddled up to ‘her special momma’.
Her eyes looked a little worried but stood her ground and waved good bye as we drove away. Tens minutes of driving and I could not stand it any longer and I called to see if she was bearing up to being left behind.

She was too busy to come to the phone - Ginger was leading the flock to another escape and Emma was cuddled with her big brother enjoying every minutes.

“Okay, I sighed” That is good.” and I hung up.

This morning the phone rang, early. Too early for me. It was my daughter Jenny.

“What’s up?” I mumbled.

“Not much, just wondering when you are coming up to go look at the (wedding) dress with me.” We discussed the details and finally I just had to ask what Emma was doing.

“Watching Chicken Run.”

Now my dilemma is; Should Saint Nicolas bring a new copy of Shicken Run or should we just let sleeping dogs lie? Read more!

Happy Thanksgiving

Father Corapi wrote so well about all that we have to be grateful that I felt I did not need to try and write something myself.

I hope that you all had a wonderful Holiday with your family and friends. We had a wonderful time. Originally we were to eat here at our house but last minute change in plans took us to our soon to be married daughter's house. We had a great time.

Now without further adue, here is Father Corapi's message of Thanksgiving.

As we in the United States approach another celebration of our holiday of Thanksgiving, we would do well to recall indeed what we have to be thankful for--everything.
All that we have is a gift from God. All of us, at one time or another in one way or another, have failed to live a true spirit of Thanksgiving, as well as express it with words. Whenever we feel deprived, depressed, or otherwise unhappy, a simple prayer of thanksgiving will go a long way toward healing those feelings. The fact of the matter is that we are truly blessed in so many ways. Despite all of the ups and downs locally and nationally, we still live in the best country in the world. If you don't think so, evaluate how many people are trying to get out of this country, and how many are trying to get in.
Thank God for the United States that we are privileged to live in. Thank God for the blessing of our family and each and every unique member of it--even the ones who drive you crazy. After all, they are contributing to your sanctification. They sure make us exercise virtue, don't they?
Thank God for the gifts of sight, hearing, smell, touch, and every other physical sense we have been given. Thank God for physical strength, agility, speed, and other such physical blessings. Oh, you don't have those anymore? Thanks be to God for the lack of such things. More to offer to God. After all, St. Paul says "It is when I am weak that I am strong."
Thank God for the ability to empathize with the pain and suffering of others. Thank God for the gifts of faith, hope, and charity. Thank God for the gift of our religion, for the intellect and the will to try to know, love, and serve this good God with our whole heart, mind, and strength.
In the end, as an old friend of mine used to say, "Thank God for God!"
We have a lot to be thankful for. This Thanksgiving, we would all do well to pray in that spirit of thanksgiving and to live that thanksgiving to God each and every day from now on.
Happy and blessed Thanksgiving to each and every one of you.
With God's Blessing,
Fr. John Corapi

To my readers in Canada, Australia and England, I believe that what Father says here about how wonderful the country is that we live in - can be applied to your countries as well. I hope ALL of you had a blessed holiday. Read more!