What is a Palm Sunday-Techno Revelation? Well, let me start back a few years.
I was about fifteen years old and was watching the Tonight Show. Walter Pidgeon, that’s Mr. Miniver for you old Hollywood fans, was a guest. Being a serious actor, he didn’t sing or dance or tell jokes, so he was asked to recite his favorite poem. He did in a very dramatic way and I was “glued to the tube” and had tears in my eyes when he finished. After getting over the initial performance and message of the piece, all I could remember about it were the final two lines. They had such an impact on me I couldn’t get them out of my head. From what I could recall, I had to assume the name of the poem must be something about a donkey….or something about Palm Sunday….or something about…well, I was lost. How could I ever find a poem when I didn’t know what the title was?
This scant information didn’t keep me from looking. I searched every book of poems I came across for decades. Being a frequent visitor to old bookstores and antiques shops, I pulled every dust-covered volume from every shelf for years and looked through the pages, always hoping that wonderful old poem would jump out at me. But it wasn’t until nearly thirty years from first hearing it that I had any luck.
I was in a used bookstore in Milan, Tennessee, Debbie’s hometown, 25 years ago and picked up a ragged old book of poetry. I ran my thumb down the index pages and suddenly there it was! The Donkey by G.K. Chesterson. My heart was racing so fast at the thought of finally finding this treasure I could barely whip the pages back to page 401. But when I did, I stood there and read for the first time the words of Walter Pidgeon that had been ringing in my head for a score and ten years. (See how the poetry has affected me?)
I bought the book and it is on the shelf in a special place in my office right this minute. Each year I read that little four-stanza poem to the Sunday school class I teach. (They’re probably sick of it by now and dread to see me pull it out.) Well, just moments ago, as I was finishing up the lesson for tomorrow morning at the computer, I told myself not to forget to take the poem. But instead of getting up and walking all the way across the room for the book, I simply stayed in my seat and typed in THE DONKEY. Immediately the words of that old, once- lost poem filled the screen. Thus the title of this piece, Palm Sunday- Techno Revelation.
What took me half a lifetime to find can now be found in seconds. If only I had had a computer to turn to when I was fifteen, I would never have had to spend so much time on the search. But then I had a lot of fun looking. And thanks to Walter Pidgeon, G.K. Chesterson and that glorious old donkey, I’m a better man for it.
Saturday March 23, 2013
Today was Valentine’s Day. A time for candlelight dinners, romantic music and maybe even a dance around the floor a time or two. An orchestra playing our favorite song; a heart-shaped box of candy; a dozen red roses and …..or is that just in the movies? Yeah, probably so.
Well, here’s how it was at our house.
Thinking we might be called on to keep some grandchildren before the evening was over (which we love to do) and not really wanting to fight a restaurant crowd on one of the busiest nights of the year, we decided to do something different. We went to lunch!
Yes, lunch at one of our favorite spots and then we went to the movies. I have loved going to the movies since I was six-years old when I started going every Saturday morning without fail. And I still enjoy the whole process – the smell of the popcorn in the lobby; the trivia quizzes on the screen while you’re waiting in your seat; the previews of what’s coming next week and next month and then the opening fanfare that lets you know the main feature is about to start. Loved it then, love it now. But let’s backup to the lobby.
Any man who can understand the pricing formula at a theater concession stand could understand and create the national budget. No matter what I order, there’s a better deal to be had.
“I’ll take a small drink and a medium popcorn,” I say with confidence.
“For another seventy-five cents you can get a large box of popcorn, sir.”
“Okay,” I say shaking my head.
“And for another fifty cents you can get a bottomless tub of popcorn, sir.”
“Fine,” I say without really knowing if that’s a good deal or not or even considering if anyone would ever really need a bottomless tub of popcorn.
“And a large drink comes automatically with the tub, sir, for just another fifty cents.
“Sounds good,” I say reaching for my money.
Then, of course, Debbie gets a drink and an $8.50 candy bar that looks suspiciously like one that Kroger has on the shelf for $1.25. So now we have more Coke that we can possibly drink, more popcorn than we can possibly eat and a candy bar that won’t last through the cartoon if indeed they still showed cartoons. I’m adding all this up in my head and then figuring in the price of the tickets and realize we have just spent $43 for the two of us to go to the movies But you know who I’m really feeling sorry for? That teenager I used to be. That sixteen-year old boy who just wants to take his girl to the movies. How in the world can he do it? They can go out to a decent restaurant and have a meal for what it cost to work their way through the lobby and down the aisle of Theater #14.
But even this wasn’t the capper. On the way home we were both silent as neither one of us wanted to admit just how horrible the movie was. (I won’t tell you the title as you might disagree and think it was really funny.) We were both glad to be home and our dog was glad to see us. Next time I get the urge to go to the movies I think I’ll just give $43 to the first teenage boy I see on the street and wish him luck.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
DSR – 2/14/13