Metropolitan Homesick Blues

Southampton Stories & Other Stuff

Archive for February 2011


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It came back to life.

Others didn’t. But, somehow, this one did.

We had tried with the others, following suggestions for success given to us by friends, or slavishly obeying the directions on the card supplied at time of purchase. But, to no avail. Everything ended in failure.

For a good year or more, this one had rested in various places in the house, beside deck doors, windowsills, eastern and western exposures, and done nothing. While it lived, it refused to flower. N. felt we were still on the road to nowhere.

Then, she moved it to the family room. Just to get it out of the way. It sat on the top corner of the fireplace at the edge of the window along with other plants that didn’t need that much light. And gradually, over not too long a time, a new chute appeared. Not one of those strange, creeper-root-type tendrils you usually see, but a green upright stem. Then buds.

And now, a flower.

N’s orchid finally bloomed.

I have been buying her orchids, instead of flowers, for birthdays and anniversaries for years now. While fresh cut flowers are nice, orchids are closer to what N. is, delicate, attractive, independent and emanating a presence that you can’t ignore.

She always kept the plants after the flowers died off. She always hoped that one day one of them would return her care with a bloom. Sadly that day never came for those orchids. Eventually, frustrated and tired of waiting she threw them out.

What was different about this one? Why did it resurrect itself? Who knows?

Who cares?

Right now her reward after all those years of trying is one lovely yellow flower and the promise of another. Not earth-shattering in the grand scheme of things. Just a simple victory of patience. Each time she passes it she smiles and gives it a short spray. And that is good to see.

N. refuses to move it. When it’s done it will remain in its magical place. And we will hope, watch and wait for  the mystery to repeat itself and N’s orchid  to flower again.




Written by metropolitanhomesickblues

February 18, 2011 at 3:48 PM

Everybody goes to Ricks*

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Yesterday I went to see Casablanca – yet again. The Bruce County Museum has afternoon movies for $2.00. I couldn’t pass up the price and what has become a black and white classic.

But as I watched it I couldn’t help but smile. By today’s standards the film is laughable. The over-acting, over-the-top characters, the unbelievable situations, the obvious back lot scenery, the rear screen projection, the painted glass matt backgrounds, the soft lit close-ups on Bergman that make her so beautiful, all contributed to an academy award winning movie. Today these techniques are considered cliché.

Still, it was a great script. And it got me to thinking.

Back in the day – when I was working here and there and flying all over the place – I found myself on a plane leaving Los Angeles. Stacked take-off traffic left us waiting a while for clearance. As the pilot taxied to an out of the way runway he asked us to look out the left side of the plane. We were moving slowly by an old, somewhat worse-for-wear building reminiscent of Spanish or Moorish architecture.

“That, Ladies and Gentlemen,” he said, “is the site of the original LAX airport. That’s where they shot the final foggy scene of Casablanca.”

And then, in his best Humphrey Bogart voice he said, “it doesn’t take much to see that the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world… Here’s looking at you kid.”

Everyone smiled.

My colleague next to me laughed. “Play it again, Sam,” he said, reveling in the moment.

“What? I thought you were a movie buff. He never said that,” I replied. “Bogie’s line was, ‘you played it for her, you can play it for me.’

“And it was Bergman who said,” ‘Play it, Sam. Play As Time Goes By.’”

We argued about Casablanca all the way back to Toronto. I told him that Warner Brothers originally wanted Ronald Reagan to play Rick.

He didn’t believe me. So he matched me with the claim that Bogart wrote the lines, “of all the gin joints in all the world”… and “here’s looking at you, kid”

I felt compelled to correct him. The line is, “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.”

We wondered why such an iconic movie had so many its great lines mangled and misquoted. We figured it was as Bergman said, “ It’s a crazy world…anything can happen.”

Silly, I know. But, that’s what the movie does to you.

As I left the Museum I realized that there are a couple of generations behind me that will never get to misquote any of those wonderfully mundane lines. And that, in itself, is sad. Because they will never be able to smile and say as they walk away from a romance gone bad, “We’ll always have Paris.”

*This was the original title before they got Bogart.

Written by metropolitanhomesickblues

February 2, 2011 at 3:18 PM