Friday, February 18, 2011

A Summer Day in February - Babette's Feast

Le General and the woman he loved for many years though he married another.

My day began at 8 am by watching a film on my laptop, the exquisitely photographed 1987 Babette's Feast by Danish filmmaker Gabriel Axel.

Oh no! I said to myself toward the end of the movie. You mean I've got to photograph these scenes for my blog?

The images simply flung themselves off my laptop and into my heart. The sumptuous French feast that Babette prepared for the small party of 12 devoutly religious individuals served as a sort of communion wafer in uniting this quarrelsome bunch and bringing peace to each one of them. Over dinner they stopped their bickering and began to love one another.

I don't believe it! Grace Catherine was there in a highchair in the kitchen. Hadn't noticed her until now.

Babette had won 10,000 francs in the French lottery.

With her winnings, she ordered the finest ingredients from France to be shipped to Denmark so she could prepare her feast.

These ascetic Christians, who frequently quoted the Bible, were aghast at such fine foods - and drink - as they'd never seen before.

Only one person, Le General, knew exactly what he was eating and drinking. He was a man of refined tastes, having lived it up in Paris.

Mumbling under his breath, he said, I have only tasted food like this in one restaurant in Paris. The head chef, of course, was our Babette.

It must've been close to 70 degrees today. When I went outdoors I noticed this tiny crocus among the soggy ground in my front yard.

Then I walked across the street to talk to neighbor Nancy. We sat on her front porch and chatted. I learned a lot about Willow Grove before I moved here. Unlike today there was a thriving 'main street' with department stores like Lit Brothers and the Grove Diner and the Grove Cinema.

As teenagers, she and her friends would go to the movies. Black people would sit in the seats on the left. "We just thought, that's where they sit."

In fact, in a story I just finished for about former librarian Lillian Burnley, I took some photos of the library's art collection. They commissioned the well-known Joan Landis to create four historical paintings of Willow Grove. Here's one of em:

Landis worked w/Joe Thomas, head of the Hysterical Association, oops, Historical Association, who had scads of old photos of early Willow Grove. Landis produced this original which highlights the early days when the Willow Grove train was a stop on the Underground Railway.

Since Colonial times, pig farmers put their animals onboard to go to market in Philadelphia.

I learned this while researching my story.

Speaking of the past, my 88-year-old mother had a nightmare last nite. She dreamt she was still living on Marlindale Road in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, and that an intruder was breaking in. She escaped onto an upstairs roof where she used to stand to wash the windows.

While still dreaming she cried out Help help help! My sister Ellen heard her and ran upstairs thinking mom had fallen out of bed.

Oy, the things that happen to us when we get old.

Quick, Ruthie, change the subject and think of something happy.

Well, I'm certainly not gonna tell them I had Roy Hacker out here to fix my refrigerator cuz I had a flood on my new linoleum this morning. He ordered new parts.

You know what? I smell coffee. There's no reason for this but I do love my coffee.

Oh, I forgot I gave it up five years ago.

1 comment:

  1. Love that movie!

    So sorry about the flood and hope nothing is damaged!