A beautiful day

In a conversation with friends on Wednesday, one asked each of us, “What’s your favorite painting?” I know very little about art, but the first painting that came to my mind was Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee by Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669).

Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee, 1633
(Stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990)

If you look closely, there are 14 people in the boat. Jesus is easy to identify. The guy in blue looking at us, holding his cap with one hand and a rope in the other, appears to be Rembrandt (echoing a similar self-portrait from that era). He seems to have painted himself into the scene.

I’m writing this post early on a rainy Saturday morning after seeing A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood yesterday on a rainy Friday afternoon. My review is shorter than Roger Ebert’s: “Don’t miss it.”

When you see this Tom Hanks movie, pay attention to its many subtle details, such as the entire restaurant going silent when Fred Rogers (1928-2003) and his guest pause for a moment before eating. Stay for the credits and notice how much of the movie’s music was written by Rogers.

Both Rembrandt and Hanks participated in the respective stories they depicted, and their art invites us to see ourselves in these stories as well.

Tom Hanks paints himself into a story about Fred Rogers

5 thoughts on “A beautiful day”

  1. For me, the movie was dark, in spite of the happy ending. Horrible condition of Lloyd’s brain and his family’s situation really bummed me out.

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    1. Thank you, Kathy. I understand what you’re saying. I started to point out in the post that it’s a movie for adults. One powerful aspect for me was Fred’s ability to deal with pain and to have radar for the pain of others.

      I teared up a few times. For me it was therapeutic. I figured Lloyd was very broken when his editor said Fred was the only hero nominee willing to be interviewed by him. This was underscored when Fred’s handler said Fred had read all of Lloyd’s articles (and agreed to be interviewed anyway). So, I was somewhat braced for Lloyd’s darkness.

      When Lloyd’s wife said with amazement, “He knows my name,” I was challenged to try harder. Name retention came easily for me in my earlier days, but now it’s tougher. I came away wanting to be more like Fred when I grow up.

      I was cheered up when a new version of Old Rabbit appeared in Lloyd’s family Christmas photo at the end of the movie.

      You’ve given me something to think about. Thank you. I have a fun dog story for tomorrow but I’ll reflect on the darkness theme on Tuesday. That’s important work!

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  2. If you are talking about when you meet someone new, Ted I have (stole) an idea from a ‘keepsake forever book.’ After you learn the person’s name, use it multiple times in a conversation with the person as you attach mental notes about the physical traits of the person you just met. So, in theory, next time you see the person you’ll be able to remember his/her name. The book…..I know you are curious-thirty years ago I read a lot…….Alright, the book….’How to Win Friends and Influence People’ by Dale Carnegie.

    As you are one of those people who make you feel so comfortable talking with, like you’ve known them your whole life!

    Oh, I haven’t seen the movie. All the best!

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    1. Thank you, mingyesun. My dad took the Dale Carnegie course when I was a junior in high school. He was in a new sales job and was feverishly learning the many new lines he represented. He asked me to read and summarize for him the three assigned books, the one you cited along with How to Stop Worrying and Start Living and Effective Speaking. These were very helpful to me because within 3 years I was serving as a pastor. Carnegie’s illustrations were very adaptable.

      I can attest that his name-retention techniques are helpful, especially for the short term. My difficulty is that with a growing number relationships and a slowing of mental acuity, it gets harder. I have numerous friends and acquaintances with the same or very similar names, spread over several states.

      One of my friends was a retired superintendent of education. Someone saw him at a grocery store and expressed surprise that he had retired, saying, “What do you do with yourself now?” He said, “Oh, my wife and I sometimes spend the better part of a day trying to remember someone’s name.” I have the same problem, but the Dale Earnhardt course helped. 🙂

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