May 31st, 2010

Memorial day: No ConQuestT -- instead a wedding

Memorial Day weekend normally means a trip to Kansas City for ConQuesT. Alas, I couldn't make it this year. I miss the con -- one of my favorite places to be, lots of friends -- but I had a good reason to miss: My nephew, Sam Davidson, got married. His wife, Kim, is a girl he's known since they were both about 8 -- they went to church together, and "dated" on and off, mostly on, from about 11. Sam is probably -- well, definitely -- the closest to us of our nieces and nephews. (Along with his sister, Hannah.) He grew up in Webster Groves, the same town we live in. Sam's mother, Becky, is one of Mary Ann's closest friends, and I'm pretty close as well with her husband, Mary Ann's brother, Mark. (In particular we have played an awful lot of softball, golf, and other sports together over the years.) Sam was the first nephew born after we were married. So in many ways it was certainly a wedding we had to attend -- and were of course thrilled to attend.

Our daughter, Melissa, was in the wedding. Which meant we got to go to the rehearsal dinner, at Pujols 5, Albert Pujols' restaurant at West Port Plaza in St. Louis County, which was fun. The wedding was very nice as well, and the reception dinner was also fun. So, a good time, and a happy time.

The rest of the weekend was mostly relaxation, as is proper. We did see a movie on DVD -- TENDER MERCIES, a quiet, understated film very reminiscent of last year's CRAZY HEART. Both movies are about a washed up, alcoholic, country singer, redeemed in some sense by a relationship with a younger single mother, in the process making very tentative moves towards reconciliation with their own long estranged children, and also making moves in the direction of at least modestly reinvigorating their careers. And both movies won their stars long-awaited Oscars. TENDER MERCIES, of course, stars the great Robert Duvall, who also wrote several excellent songs for the movie, and sang them as well, very nicely. He lands at a motel in Texas run by Tess Harper, who has a ten year old son. He sticks around, at first to work off his debt, and then for love of her. He quits drinking (perhaps too easily -- in a way CRAZY HEART, which makes Bridges' character's battle with alcoholism more difficult, seems almost an AA-prompted response), starts writing songs, and tries to meet his daughter, against his ex-wife's wishes. His reform seems real, but something of a battle -- when tragedy strikes agains, he's shaken, but there are no easy answers at hand -- neither pat happiness nor equally pat failure. He'll keep trying, it seems, to accept happiness, even though, as he says, he doesn't trust it. Good movie, perhaps not great, with excellent music. About exactly how I described CRAZY HEART.