Tag Archive for: Pollyanna

Playing the Glad Game

Playing the Glad Game by Debra H.

I was thinking about having a pity party.  After months of constant travel promoting
Should Have Played Poker: a Carrie Martin and the Mah Jongg Players Mystery
(Five Star, a div. of Cengage – 2016), it seemed ironic that when my schedule
allowed for two-three months of personal time hanging out doing whatever I
pleased, I’m now on enforced downtime.  My
posterior tendon deteriorated causing my arch to collapse, the tendon to shred,
and the ligaments to loosen. The remedy – what ended up being a more extensive
surgery than originally planned to rebuild the arch.  It included moving my heel, breaking a bone
in the top of my foot, transferring a tendon, and debriding the damaged

When I was a child, one of my favorite movies was Pollyanna.
Stealing from the movie/book, I’ve decided to play the “Glad Game” rather than
having my pity party.  So, here goes:

1)    I’m
glad I am in the hands of a skilled surgeon.

2)    I’m
glad I turned my ankle in June (the straw that broke the camel’s back) or I
would probably have been at a stage where a return to normal couldn’t have been

3)    I’m
glad because I will be non-weight bearing for six weeks followed by months of
extensive therapy that I can use a scooter or a walker as an alternative to
crutches, which I absolutely can’t use. 

4)    I’m
glad I have a loving and supportive husband.

5)    I’m
glad I have children who love and care for me so much that all offered to alter
their schedules to be there in any way I need.

6)    I’m
glad that besides my husband and children, we have been helped by a wonderful
system of caregivers.

7)    I’m
glad I have friends who sat in the hospital with my husband, helped him get me
home, lent us medical equipment, offered to help with my mundane chores, and
set up a schedule to bring dinners for the next few weeks.

8)    I’m
glad that I will have an opportunity to clear my head and concentrate on my
writing and my personal reading.

9)    I’m
glad that in two weeks, when I finish wearing a splint wrapped in an ace
bandage that accommodates swelling, I will be able to honor my youngest
grand-daughter’s wish by picking a purple cast.

Finally, I am glad to have you in my
life reading my books, enjoying my short stories, following my Stiletto Gag and
It’s Not Always a Mystery blogs, being a friend on my author Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/DebraHGoldsteinAuthor/
) and regularly checking my website (www.DebraHGoldstein.com).
My cup runneth over with gratitude — what are you glad for?

Movies that Delight and Inspire

My criteria for a good movie has certainly changed from my angst-y teen years when there was nothing like a good Ingmar Bergman, “let’s examine death twelve different ways” flick, to entertain me and my friends. We were interested in “meaningful” films, although I tended to keep quiet about my secret love for Pollyanna. I would have lost all street cred in the “I’m a deep person, you can tell from the black clothes I wear and the significant movies I see” crowd.

As I got older, however, I more and more wanted escapist movies. I no longer wanted to walk out of a film more depressed than when I walked in. I didn’t want to be haunted by images of sad children or abused adults. One of the best things about having kids is that I no longer needed an excuse to see Disney movies. Even though I’m a card-carrying feminist, I have no problem with watching all those Disney princesses and the heroes who saved them. Bottom Line: I don’t need to spend mega-dollars on a ticket and a bucket of popcorn to be depressed. I can do that for free on my own time.

I am, therefore, delighted to recommend two movies I saw over the holidays. They were well worth the ticket price (which as an aside is now getting ridiculous), and the popcorn calories.

Top on my list is The King’s Speech. Wow, just wow. Colin Firth plays Bertie, second-in-line for the throne, who unexpectedly becomes King when his dissolute older brother, Edward VII, abdicates. Bertie, who takes the royal name of King George VI, is a stalwart, devoted husband and father, with a painful stutter (the result of child abuse by his nanny). England is on the cusp of World War II and desperately needs a leader who can guide it through the difficult years ahead. But Bertie can barely complete a sentence without a tortuous stutter. The story is about his transformation into an inspiring speaker, a result of the treatment he undergoes by the unorthodox speech therapist, Lionel Logue, played brilliantly by Geoffrey Rush.

This is a movie about the triumph of the human spirit, the friendship between two men from different walks of life, and the selfless dedication of men and women to a nobler cause. I walked out of the movie optimistic and energized. Bravo to Colin Firth (who, for me, is still the quintessential Mr. Darcy of Pride and Prejudice), Geoffrey Rush, and Helena Bonham Carter whose portrayal of Bertie’s wife, Elizabeth, is in stark contrast to the role of Bellatrix LeStrange which she plays in the Harry Potter films. Her range as an actress is remarkable. Oscar nods are expected all around.

At the other end of the spectrum, and I’m sure it had a good moral to the story, but I was just too enchanted to focus on it, is Tangled, the latest animated film from Disney. The songs aren’t particularly memorable, and yet, on a cold winter’s day, the tale of an independent Rapunzel who joins forces with a bad guy with a heart of gold to find her true family, is just delightful. It’s not a movie I’d see a dozen times (like Aladdin or The Lion King), but like a good Hershey bar, it was sweet, without being saccharine.

I wasn’t particularly impressed by the host of previews I saw, but I no longer expect to have a long list of films I’ve got to see. I’m just pleased that these two were such unexpected pleasures.

Any other recommendations from movie-goers?

Evelyn David

Brianna Sullivan Mysteries – e-book series
I Try Not to Drive Past CemeteriesKindleNookSmashwords
The Dog Days of Summer in LottawatahKindleNookSmashwords
The Holiday Spirit(s) of LottawatahKindleNookSmashwords

The Sullivan Investigation Series
Murder Drops the Ball (Spring 2011)
Murder Takes the CakePaperbackKindle
Murder Off the BooksPaperbackKindle
Riley Come Home (short story)KindleNookSmashwords

Pollyanna Grows Up

I was flipping through the channels the other day and there it was. A movie that my kids wouldn’t be caught dead watching, but which I am perfectly content, nay happy, to rewatch on an endless loop. It’s not Hitchcock, Scorsese, or Coppola. It’s pure, unadulterated, treacly sweet Disney: Pollyanna starring Hayley Mills.

While it was the American debut of Ms. Mills, the movie also starred old Hollywood favorites like Academy Award winners Jane Wyman and Karl Malden, and the ever-brilliant Agnes Moorhead.

Watching this movie is like eating a grilled cheese sandwich, followed by chocolate pudding served in an old, blue custard cup. It’s visual comfort food that takes me back to a quieter, gentler time – even if in my heart of hearts, I know that period in my life wasn’t ever quite as calm or as kind as I remember.

There’s a sweetness and simplicity to the Pollyanna story. A poor orphan girl comes to live with her rich, cold aunt, and with innocent goodness transforms a whole town. Pollyanna doesn’t need years of therapy having lost both her parents at an early age. She isn’t haunted by demons or bitter about being forced to live in an attic by an uncaring guardian. When she falls and is paralyzed, her hair is immaculate. When the doctor picks her up to take her to Baltimore for delicate spine surgery – there are no backboards to immobilize her body, just Doc Chilton tenderly carrying her in his arms to the train station. Little Jimmy Watson is adopted by old man Pendergast (bravo to the incomparable Adolphe Menjou), and there’s no home inspection by social workers. For that matter, Pollyanna at 12, still wears pigtails, has no body piercings, and her greatest joy is to win a doll in a carnival game. It’s not even an American Girl or Bratz doll.

There is, thankfully, no gritty realism in this movie. Maybe it’s a cop-out, but Pollyanna is the perfect antidote, at times, to my troubled world vision. It’s refreshing to believe that we should always look for the good in our fellow man. It’s comforting to think that sheer decency can make an enormous impact. It’s heartening to believe in the power of an individual to effect change.

Carolyn Hart has explained that she likes to write traditional mysteries because “the good guys always win.” Me too. I can’t control much in this world. But just like in Harrington, the “Glad Town,” in the universe I help create of Mac Sullivan, Rachel Brenner, and the Irish wolfhound Whiskey, the good guys always win.

Evelyn David