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January 4, 2011

I went a different route with the prompt today because, I really didn’t want to dig too deeply into the whole “Talk vs. Text” controversy

I’ll save that for another day, when I am feeling up to arguing with my kids. 

I pulled from another 30 Day writing challenge blog, where the author, Gil Gonzalez, has provided a month’s worth of prompts.

I want to talk about my love for “Wanda.” 

Sorry, boys.  I’m not drawn THAT way…

I’m talking about one of my favorite movies, “A Fish Called Wanda.”  Written by John Cleese & Charles Crichton, it’s a ridiculous story about a diamond heist gone wrong.  While the movie is really funny, it’s not the movie itself that I like.  It’s the memory that it brings back.

“Wanda” was released in 1988, when I was a junior in college.  I went to Fort Lewis College, a small liberal arts college in Durango, Colorado.  Durango is best known for its proximity to the Purgatory Ski Resort, and the narrow gauge train that runs daily in the summer & early fall from Durango to Silverton.  My mother, my grandmother, and my grandmother’s friend, Auntie Fern, came to visit me, and to ride the train.  The ladies rode the train while I was in class, and then I met them at the local movie theater.  We didn’t have too many options, so we bought tickets for “Wanda.”

A bit of background…Grandma & Auntie Fern had been friends since their husbands had served together in the Army.  This was post-Korea.  Auntie Fern & Uncle Jimmy never had children, and became honorary family members.  After Uncle Jimmy died, Auntie Fern adopted a couple of little toy poodles.  Her dogs were her children.  Those damned dogs were vicious little ankle-biters, but they were her babies.  She couldn’t abide any snide remarks about her precious little angels.

If you know the movie, “A Fish Called Wanda,” you know that there is a little old lady with three little dogs.  Not to spoil it but, things don’t end well for the dogs in the movie.

When the first dog went, I laughed out loud.  I have a pretty sick sense of humor.  My mom snickered, my grandmother smiled.  Auntie Fern sat stone-faced.

Sitting in the dark, lost in the absolute absurdity of things like Jamie Lee Curtis’ infatuation with foreign accents, Michael Palin’s stutter, and John Cleese dancing around naked (a site that set my grandmother giggling madly) I revelled in the fun of sitting with three of my favorite women.

The second dog went.  My mother, my grandmother & I all cackled like mad women, all the while, eyeing Auntie Fern.  A smile fought to break free on her stern face.

By the time the third dog, and the little old lady, bought it, all four of us were crying, we were laughing so hard.

After the movie, we made our way over the The Palace Grille.  This was a restaurant next to the train depot, and a favorite of Louis Lamour.  We had a great dinner, but I couldn’t tell you what we ate.  All I know is that we talked and laughed and drank our way through the meal & closed the place down.

Auntie Fern died several years ago, and we just lost my grandmother before Thanksgiving.  To say that I miss them …there’s just not  a word fitting enough.

To know that these three women would drive eight hours over mountain passes to hang with a snotty college kid for the weekend…well, it made me feel pretty special.

And so, I love “Wanda.”  I love “Wanda” for giving us the gifts of laughter & silliness, the gifts of sharing and losing ourselves in the moment, and the gift of friendship with three amazing women.