A couple of weeks ago I checked out Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr. Fox from the library.
I had visions of the boys and I reading it before bedtime. Visions….that were not necessarily in tune with their visions. After the first (decidedly unenthusiastic) round of group reading, I tried to rally the troops. ‘When we finish the book, we can all watch the movie,’ I promised. And it worked so well the Hen insisted I read a few chapters with him while the Gort was at school; the boy loves a movie.
Finally, we finished the book today. Or, I should say, the Gort finished the book today.
‘Reading’ whispering aloud from his chair at the dining table while the Hen and I toiled, Jackson Pollock style, over paintings…..on the kitchen floor.
So even though I don’t know how the book ended, I followed through on my initial promise. We gathered around the computer after dinner, to watch the movie on Netflix. But Netflix was suffering from some sort of technical malfunction. The web page was blank, except for a two-sentence ‘I’m sorry’. Perplexed, the Gort kept reading the on-screen apology; each rendition louder and more emphatic than the previous one.
‘It says we can still order DVD’s’ he announced triumphantly, after his fourth website-check in as-many minutes; as though he’d discovered a loophole that would save the day. I didn’t bother explaining that ordering DVD’s takes….more than an hour. ‘Well, we can go to Blockbuster,’ he tried again. ‘Are you driving?’ I asked, because I certainly wasn’t going to, and the professor, who’d gone five consecutive nights with virtually no sleep, was snoring on the guest bed.
‘Can’t you just pick a movie from the ones you already have?’ I suggested. Which was, of course, a rather unpopular suggestion, but the Gort eventually concluded that a ‘previously seen’ movie was better than….no movie.
So the Johnson-five huddled on the king-size bed and watched Ponyo. It’s a recent acquisition and I’ve no idea what it’s about except there’s a boat. And water. And some sort of strange guy with red hair. But as I watched the movie in all of its strangeness, there were two cherubs ensconced on either side of me. And one little cherub sitting on my feet, yelling ‘Mama’ at the screen. (And an older cherub snoring on the side.)
It was strangely magical.