West Side Story

How To Stump A Grandmother With A Simple Question…

“What is your favorite movie?”

My 11 year old granddaughter Ella caught me off guard with that question. She seemed quite serious about getting an answer, but I couldn’t come up with one.  “Let me think about it”, I told her.

Actually, what she really wanted to do was to tell me about her favorite movie. She had no hesitation at all. The Hunger Games.  And, she was glad to tell me why.

Katniss, the main character, is “awesome”. She is pretty, strong and smart.  Finnick Odair, one of the boys in the movie, is awesome too. In fact, Ella plans to marry someone exactly like him, right down to the British accent (which she has been practicing). The next movie in the series, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, is premiering on November 22 and she is counting down the days. The first movie was shot in the mountains of North Carolina, not far from Asheville, so she wants me and her Papa to take her there on her next visit. The books are great, she said, and you “must” read them before you see the movies.


Fortunately, she didn’t ask me about my favorite movie again. I felt bad not having an answer. Why couldn’t I come up with the name of my favorite movie?

Then it hit me.  Ella has just a few short years of movies to choose from. I have …. get ready for it … over 50 years of choices!  No wonder an answer doesn’t roll easily off my tongue.

I didn’t see movies when I was young like Ella.  The movie theater (the only one around) was about 20 minutes away. My dad didn’t care for movies (or, more specifically, he didn’t like movie theaters) and my mom didn’t drive.  It was only when I could drive myself or date someone with a car that I began to go to the theater. One of the first movies was Rosemary’s Baby … not a great choice since it scared me to death.

As I think back on the “decades” of movies I’ve seen … first in theaters, then on DVD’s and TV, and now on Netflix streaming and pay-per-view, I realize that the word favorite is tricky.  Favorite comedy? Favorite drama?  Favorite romance? Favorite futuristic flick? Favorite monster movie? Favorite psychological drama? Favorite documentary?  Favorite adventure movie?

Now that I think about it, I could have mentioned West Side Story from the 60’s; Star Wars, Rocky, Saturday Night Fever and The Sting in the 70’s; Top Gun, Ghostbusters and Indiana Jones in the 80’s; Forrest Gump, Pretty Woman and Sleepless in Seattle in the 90’s; Slumdog Millionaire, Seabiscuit and Million Dollar Baby in the 00’s; and The King’s Speech, Life of Pi and The Social Network since 2010. She probably wouldn’t have known any of these, of course.

So, maybe I should have told her that I have a lot of favorite movies, but not one all-time, overall favorite.

Or even better, maybe I should have told her that my favorite movie is The Hunger Games. She would have been skeptical, but pleased. And the truth is that I actually liked the movie a lot and plan to watch the sequel.

86 days and counting!

Cathy Green

p.s. You may want to start thinking about the answer to the favorite movie question before it stumps you. Or, maybe you really have one all-time favorite movie? Let me know!

Keeping Music in My Life……

I attended two concerts this past week in my newly adopted home town of Asheville – one bluegrass and one rock. I also bought tickets for four live music events coming up in July and August. It made me think about music and its place in my life.


When I was young, my dad sang with a barbershop quartet and with the church choir. He had a wonderful, deep bass voice. My mother played the piano and sang with a lovely Johnny Mathis “trill”. My brother played guitar and sang during high school and became a professional musician for many years. (At 56, he still does gigs with several groups around Cincinnati). When we were in our early teens, Dad and Mom would take us to hear the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra a few times a year and to occasional musical theater productions like my favorite, West Side Story. I loved these outings.

I sang with the church choir, I played the accordion, I was the band director in grade school, I sang in several high school plays, I learned to strum the guitar in college, and I even sang with a trio at an early 70’s company talent show.

Then, I lost music for awhile in my 20’s and 30’s. I was very busy with a career and I “didn’t have time”. I also didn’t have someone in my life who shared my musical interests.

When I met Ray, our romance began with a dance. Soon after, we were sharing music on “tapes” (remember those?) We painstakingly compiled favorite song tapes (not easy 25 years ago!) and sent them to one another. We went to jazz clubs and local beach bars. We saw as many live performances as possible … local musicians as well as nationally known artists. We watched concerts on tape and later on DVD. We hired local musicians for company parties and for our own parties. We always entertained with music in the background.

Over the years, I’ve been able to see James Taylor, Elton John, Lyle Lovett, Steely Dan, Billy Joel, Phil Collins, The Steve Miller Band, Joe Sample, Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald, Willie Nelson, Kenny G, Diane Schuur, Patti Austin, Ray Charles, Dr. John, Bonnie Raitt, Dave Sanborn ….. and many, many more. Next month, I’ll see Sheryl Crow and Boz Scaggs in North Carolina. In December, it will be jazz (Fourplay) in the Big Apple.

I admit it – Ray and I are probably a little over the top when it comes to listening to music and attending concerts. Hearing loss issues – both our own and some of our other “mature” friends – keep us from turning up the volume too much during cocktail parties. But we still crank it up when we’re alone.

I believe that music helps keep us young. It definitely keeps our brains active. Who knows, it may even be helping to slow down Alzheimer’s!!!!

Here’s a wonderful quote that I like:
“Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without” – Confucius

But here’s the one Ray likes:
“Play it f***in’ loud!” -Bob Dylan

Cathy Green
P.S. Does music play a big part in your life these days? If so, let us know about it.

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