it's Sunday Morning!
It's 6:30 am. And I'm not dreaming.
I opened my eyes to a
serene winter landscape. Our first snow, and it is breathtakingly and
pristinely beautiful! If I sound like a girl from Hawai`i
seeing her first snowfall, well, some things don't change. The first
snowfall is still a thrill!
I kissed DH, O and
Freddy B awake, and
looking in wonderment at the frosted scene, we snuggled even closer under the
covers. That's when DH remembered CBS TV's Sunday
Morning. This is my all-time favorite TV
show, hands down.
In an impossibly early time
slot -- 6 am on Sunday, well, all I can say to CBS is: Get
Real. Your top-quality programming is being wasted, as even your
most loyal fan (that would be me) struggles valiantly to get up to
watch it, these days, in the dark, mind you, often missing much of it as I
did this morning, and sometimes, drat, even missing it altogether.
I leapt out of bed and
clicked on the set, just in time for the opening of the segment on
author, John Irving.
Funny how my "teachers" appear before me so
unexpectedly! And how fortuitous that I'd showed up to
"class" in the nick of time.
There was John
Irving on the screen.
Courtesy of Random House, publisher of John Irving's
John Irving is the
author of the
novel and Academy
Award-winning screenplay, Cider
House Rules. We saw it
belatedly only a month ago after our friend, Cia, highly
recommended it. He also wrote the delightfully ironic novel, "rich with lu-lu-lunacy and
sorrow," The World According
to Garp, which was also made into an unforgettable movie
starring Robin Williams, Glenn Close and Mary Beth Hurt. Both novels are among my
most favorite of favorites.
and thought-provoking, John has pleasured me greatly with his
ability to weave colorfully brilliant stories around life-affirming
themes of human kindness, tenderheartedness, forgiveness, healing
and love as redemption.
night, you princes of Maine,
you kings of New England."
~ Dr. Larch, character in The
Cider House Rules
Ahhhhh, the good
doctor's evening benediction will live with me forever. For those who
have not yet read or seen Cider House Rules (and please do),
I'll clue you in: The doctor at the orphanage delivers the same phrase to the
boys every night: "Good night, you princes of Maine, you kings of New England." One night, a boy asks, "Why does Dr. Larch say that every
night?" Another replies, "He does it because we like it."
This scene resonated
with me. To this day, I cherish the warm memory of Grandmother Satsuma's nightly whisper: "Oyasuminasai."
She'd say it like a prayer with a love so deep and palpable as
she'd gently stroke my forehead as I fell asleep. It meant far more
to me than just,
"Good night.". My heart heard: "Sleep gently and
bless you, my dear one." Like those boys in the orphanage, I liked
Grandmother Satsuma's nightly ritual very, very much.
John has a God-given
gift of skillfully and cleverly wrapping exuberant, yet
compassionate words around such profound human experiences as rejection, loss and grief.
His words make me laugh and cry at the same time. Sweetly, his honest and
endearing work, addressing controversial questions on race
relations, abortion, and incest, touches my heart, helping me to
become a better, more compassionate human being.
Born on March 2, 1942,
John is much younger than I expected, only 59, very handsome and
vigorous, living with his beautiful wife, Janet, also his literary
agent, in Vermont.
His blood boils when he
talks about "puerile and pompous" Tom Wolfe, who has
accused of John of writing irrelevant fiction. Harrumph!
Umm, and just who is
John is now working on
his next book which is, like his others, somewhat autobiographical, about a boy
looking for a father who absconded when he was born. He, himself,
has never met his biological father, but not for lack of
opportunity. His cousin once gave him his biological father's phone
and address, but John never called and says he's never lost sleep
over "it". He has certainly written a lot of words around
"it", and I am
grateful for his mode of catharsis: writing with his heart.
He, himself, is the
father of three boys, and a very involved one. When his older two boys were in
school, he was a
teacher and their wrestling coach before becoming a full-time writer. He says that he learned
perseverance with high school wrestling, and applied it to his
writing. He shared that he had the lowest SAT scores in the history
of Philip Exeter Academy, where his step-dad taught. He has
dyslexia. Can't spell to save himself. Thank goodness for the
long-suffering editors of the world.
Readiness and the
eagerness to write and rewrite until the work is perfect made
all the difference in the world. "Put your head down, gut
it out and keep going," he says.
Now that's inspiring.
So...what has that guy Tom Wolfe ever done to inspire young people, wrestlers
The last scenes of the
Sunday Morning segment showed John typing on...on...on... I could scarcely believe my eyes...on an IBM Selectric typewriter!
John, John, John. I must
introduce you to Spell Check, my saving grace. And to an online
On second thought, never mind. You're doing just fine,
John. I like your style.
fix what ain't broke."
Sunday Morning's last
segment of a capella nature scenes of elegantly peaceful,
yet soul stirring scenic shots is the one I always wait for,
watching it with bated breath. Today, the site is Haleakal‚! Gorgeous scenes of silverswords, windswept
volcanic terrain, and a spectacular sunrise fill the screen. We've
done the sunrise trip and the bike ride down and Sunday Morning's
scenic vignette is almost as beautiful as
actually being there.
We also know how icy
cold it is up there on that dormant volcano, and we were happy to be
revisiting Haleakal‚ from the warmth and comfort of our bed,
under a fluffy, down comforter with two furry dogs warming our feet.
Mahalo nui (Big thanks), Sunday Morning,
for this gorgeous visual reveille from our homeland.
Err...and if I may be so
bold to enlighten the illustrious and otherwise impeccable Charles
Osgood? Charles, of the beautifully paced, sonorous, yet
velvet voice, who I adore?
Here's a quick lesson on the pronunciation of
pronounced: hah leh ah ka LAH',
accent on the last syllable which is elongated. Pronounced
thusly, it means "house of the sun."
Not [hah leh ah kah' lah]
as Charles unwittingly pronounced it, which means "pink
house." Common mistake, but I must admit, I tee-hee'd a
little, which was nothing compared to the titters in Hawai`i. (Hawaiians
are too polite to guffaw)
I once wrote elsewhere:
kama`‚ina (Hawai`i-born) or malihini (newcomer), all
can strive to be respectful of the Hawaiian language by making a conscious,
concerted effort to spell and say Hawai`i's place names and words correctly."
Until it was rescued by a dedicated few who were committed to its
preservation, the Hawaiian language was a rapidly dying language.
Click the following to
read about the fight to save the Hawaiian language and how it may
Here's my personal offering on the Net intended to help those, especially in the
media, who are respectful and supportive of cultures fighting for
their survival. I am sure they would not wish to perpetuate
linguistic inaccuracies that only hasten the demise of threatened
languages, nor wish to engage in the slaughtering of place-names, especially one as sacred as Haleakal‚.
For those who wish to go beyond lip-service and wish to make a real
difference in preserving a beautiful language in its original form,
I offer you a bit of help, while encouraging you to keep up with
your stories about our homeland:
A Hawaiian Language Pronunciation Guide
Good show, Sunday
Morning! As we say in Hawai`i: "Shaka!"
Photo courtesy of The
America, 2001, Angela Perez Baraquio
flashing the shaka sign (Hawai`i's version of "Thumbs
Folks at Sunday Morning:
- Any chance that you'll broadcast
your shows at a later time, when I have half a chance to wake up and
watch it in its entirety?
- How about rebroadcasts? For
example, I often watch Oprah at night when her shows are
rebroadcast a week later, because, working, I am unable to watch
her during the day.
Otherwise, given today's show, I am
now motivated to learn how to program that VCR by next week.
"See" ya, then.
More info on the Net for
News Sunday Morning
Morning Forum: sm-l
House's John Irving Homepage
Irvingophile's website: John Irving is God
Salon Interview: John Irving
very unofficial John Irving page
Outspoken: John Irving
from John Irving novels
Idaho: a John Irving page
Passing Open Windows
Salon: Irving vs. Wolfe
Page Interview: John Irving
John Irving links
"Life is a Gift."
P.S. If you would
like to share a portion of yourself with words, in response to
this journal entry, you may do it here.
only gift is a portion of thyself..."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
| what | archives