Iron Mountain ski jump

Iron Mountain ski jump

Saturday, August 13, 2016


CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith for the Years of Winter

 “They might say I couldn’t sing…” Yes, indeed they might, Florence!

That’s what Florence Foster Jenkins said at the end of her eponymous movie.

Bob and Kathy called yesterday and said, “We’re coming to town to see the Florence Foster Jenkins movie. Do you want to go?”

Of course. That’s the only way we ever see a movie, if Bob and Kathy come to town. They always pick good movies. Well, almost always. They picked really well this time.

It’s about a patron of the music scene in NYC in 1944, for whom music is life. So she wants not just to be a patron, because her parents left her quite a bit of money, but she wants to be a performer, too, a singer. The results are hilarious and tragic.

I recently saw a statement that Meryl Streep could never be tried for anything because she has no peers. She proved that once again in the title role, but, oh, Simon Helberg--better known as Howard Wolowitz in the Big Bang Theory--was magnificent as her befuddled accompanist, and Hugh Grant was great as Hugh Grant, aka St. Clair Bayfield, Florence’s husband and enabler.

Florence is probably the worst singer in history, even worse than Marie, a choir member in one of my early churches, who was remonstrated by the new choir director one day not to sing so loudly because “You sound like a cow bawling.” The new choir director was right, but she didn’t last very long.

After her disastrous Carnegie Hall performance, for which she paid for the hall herself and filled it by giving free tickets to drunken soldiers and sailors, with predictable results, Florence says…

“They might say I couldn’t sing, but they can’t say I didn’t sing.”

It runs against everything we are told in our current world, especially in our current political climate, but life is really not about whether you were successful, but whether you tried. It is very nice, at the end of life, to say…

…they might say I couldn’t, but they can’t say I didn’t.


I love films set in that period, because I get to see the old cars. There was one Packard in particular that was magnificent. They did have a couple of anachronisms, though, a 1949 Chevy and a 1951 Chevy. They were only parked in street scenes, so not too noticeable, but they definitely were not around in 1944.

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