Tag Archives: family photos

New Year’s Eve: Reflections on Men I Love, BOFTA & What Matters Most *SPOILERS*

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                              Richard, I truly hope you have a terrific NYE, shared with people you love.

It’s New Year’s Eve. Coincidentally, it’s also the 30th anniversary of the night my husband and I got engaged. I still remember the taste of the Cherries Jubilee, the warm tartness of the fruit meshing with the sweet chill of the vanilla bean ice cream. Benny hates cherries, but he knew I liked them and would enjoy the dish. There was the flash of the simple round solitaire sparkling against the black velvet of the case and how he carefully slid it on my finger. His celebratory punch in the air and the exultant “She said, ‘YES!'” that he shouted in the parking lot of the Montgomery restaurant as we headed to the car.  The mix of euphoria and nerves as we embarked on a new chapter in our lives.

That eatery down at the historic Union Depot is no longer in business. We are still here, older, heavier, less hair in some places and more of what’s left turning white fast; hopefully, we are also wiser and stronger (if not physically, then in spirit and soul).  We’ve had our ups and downs–in recent years, a few too many valley experiences, perhaps–but “here we stand and here we’ll stay,” to paraphrase Elsa in “Frozen.”

This is a collage I made of photos of Benny playing with our great-niece Zoe during our family celebration down at Orange Beach before Christmas. It was so wonderful to see everyone, share hugs, memories, play Dirty Santa, sing carols along with the radio, enjoy my sister’s good cooking. But these moments captured below are my favorite moments from the entire weekend: Benny playing with four-year-old great-niece Zoe.

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This is a 55-year-old man with a troublesome shoulder who isn’t accustomed to roughhousing with kids (he had to break out the Ben-Gay cream when we got home Sunday night). But he’s been making generations of Killough women happy–yours truly, our nieces and now our nieces’ children.

He says he’s not sure he’ll be up to it for the next generation, but I can easily imagine my white-haired fella giving small people rides in his wheel chair if it comes to that.

He is awfully easy to love.  Which reminds me of another tall, blue-eyed, smart, talented, sweet-natured guy (who also has fetching nape curls when his hair is longish!) who is so easy to “crush on.”

On Christmas Eve this year, my husband and I went to see “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.” It took me a few days to formulate my thoughts and reactions to the film.

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Richard as Thorin in his kingly attire in a behind-the-scenes still.

I am not going to write a formal review this time around; there are already plenty of those out there by fans and critics alike.

Suffice to say I thought Richard was brilliant. My heart ached along with Bilbo’s and the dwarves as this individual they had pledged to follow, one they so admired and loved (both because of and in spite of his personal qualities) became, as my husband put it, “well and truly the mayor of Crazy Town.” The anger, the paranoia, the vulnerability exposed as he descended into the madness caused by dragon-sickness brought back both memories of my own father suffering the ravages of vascular dementia, and of my dearest Sir Guy. Yes, my buttons were being pushed on several levels.

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The moment I will never forget is Bilbo cradling a dying Thorin, unwilling to believe his friend would soon be no more, and how beautiful Thorin is in those last moments, redeemed, at peace, acknowledging what should truly matter to us in life. More parallels with Sir Guy and his “good death.”

 

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Bilbo and his final moments with Thorin. From Pinterest.

It did not make it any easier. I had started getting upset when Kili and Fili perished–so young, too young!! I knew it was coming (although not how, as I had avoided being “spoiled”) but it was still painful.

Biting my lip, I was trying to fight back the tears as Bilbo cried over his slain friend. I felt Benny’s hand patting my knee and glanced over to see the kindness and concern in his sweet blue eyes. He gave me a sympathetic smile and that made me feel better even in my sadness. He didn’t tease me about my tender heart. He simply understood.

I am not sure I can express how much that simple gesture meant to me. And I thought about all the times Richard has signed autographs and posed for photos and carefully considered questions posed to him, how gracious and affable he manages to be even when he’s tired, jet-lagged and probably done one too many press junket interviews.  He cares–he cares about his family, his work, his co-workers, his fans, people out there in need.
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I truly believe RA is a kind and compassionate person–my kind of fella. All the physical beauty and extraordinary talent and potent charisma aside, I believe Richard Armitage is a good man. And that is a large part of what keeps me coming back. Hey, I am a happily married, middle-aged lady who harbors no illusions that RA and I are going to be an “item”–as if!

But someone who is so gifted and blessed and still humble and grounded, a man who is trying to make his patch of the world a better place to live–I can heartily support that!

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Richard posing with some cosplayers.

Meanwhile, back to BOFTA. There are things about which I could quibble. The battle sequence went on too long IMHO (as did the barrel ride scene in the last installment) and I still think someone loves CGI a little too much. Just because you have the gee-whiz-bang technology doesn’t mean you need to keep pulling it out of the hat. I do think it can get in the way of the progress of the STORY. Also, we saw this installment in 2D, as opposed to the 3D HFR in which we saw the previous films. Not having seen BOFTA in 3D HFR, I don’t have a good point of comparison for this specific film, but Benny and I discussed this and we felt we didn’t miss out on the overall cinematic experience of BOFTA by seeing it in a traditional format. In fact, I think I felt less distracted. I do think it was fashioned to be a good link to the LOTR films . . . and watching them in sequence.  What are your thoughts on the film?

And finally—

I wish you all a wonderful 2015, filled with good health, happiness, prosperity, kindness, creativity, work you love to do and people with whom you can share both your celebrations and your sorrows. And I wish the same for our Richard. ❤

I know we don’t all share the same religious beliefs, but this quote I found on Pinterest expresses a lot of what I personally feel and you can adapt to your system, I think.

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Fedoralady returns to ask a favor & express loads of thanks

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I confess to being behind on almost all things Armitage. The numerous articles and interviews that have popped up recently have for the most point remained unread or watched by me. For one thing, I have been battling borderline pleurisy for a few weeks, along with a cracked rib. Summoning up the energy and tamping down the pain enough to do much beyond the absolutely necessary was eluding me for a while (I have enjoyed looking at the pretty pictures of our fella, though, and sharing some of those over at FB and Pinterest. Doesn’t require much effort)

 

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Then there’s the fact I wanted to avoid any additional spoilers before seeing the final Hobbit film (which should happen tomorrow night. Both excited and apprehensive. Gotta remember the tissues).

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Add in the fact we’ve been busy again with some Pecan Ridge Production projects and newspaper assignments for me (Hooray! Money!), and, well, I just didn’t feel a sense of urgency about it all as I have in the past.

 

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What I have been experiencing is—the blessings of the season. That sense of wonderment and joy that I always used to have this time of year had slowly seemed to erode over the past decade-plus with the loss of loved ones, lack of employment and chronic health struggles. Last year, when I couldn’t see or be with any of my family around the holidays, I pretty much hit rock bottom.  I tried to put on a good face,  but Christmas just wasn’t Christmas for me.

I still have health issues. Money is still very tight. Yet I can say it is well with my soul.  I have been touched by the kindness and generosity of people who have never met me and probably never will, who still reached out to help me with kind and encouraging words, prayers and positive thoughts and even monetary gifts. One of those gifts was enough to allow us to rent reliable transportation to travel this weekend to Foley/Orange Beach to share a family Christmas again. I can’t express just how much I am looking forward to seeing them all.

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A photo of me and my two sisters at our house–Christmas 1998, I do believe.

And now I want to ask a favor of you all.  This year we once again shot our area arts council’s holiday show, “Christmas at the Ritz.” Some of the Ritz Players, including my former editor Kevin Pearcey and a young college student, Christina Rodgers (who both soloed on this number) performed “Seasons of Love” from “Rent.” I love this song and I so appreciate these people and their willingness to juggle jobs and school and family and other RL Obligations to perform for our community and get us into the holiday spirit.

Those feelings of partiality aside, they did a bang-up job. Please give it a watch and if you like it, “like” it at YT, even leave a comment. I would be greatly appreciative, as would they.

 

I will report back on my thoughts about the film, but it may be next week as we are heading out of town Friday for the weekend. I have family memories to make . 😀  So Merry Everything and Happy Always to you and yours!

And again–many, many thinks!

 

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28 years and counting . . . thanks for the memories, my darling

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Benny wears his Air Force mess dress and I, my oldest sister’s beautiful candlelight-colored Victorian-style gown and my own Victorian riding derby, created by a charming elderly lady who was the only professional milliner in Birmingham at the time. “You must wear the hat, my dear, the hat cannot wear you.” Advice I have taken to heart . . .

 

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Lt. and Mrs. David Benjamin Long, newlyweds exiting the bride’s country church 28 years ago today.

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We are toasting each other with crystal glasses presented to my parents as a wedding gift almost 4o years earlier.

 

Twenty-eight years ago today, I began the adventure of my life, my own somewhat unexpected journey. We really have been through the things we recited in our vows– being wealthier, poorer, living with sickness and good health, “for better and for worse.”

We’ve traveled to wonderful places together and shared heartbreaking moments at one another’s side. At times, we’ve been hundreds, thousands of miles apart, and yet, our thoughts always kept us close.

We’ve had times of largesse and times when it’s truly been a struggle; we’ve dealt with personal health crises and those of loved ones, faced their decline and loss. We’ve cried together and clung together in times of grief and sorrow, and embraced with mirth in happier times.  We’ve known success and disappointment together, seen each other at our best and our worst both physically and emotionally.

My husband is my best friend, my buddy, my darling, my sweetheart. I like him better than anyone else I know, and I respect and admire him for being the good, decent, caring human being that he is. And nestled in his arms is the safest, sweetest place I can imagine in this world.

I hope that 28 years from now, we will still be together, perhaps a bit (or a lot) more doddery and wrinkly and hard of hearing, but still just as much in love.  One of those elderly couples everyone finds so adorable and inspiring.

I’d like that very much.

 

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