Sunday, April 17, 2016

Alex Karras and Snowmageddon 1978

A couple of thoughts going through my mind this morning.  I'm looking out at my backyard and seeing what is being referred to as "Snomageddon 2016".  In all actuality, I think it fell a few feet short of such an auspicious title.  The other thought was that of my Aunt Rosemary.  She recently fell ill and is spending a week or so in the hospital.

So what so Snowmageddon and Aunt Rosemary have in common?  Well Mel Brooks obviously.  In the spirit of transparency, the events in this story took place a long time ago, long before my bald spot and mortgage, so if some of the facts don't jive perfectly, blame the foggy memory of childhood.

A little background.  My Aunt Rosemary often had a hard time saying 'no' when we were kids.  Generally speaking, this inability manifested itself in Star Wars figures and Atari games, but occasionally it went a little deeper than that.

Here is where the ol' memory gets a little dodgy.  My brother desperately wanted to see Blazing Saddles, but it's R rating put it as off limits to my older brother, Steve.  Why I question my memory of the events is because Blazing Saddles came out when I was three years old, but I remember the story fairly distinctly that I couldn't have been that young.

As the story goes, Steve was able to cajole Rosemary into taking him to Blazing Saddles, but there were a few sticking points, namely my little sister and myself, and "Snowmageddon 1978".  My aunt hates driving in the snow.  She hates the snow with an intensity reserved for intestinal flu and audits.  She had promised Steve that she would take us to the movies, but Blazing Saddles was playing in the town over from us and the snow was already falling.  She loved her nephew but hated the snow.  Steve should take homage in the fact that her love of him outweighed her hatred of the snow.  Rosemary and the kids loaded up into the car and set off into the storm.

Fast forward to the end of the movie.  It ended later at night and the car was under at least a foot of snow.  Rosemary was dealing with the one-two punch of the recognition that her niece and nephews had a better working knowledge of the R-rated dictionary because of the movie they had just seen and the twenty mile drive in really awful conditions.  Silver lining?  At least she had an hour and a half to figure out what to say to my mom about the movie we had just seen.

My aunt is a very strong woman, so the face that a seven year old could recognize the white knuckle experience Rosemary was going through means something.  The fact that I can still visualize it to this day means even more.  We made it home okay, but we were all damaged in our own way.  For Rosemary, it was a hairy drive and the knowledge that she had let her niece and nephews talk her into seeing some of Mel Brooks' best work, for me it was seeing the Alex Karras campfire fart scene and knowing that no movie would ever match up.

So the lesson girls?  This one is about your Aunt Jen.  Aunts are amazing people, and they will let you get away with a little more than Mommy and Daddy will.  There is a fair chance that your first R-rated movie, your first beer, hell, your first tattoo will be while holding your aunt's hand.  It doesn't make it okay, but I'd rather you get your ears pierced under the watchful eye of Aunt Jen than with a safety pin in your buddy's basement.

Feel better Aunt Roe.  Thank you for braving the snow for us.  Thank you for giving me the campfire fart scene.  Thank you for everything else you have done over the years.  Incidentally, I'll be braving the snow here in a few minutes to come visit, so clearly we are even.

1 comment:

  1. Great one - totally remember this night, and funny that you recall it too, as part of my memory about it has always been "How old was I when I saw that with Roe?? Wait, I think Chris and maybe even Jen went too - if so, how the hell old were they???" Good stuff