Monday, September 20, 2010

Mary Poppins (Part 1) - from 1910 to 2010

It was one of those summer days near the mountains in 2010 ....

A thunderstorm was brewing as I sat in the comfort of my house, looking out the window, anticipating nature's free light show. And I was not disappointed. Storm clouds gathered. Lightening flashed on the mountain tops. Thunder roared. Then the unexpected happened.

Lightening struck ... our house. Or should say the ham radio antenna nearby. The antenna wires evaporated as a surge of electricity selectively damaged circuits and appliances. The TV set and DVD player were toast as well as our toaster. We had a mess to deal with.

As we waited on insurance and repairs, a concerned neighbor had lent us a spare TV set and we hooked up an old VHS player as replacements were on the way. Meanwhile, I got in touch with my inner child and checked out some classic Disney tapes from our local library. And one of them was "Mary Poppins."

Mary Poppins was good with dealing with messes, wasn't she? Remember "A Spoonful of Sugar Helps the Medicine Go Down?"

I had fond memories of Mary Poppins. Back in the dark ages when I was in grade school, my music teacher had commented how much I looked like Jane Banks, the little girl in the story. I remember some of the silly songs. Can you spell "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious?" When I learned to spell that word, I thought I was quite smart.

After watching the movie, again, as an adult in the 21st century, I saw another dimension. This really wasn't strictly a children's story. The Disney version had a la flavor of Charles Dickens' Christmas Carol, only not as scary, but still quite moving.

After stripping off the icing of magical adventures and fun songs and dance, it seemed that underlying story was about the father, George Banks. Mary Poppins and her friend Bert served as catalysts to precipitate George's release from the gilded cage, which he and society had created from himself.

The movie still has its appeal because it is timeless. What George Banks faced in 1910 is not so different than the crisis many of us are experiencing in 2010. Please hang in there for the next three posts as I make my case and let me know what you think.

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