Sunday, April 3, 2011

Do You Think It Is?


Speaking of Ersatz (scroll down to previous post), back in 1995 or so, my kids became fans of the movie Home Alone. It was one of those videos that I could put in for them to watch while I caught up on various errands around the house. I had seen the show myself back in 1990 when it first came out, but had never given it a second thought after that ~ aside from the great delight that I took in Anna Quindlen' parody, "Mom Alone" (click to read).

As Ben and Sam enjoyed the antics of bold little Kevin (Macaulay Culkin), I could throw in some laundry, get some grading done, and maybe start dinner. I took little interest in the plot, but every so often I just had to peek into the family room and linger in the doorway, drawn by the most beautiful song on the soundtrack: "Star of Bethlehem" (another lovely one is "Somewhere in my Memory"; music for both by composer John Williams; lyrics by Leslie Bricusse).

Before long, I had viewed the entire movie in bits and pieces, and finally just had to sit down with the boys and watch the whole thing from start to finish. It was better than I had remembered! For one thing, I couldn't take my eyes off of that gorgeous suburban home (likewise the impressive New York townhouse that's being renovated in Home Alone 2); and it was just too cute, the way that Ben and Sam referred to the main character not as "Kevin," but as "Home Alone" (as in, "then Home Alone ordered the cheese pizza" or "look at Home Alone's awesome plan for scaring the bad guys").

Nowadays, the Home Alone movies are included among those that the whole family simply must watch at least once every holiday season, and at various other times throughout the year, as deemed appropriate. My favorite line of all has to be in the first movie, when Home Alone's mother, Kate (played by Catherine O'Hara), attempts to negotiate a ticket swap at the Paris-Orly Airport (actually filmed at O'Hare). To go along with her seat in first class, she also offers up her gold watch and earrings. When an interested passenger asks if the Rolex is real, Kate responds quizzically, "Do you think it is?"

This existential question has become a stock phrase in our family over the past fifteen years, and I doubt that we'll ever stop saying / asking it. I guess our conclusion is that if you have to ask, maybe it doesn't matter.

I love my ersatz diamond ring because it was a Christmas present from Sam in his earliest years of shopping, when he was 7 or 8. That year, in addition to the items he was hoping to receive from Mom, Dad, & / or Santa, he also added to his Christmas List the things he planned to buy for his brother and his dad and, last but not least, "a jewel for Mom." See why I will always treasure this ring?! And even more precious to me than the ring itself is the priceless sentiment that went into writing those words . . .

"a jewel for Mom."
Truly, a couple of other moms at Sam's school
really did ask me if the stones in the ring were real!

"Do you think they are?"

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