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Footloose and fancy-free

Have you ever gotten to witness the look of sheer, unadulterated joy on a person’s face when something unexpected comes along to brighten their day? I got to witness a moment such as this on my wife’s face a while back. You’re probably asking yourself, since this lucky lady is married to me, what could possibly make her life any better? Well, apparently it doesn’t take all that much.

The moment occurred on one of those shoot-the-moon, devil-may-care Saturday nights that only two people who have been married for more than 20 years can have. We were sitting in our living room, me in my chair, her on the couch, Chubby the cat sprawled on her back airing out her nether regions on the hardwood floor, watching television.

This was one of those rare evenings when I, without too much argument, allowed my wife to be in charge of the remote control. This doesn’t happen very often because, quite honestly, she’s not very good at it. Even though I have tried to coach her, she insists on going through the channels in a willy-nilly manner. At times, in an ascending numerical order, at other times, in a descending chronological arc. She’ll hover and stop on dumb programs like the local news while skipping right by television shows about guys bass fishing. There is no rhyme or reason to her methods.

Before we go any further with this tale, there is something you should know about my wife’s movie-viewing habits. She likes two basic kinds of movies. She tends to like movies with a plot. Movies that have a romantic, emotional aspect to them with good dialog between established characters. The other kind of movies she likes are filled with song-and-dance numbers. I believe they’re called musicals. If you can combine these features into one movie, and add some good-looking guys, she’s in cinematic heaven.

She is prone to like movies that, though they may be popular according to worldwide mass appeal and adoration, I don’t like. I prefer to view films that have explosions and car chases, with tasteless (some may say raunchy) humor. I could not care less if there are good-looking guys in the movies I watch. To give you an idea of the kind of movies I like, I lost all respect for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences when they totally snubbed the first “Porky’s” movie for the Best Picture Oscar in 1982. It still angers me. To this day, I have refused to watch “Gandhi” in protest.

On this particular evening, as she haphazardly made her way through our cable channels, she landed on TBS or TNT or some other station that had Ts in it. The reason she stopped was because John Travolta was standing on a car singing something about greased lightning. I’m going to admit right here and now that up until this point in my life, I had never watched “Grease,” and I had never intended to. (It is my belief that Mr. Travolta hit his acting apex as Vinnie Barbarino on “Welcome Back, Kotter” and every role since has been a hopeless attempt to recapture past glory.) But on this night, I could tell by the smile on my wife’s face, I was going to be introduced to the world of 1950s musical comedy. Oh well, at least there was a cool car.

Me and Chubby sat there as my wife got all caught up in the love story of Sandy and Danny. As we neared the end of the movie, and they were starting to roll the closing credits, my wife looked at me with a smile and said, (and I quote,) “The only thing that could make this night any better is if ‘Footloose’ came on right now.”

I thought that I was in an episode of the “Twilight Zone” when, at that exact moment, as I looked at the television, cowboy boots started dancing across the screen accompanied by Kenny Loggins singing. It was spooky. My wife had conjured up a movie from 1984 to magically appear on our television. According to her own definition, there was nothing that I could possibly do to make this night any better. That really takes the pressure off.

Her eyes had glazed over. She tilted her head to the side with pure joy as she contemplated the next two Kevin Bacon-filled hours of our lives. She had told me stories about how, back in high school, she and her friends had gone to see “Footloose” every night for something like two years straight when it first came out. I knew there was no fighting this cinematic decision. Chubby and I were going to get the thrill of watching “Footloose.” I groaned a little as Ren McCormack buzzed around in his beat-up old, yellow Volkswagen Beetle. Oh well, at least there was a cool car.

Every now and then, I would glance over to her sitting on the couch. I swear I could see her mouthing the words as the actors were saying them. All in all, it’s fun to watch someone’s face light up with happiness even if you do have to watch stupid movies from the late ‘70s and early ‘80s

I wonder if “Porky’s” is on Netflix?

You can contact Greg Wallace at gwallace@bcrnews.com. You can follow him on his blog at http://gregwallaceink.blogspot.com.

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