Longleaf Stories

full circle in the hundred acre wood

Buck and I spent yesterday afternoon in a cool, dark movie theatre watching a mediocre Kevin Costner movie called The Guardian. It was a soothing place to be. Even the formulaic plot, predictable lines, and Ashton Kutcher’s improbable eyelashes were a comfort.

It’s a movie about Coast Guard rescue swimmers.

The best part came at the end, from inside the movie theatre, as the credits were rolling. Buck and I were making our way down the steps, trying not to stumble. We’re both rather agile, but the combination of stadium-style seating, strings of tiny footlights, and bifocal glasses can disorient even mountain goats like us. I noticed an elderly man and his wife near the exit. He was watching the credits roll. Behind the credits were full screen scenes showing black and white real life Coast Guard rescue teams. I looked at the man a little more carefully. He wore a plaid short-sleeve shirt. The pocket was stuffed with mechanical pencils. Below the knees of his tan bermuda shorts, heavily muscled calves revealed the legs of a life-long serious swimmer. Finally, he turned to walk the rest of the way down the hall and through the exit.

I saw his wife look at him while tenderly patting his shoulder. “Honey, you should feel real proud,” she said.

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