C.C. Miller rides with the big guns; hubby left at the bus stop

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Husband-and-wife journalists Bob Miller and Callie Clark Miller share the same small house (still), work in the same office (again) and somehow manage to cling to their sanity (barely). Older and wiser (she's wiser, he's just older), the Southeast Missourian sweethearts offer their views on everyday issues, told from two different perspectives.

SHE SAID: Like choosing family, you often can't help the TV you grew up with.

In the middle of East Nowhere, aka rural Carter County, cable was something you used to jump-start your four-wheel drive, not watch on your television screen.

The year my dad hauled in our very first VCR, complete with a cartoon video featuring nesting magpies (Heckle and Jeckle), was momentous for our household. What followed is the reason my husband makes fun of the movie quotes my brother and I constantly spout at each other.

In essence, a repertoire of old-school movies that any child of the '50s could be proud of. Unfortunately, my brother and I were children of the '80s.

A conversation between my only sibling and I today tends to include phrases like this (please insert your own voice inflection):

"All of 'em, Frank."

"Let it be on your head (the curse of the Cat People)."

"Come on, Dover, move your bloomin' arse!"

On average, I've determined 40 percent of the verbal exchanges between little bro and I consist of movie quotes incorporated into day-to-day conversations. All ingrained from years of watching the same films over and over and over. And not the cool kind, like the "Godfather." No, we're talking Doris Day, Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, Judy Garland.

All renowned, yes, but memorizing entire excerpts of "1776" and "Father Goose" will not -- I repeat -- will not land you many dates in high school.

Still, it's one of those connections I treasure between family. One that often has me rolling on the floor with laughter. And Bob, too, but for different reasons.

Last week, flipping through the channels on a Saturday night, I stumbled on my favorite John Wayne movie and Bob had the distinct misfortune to settle next to me on the couch about that same time.

From there out, it wasn't a matter of enjoying the movie. It was a matter of enduring it.

My husband -- the same guy who references life being like a box of chocolates every other day -- just couldn"t understand why I was laughing out loud muddy fistfights and drunken stumbling in "McClintock."

HE SAID: So my cute and talented wife is sitting there on the couch, laughing to tears.

There's some dude (a handsome fellow) and some chick (John Wayne's daughter) fighting about something or another when the dude decides he's going to spank the chick. That's right, spank. John Wayne, the father of the girl, hands the dude some sort of iron shovel that looks like an oversized spatula. And the handsome fellow bends the girl over his knee and begins swatting her.

And Callie is laughing. Laughing, I tell you. Of all the confounding things I've ever seen this cute and talented woman do, I think this reaction swats them all. Callie, you see, has been very vocal about preventing domestic abuse.

"You like this?" I ask.

"Yeah, it's funny," she says.

"A man spanking a woman is funny?"

"Yeah."

"Should I try it?"

"No."

She tells me this is her favorite John Wayne movie. Meanwhile, she recites every third line.

"So where's the narrative arc?" I ask.

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, you know, the rising action. Where is it?"

"What do you mean, where is it?"

"Never mind," I say.

And so we watch more of the movie, and, like I do during so many of my wife's favorites, I wonder how these writers, directors and producers made a living on such go-nowhere flicks.

And then we get to the end where John Wayne stubbornly chases his wife through the town, and the woman falls all over the place, running, scrambling in what's supposed to be a very funny climax. John Wayne catches his woman, bends her over his knee and starts spanking her with the same oversized spatula that was used on his grown daughter.

And Callie laughs again.

It just proves that Forrest knew about women, too.

You never know what you're gonna get.

Bob Miller is the Southeast Missourian's managing editor. Callie Clark Miller is the Southeast Missourian's managing editor over special publications/online because she deserves a longer title than he does. They rarely watch movies together.

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