Last Chance Harvey Takes Me (A)back

I watched the movie Last Chance Harvey with Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson the night before last. It was about a man who had been divorced for awhile, hadn’t been involved in his daughter’s life too deeply for a long time and whose job was on the rocks. Invited to his daughter’s wedding, he found out that her step-father not he, her biological father, would be the one walking her down the aisle. To add insult to injury, shortly thereafter, he got the call that he had been fired from his job. During the time of the wedding, he met a woman who made him laugh, who enjoyed his company and who just basically gave him a reason to go on. At the wedding reception they danced and danced. He held out his hand to her and she rose to her feet and they had the time of their lives. I really get emotionally involved in movies and later I came to realize that this one had really gotten to me. I went to bed after the movie and that would have been the end of it EXCEPT…the next morning after I came in from running the dogs my husband was sitting at his usual place at the breakfast table reading as he usually does, waiting for me to come in from the run to eat breakfast with him. As I took the collars off the dogs and hung them up and put my tea water on to boil, my husband put his hand out just like Dustin Hoffman did to Emma Thompson in the movie bidding her to dance. All the feelings of being bid to dance came rushing into my being. My husband and I used to dance a lot. We took ballroom dancing 101 together, got pretty good at about 8 basic steps and we really had a ball.

I remember dancing with gusto at our first son’s wedding reception. Today (August 6) my son, Harry, and his wife, Stephanie, will celebrate their 16th wedding anniversary. I really don’t remember dancing much after that. My husband’s been sick and so we don’t dance. Dancing is one thing I really miss. What took me aback this particular morning were the feelings that surfaced when I saw that gesture! They shocked me! My husband was really reaching for something beyond me, but for a moment I thought he was reaching out for me–to take my hand and lead me…where? I immediately went from the ballroom to the breakfast table and I felt my emotions crash inside me. Then I reached across the table to.get.yogurt to Life was in slow motion. We were slowing to a stop. We said grace together and carried on with our routine. We read the Bible, read a chapter of a book, and read the morning prayer from The Valley of Vision. He went to his office. I went to my craft room. I made cards. I hugged my dog.

When I was a young woman and mother of 4, I guess I never realized that things would, of necessity, change. I thought we’d always have energy and we’d always do everything the same. No, that’s not what happens, but I never thought about it. My husband always talked about what he’d do when he retired and those dreams were big. He has had to come to terms with constant pain and very low energy levels. I have had to come to terms with them, too. Together we are learning to dance in a new way. Initially the rhythm was unfamiliar and hard to embrace, but we are settling in. Even Secretariat was not made to  [fox] trot forever!

Have a wonderful weekend, Dear Friends. I will have pictures of Jessica’s baptism on Multitudes on Monday with lots of thanksgivings to list, too. I’ll meet you at Ann’s on the other side of Sunday.


6 comments on “Last Chance Harvey Takes Me (A)back

  1. Oh, Dawn, this is poignantly sweet and sad! I love how you so graciously described the changes as learning to dance in a new way!!!!!! This brought tears. (and I was touched by that movie, too. Only saw it recently for the first time.)

    • Dear A,

      Life certainly does have its ups and downs doesn’t it? I love to watch good movies as they take you to places you may have been to help you see yourself better OR they take you to where you have never been and enlarge your world. Either way, you are better when you have left than when you came.


  2. “together we are learning to dance a new way.” Such truth and tenderness and hope in thosse few words. Sort of puts life into its proper perspective. Aging is –as “they” say, certainly not for sissies and so many days I forget to dance. Thank you, Dawn, for ripping open your heart right in front of us. It give me courage to swirl my skirts–ever so slowly–today. What a blessing you are!

    • Dear Liz,

      Sometimes the fleeting moment is just so intense, it knocks the wind out of you. The hand did that for me. My whole doctoral dissertation was on intimacy, those moments of connection that you can’t plan or contrive, but that “just happen” — sometimes in a totallly unfamiliar place, yet, sometimes instantly after a long period of repetitive actions. It is a type of spontaneous combustion that sparks to full flame in an instant amongst a pile of papers that have laid in one spot for years. Life surely is unpredictable!

  3. I haven’t seen the movie,yet, but I so love how you described this beautiful scene with your husband… the beauty of the moment, the disappointment, the acceptance… the going on in tender love… you have one sweet heart and I am so honoured to call you friend!

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