In my humble opinion

Down with love

Posted 2/8/23

I know, I know. Just a month ago, I was all aglow over a new relationship that had me giddy, bright-eyed and believing in love again after a long hiatus, but it’s over. As quickly as it began, …

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In my humble opinion

Down with love


I know, I know. Just a month ago, I was all aglow over a new relationship that had me giddy, bright-eyed and believing in love again after a long hiatus, but it’s over. As quickly as it began, it has ended, so I’m back where I started and Valentine’s Day (February 14) is just around the corner. Oh joy.

Thankfully, the love of my life is Dharma the Wonder Dog, and she never lets me down. I’ve been doing my best to not be a total curmudgeon, even though (for something completely different) there’s a song playing in my head, and it’s less than enthusiastic about affairs of the heart.

Down with love let’s liquidate

All its friends

Like moon, June, roses

And rainbow’s ends

Down with songs

That mourn about night and day

Down with love

Take it away, away

So E.Y Harburg and Harold Arlen’s 1937 less-than-sentimental song “Down with Love” instructs us, and at present, I’m more than happy to comply. Moving on.

When I read that River Reporter columnist Kim M. Simons (Kim’s Kitchen) would be hosting a Painting Party at Hector’s Inn not far from Camp Fox, I contacted Kim and asked if we could join the party. “Of course!” she enthused. “Do you want to paint Dharma?”

“Naturally,” I replied, “but trust me, I can’t paint.”

Kim assured me that she can teach anyone to paint. “Even you,” she said with a chuckle. “Send me a picture to help get you started with an outline. See you there!”

Hector’s is world-famous, known far and wide as “the original Woodstock watering hole,” and hostess-with-the-mostess Bonnie Lagoda also was enthusiastic when she heard we were attending. “Oh, good,” she texted after talking to Kim. “I can’t wait to see Dharma!” Charmed, I’m sure.

True to her word, Kim shared some tricks of the trade while strolling from table to table, instructing her students based on individual levels of experience. “You’re a natural!” Simons exclaimed, after showing me some brush strokes and techniques. “No really,” she said after I moaned that Dharma looked more like a leprechaun than a dog. “Just keep referring to the photo and paint what you see. It’s not bad!”

I schmoozed (of course) and lugged the dog around the room to check in with the other painters—all of whom had a leg up on me in the art department—but fortunately, Kim’s tutorial worked wonders. She miraculously coaxed a painting out of me that by the time I was done, actually looked more like Dharma than Darby O’ Gill. I love it!

Still, love isn’t necessarily about feelings for people, or even dogs for that matter. I mean, I love Chinese food. And camping. And photography, and going to the movies. Boy, do I love going to the movies, so I did just that last weekend, and caught Steven Spielberg’s latest work of art, “The Fabelmans.”

Spoiler alert: The movie is “loosely based” on Spielberg’s early life, his family, his love affair with Hollywood and how it all began. The film illustrates his childhood, warts and all; if there’s one thing Spielberg knows how to do, it’s elicit a response from his audience, so I cried. At least I think that’s why.

The Fabelmans is about a lot of things: not only movie-making, but also about growing up as a Jewish kid in the sixties. It’s about a husband’s love for his wife, and a mother’s love for her children.

That love is depicted as both fierce and heartbreaking, and it’s easy to see (IMHO) why the director/writer’s “semi-autobiographical” film has garnered so much attention amid a slew of Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay (Spielberg and Tony Kushner) Best Actress (the riveting Michelle Williams) Best Supporting Actor (Judd Hirsch) and Best Original Score (John Williams, in a surprising musical departure for the master).

I’m not normally a fan of Hirsch, but I loved him in this film, as I did the entire cast, most notably Gabriel LaBelle, who, as the aspiring 16-year-old filmmaker, delivers a performance worthy of accolades aplenty. Simply put, I loved, loved, loved this film and was thrilled to catch it at Sullivan County’s beloved Callicoon Theater.

As for my personal love life? My attitude reflects the old song, I’m afraid.

Down with eyes romantic and stupid

Down with sighs, down with cupid

Brother let’s stuff that dove

Down with love.

love, Valentine's Day, painting, The Fabelmans, Steven Spielberg, Hector’s Inn, Dharma the Wonder Dog, Kim M. Simons


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