News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists


Seeing a movie with a 3-year-old

Trey cautioned me as I opened the door to the darkened movie theater that his mommy said we had to be quiet and not talk during the film.

That was while he clutched the medium-sized bag of popcorn that had yummy-smelling butter drizzled over the kernels.

Trey is our 3 year-old grandson from Savannah who came for a Labor Day visit with his mother, Lynn, and little sister, Ruby Gray.

The movie was my suggestion for Saturday afternoon to fill some of the time between our fishing trip to Flint Creek and the Alabama Crimson Tide football opening game that night.

It was just the two of us. No dads, moms, grandmothers, cousins or sisters to complicate our time together. Just us.

Trey was my excuse to see "The March of the Penguins."

"Tom-Tom, I need a Coke with my popcorn," he said, once inside the lobby. We got Coke.

For more than an hour, we watched Emperor penguins trek across frozen Antarctica. We giggled at their wind-up toy appearance as they marched hundreds of miles.

We lived their tragedy when unhatched eggs accidentally rolled onto the Antarctic ice and froze.

We laughed at what narrator Morgan Freeman said was penguins making love as a prelude to starting a family.

I waited for popcorn or Coke to run out, thinking that event might be a signal for us to leave. Three-year-olds lose concentration easily.

But with both gone and his face and hands wiped clean, he reached for my hand to hold as he settled back in the seat to watch the remainder of the movie.

Life was good for both of us.

I was glad we'd decided not to go to Tuscaloosa to the ball game. I was glad his grandmother hadn't come with us and that Ruby Gray needed to take a nap.

Somebody complained that the 80-minute movie is too long, that The National Geographic could have told the story is less time.

But I thought it ended much too soon.

Tom Wright Tom Wright
DAILY Executive Editor

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