Navigating the Middle

through adolescents, menopause, aging parents & other flying debris



You Are So Beautiful

Okay, I’m dating myself with this one, but when the Daily Post offered the blogging prompt – ABSOLUTE BEAUTY: Do you agree that beauty is in the eye of the beholder? – a familiar melody began to swim ’round my head. The song? “You Are So Beautiful.”

My husband and I have a long standing joke about this one; it goes something like this.

We’re getting ready for bed when my husband turns to me, stares into my eyes and confesses, “You know something, you are so beautiful…”

I give him that “here it comes” look before he breaks the spell with “…to me.”

Now why’d he have to go and say that? Which is precisely what I think every time I hear or think about that song.

In case you’re on the other side of forty, here are the lyrics:

You are so beautiful
To me
You are so beautiful
To me
Can’t you see
You’re everything I hoped for
You’re everything I need
You are so beautiful
To me

How writers Billy Preston and Bruce Fisher ever managed to turn those nine lines into a song lasting two minutes and 45 seconds is still a mystery to me. What’s more incredible is it reached number five on the Billboards Hot 100 Singles Chart in 1975. How did that happen? Didn’t anyone notice the backhanded compliment when Joe Cocker croons, “…to me”?

I decided to listen to the song again tonight, while I wrote this post. When Cocker reached the end of the song where his voice becomes a little shaky, I imagined him singing not to a lover but to his infant son or daughter, or to his child, sick in a hospital bed.

When I behold it in these terms, the song is indeed beautiful, to me too.



Day 22: The Brady Bunch

Long before I ever wanted to be a Huxtable, I wanted to be a Brady. Not the “Time to Change” singing Bradys, but the Brady Bunch family. I thought I might have a chance after cousin Oliver came to live with them. The show might need an additional girl to keep the cast balanced. Never mind that I am black; I could have been adopted. In my mind, the Bradys were the the ideal family. They had two loving parents, an equal number of boys and girls, Jack-n-Jill bathrooms, and a dog, named Tiger. But I may have REALLY wanted to be a Brady because:

  1. They lived in a two-story home. Having spent grades K-12 in a rancher, I always wanted an upstairs with a banister. I finally got the privilege to carry laundry down the stairs after I got married. (YAY ME!)
  2. They owned a station wagon. When I was younger, I remember asking my parents if we could get a station wagon. I’m not exactly sure what my mother said, but it was something like  she was too hip to drive a station wagon…a point I later understood when my oldest son asked that we get a minivan.
  3. And the Bradys had a live-in maid. To be more precise, they had Alice. She took care of the family; Alice did the cooking dusting, and vacuuming. That left the Brady kids free to do homework at the kitchen table, play outside on the artificial turf, and talk to Alice about their problems.

…which brings me to the reason for this post. alice2n-1-web Ann B. Davis (Alice) died last night in San Antonio. After leaving the show, Ann became a Christian who spent her later years living her faith and doing church work. I’m sure she will be missed more than the two-story house or the station wagon. R.I.P. Alice.

Day 38: Finding Belle

This Mother’s Day, I was treated to the film, Belle. If you haven’t seen the trailer (or the movie), watch this:

The last time my family and I watched a movie on Mother’s Day  it was Disney’s, The Princess and the Frog. Flashing your Mother’s Day card entitles you to see any “chick flick” or “girl movie” your heart desires, something I largely miss out on living in a house full of men.

But I wouldn’t describe Belle as a chick flick. Belle is the story of Dido Elizabeth Belle Lindsay, the illegitimate mixed-race daughter of an aristocrat. She and her (white) cousin, Elizabeth are raised as sisters, by their great-uncle Lord Mansfield and his wife. Belle’s lineage affords her certain privileges, yet her status prevents her from the traditions of noble social standing.  (i.e., she’s black) While Elizabeth is free to pursue marriage, Belle is left wondering if she will ever find love.  After meeting an idealistic young vicar’s son bent on changing society, he and Belle help shape Lord Mansfield’s role as Lord Chief Justice to end slavery in England.

Powerful stuff!

So what do  The Princess and the Frog and Belle have in common? Very little except that the lead roles are portrayals of black woman, even if one of them is animated. That part is important to me. Like most people, the reflection I see in the mirror is the one I like seeing in media.

Belle is portrayed by Gugu Mbatha-Raw, with whom you will absolutely fall in love. The movie also has a black, woman director, Amma Asante and writer, Misan Sagay.

Like I said, powerful stuff!

We found it playing at Bethesda Row Cinema. It is available in limited release, but hopefully you will support it, if (and when) it comes to your area. And don’t forget to let me know what you think about it.


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