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An out pouring of emotion swept over me after watching this movie.  I am deeply touched.  Robert Redford has always touched me in a emotional way ever since I saw him in a movie with Barbara Striesand when I was a young girl. 

 Can you remember the movie that they both starred in?  It was a movie about a young woman and man who could never seem to get their relationship to click for one reason or another.  There was a song,  Memories…that I would play on the piano.

  Anyway…let me tell you,  Robert Redford has not lost his touch.  Robert Redford is not given the due respect that he deserves.  I am truly touched by this movie,  “The Legend of Bagger Vance.”  I had been watching this movie tonight with my mother.  She watched it the night before with my son.  I had no idea this movie was about the “game of golf.” 

 I was pulled to watch the movie when I was in Best Buy the other day.  The price of the movie was a bargin….$6.99!!  So I turned over the package that it was in a saw Will Smith,  and Mat Damon.  Two actors that I enjoy watching in movies. 

 I thought…this must be okay.  My son tried to put it away… I said NO!  I was right.  I also think my son was deeply touched by this movie.  You see,  my son  just started playing golf this summer.  I have been trying to get him to find his “CENTER”  when he plays golf. 

 The movie addressed the feeling of being “PART OF THE FIELD”—the movie portrayed a man that had suffered pain;  and a sense of great loss and failure as a  World War I Vet and the redemption of his soul from a barren place deep within himself.  The lead character was Junna,  Captain Junna, ( played by Mat Damon).  

 The premise of the movie is that when Junna had been a young man,  as young as 16 years old,  he had been extremely talented in golf.  He was heralded  as a stellar player,  even to the point of hitting a golf ball so far that the game had to be stopped for twenty minutes in order to measure the distance of the hit.

  He had gone to war and returned a “broken man.”  He became somewhat of a recluse and stayed a away from the “home town debutante that he loved.”  However,  after the Great Depression came,  the  debutante’s father had completed building a golf course. 

 Despite the beauty of the new golf course in Savanna Georgia,  no one came and  it appeared that the debutantes father would loose on his investment.  Hence forth he shoots himself.  Thus his daughter had the towns men attempting to have her sell the  golf course and cut her losses.  However,  being strong willed,  she decided to fight.  She decided to have a golf tournment.  The tournament was to be played by two well known men.

  However, the men of Savannah wanted a native Savannah player to also play in this $10,000.00 golf tournament.  A young boy who had been following the old newspaper articles about Junna suggested him.  Many people did not believe that he would play.  But the little boy had a strong belief that he would be able to get Junna to play. 

 He ran from the town hall meeting with a shout from a elder man who stated,  “Run with WINGED SANDALS ON YOUR FEET!!” The young boy finds Junna playing cards with some men late at night.  However the boy was not afraid.  He simply explained himself.  Junna told him that he would not play. 

 However, when Junna left the building that he had been playing cards in and entered his house he found the towns men standing in his living room. They also requested him to play in the $10,000.00 tournament.  He flatly told them no. 

 They left,  but the little boy,  (who is played by Jack Lemon(((in his later years))),  –another stellar actor who has always touched my heart—)  fell asleep on a chair in Junna’s house. Suddenly the wind blew the curtians in Junna’s living room and his love —   the debutante stood in his living room and inquired as to why he would not play.

  Mat Damon, ” Junna” replied….”I have lost my Swing.”   The young x-love of his tried to presuade him by attempting to use her kiss.  However, he did not change his mind. 

Later that night, he went outside of his house and began swinging into the night.  He began hitting one golf ball after another into the dark.  He had two lights on either side.  Suddenly a man approached from the darkness.   Enter,  Will Smith as Bagger Vance.  Wow,  Will Smith never ceases to amaze me!  He is beyond stellar. 

 His approach to his character was thoughtful.  He played such a role as to give rise to tears from me!  The words,  and the low key approach almost made chills go up my spine.  I know this is not a recent movie.  But this movie was right on time. 

 It was not a movie just about playing golf,  but anyone could appreciate the message within it. Robert Redford took a simple  concept of “play the game…not to win…but just to play it”—and broadened it to life and how to live it.  How to come back from depression,  from loss,  from regret,  and begin again, and find your place in the field.

  Will Smith’s character takes Mat Damon ( who is visibly over come by his past in the war, and his regrets into playing golf and overcoming his loss will to enjoy life for itself.  Bagger Vance spoke softly and quietly to the spirit of Junna and enveloped him into the spirit of the world around him,  made him listen to nature, and the earth and recapture his swing. 

 In the end Bagger Vance left Junna the same way he came to him….in the dark, yet truly seeing the light of his growth mentally,  emotionally,  spiritually,  and also truly playing the game of LIFE all over again. 

 The little boy grows up to be (Jack Lemon),  who narates the movie,  and appears to die on the golf course as an elder man,  and then he gets up and walks to the horizon where Bagger Vance his biding him to come.  So touching,  the tale of human growth through adversity and heartache….

The movie was playing again, while I slept earlier this evening, and as I awoke I observed the ending I was again touched by the attitude of humble, simple life  wisdom of Bagger Vance.   At one point,  it appeared that Junna’s golf ball and gotten hit into the trees,  This was a turning point for him and the movie. 

 He looked at the ball laying on the dead leaves inside the woods and suddenly his mind took him back to the war and the loss.  He nearly picked up the ball,  possibly to get it out of that enviornment that had brought back those haunting memoiries.  However,  Bagger Vance asked him, “Do you want another club?” 

 That shocked him, “Junna” back to reality.  Junna began to sweat and tell Bagger Vance that he could not do it.  Bagger Vance gave him that simple quiet wisdom and stated an even deeper assurance,  ” I have never left you…almost in a God like way…spiritual. 

 Suddenly Junna hit the ball out of the trees to the amazement of his audience that had been waiting just outside the trees during the tournament. 

This was such a touching moment.  The music was just right as well.

Go rent or buy this movie.  Very touching,  very loving,  very compassionate for those who have lost and want to get “their swing back.”


What makes an American Gangster?!

Are you telling me that the world is full of good people?  Are you telling me that people  would not sell drugs to others so that they can make a profit from it?  Are you telling me that corruption in the world is not real?  Please rethink that! 

I had explained in my comment at the Black Voices Blog on the movie “American Gangster,” starring Denzel Washington as George Lukus the Drug King pin of the 70’s–that there are American Gangsters all around us.  Some are camoflaged! 

 In the early years of my marriage I had lived in Cambria Heights Queens with my husband and  we lived with his parents so that we could save money to buy our first house. 

Cambria Heights is a predominately middle Class and upper middle class  community.  The houses have beautiful brick Tudor homes and have over, over size front lawns.  All properties are cut by professionals,  the birds chirp sweetly during the spring and summer.  Everybody has atleast two cars,  4×4’s,  minivans,  mercedes,  BMW’s etc.  Everyone has beautful curtains up at their windows. 

 Some people even have family or paid baby sitters who watch their children while they work around the clock to keep that tailored house and tailored lawn in check and up to date with the latest from “HomeDepot”—I know–cause I lived there when I first got married and after I gave birth to my son. 

You can still drive down those streets and see the money and time invested in that community by it’s residents. 

However,  there was an American Gangster there some 16 years ago when I lived there.  You would not have known it.  This guy was low key.  He wore his pants up on his butt….he wore a belt around his waist.  He wore non-designer clothes. 

Once in a blue moon you would see a small black BMW parked in his drive way.  Once in a while he looked like he was going out to dinner and would get into this black BMW and drive off with his beautiful girl friend (she looked like Rihana without the glitz and bling—just a simple ponytail down her back–very demure—too plain to be exact). 

 He had no children.  He only had two black Rockwieler dogs.  He had them on a regular walking schedule.  The house was smaller than my inlaws house.  It had recent sandblasting and cementing work done on the brick face and the drive way.  The house was plain but emaculate!!! 

 I noticed that he had the alarm strips on all of the windows of the house.  He kept two very ugly Ford Taurus Cars parked  in front of the house or the drive way.  I never, ever  saw heavy human traffic in or out of his house.  He talked to my husband just to say a quick “Hello,”–but nothing too much. 

 One day I told my husband about the two  caucasion men that had exited this guy’s house and got into a sleek shiny Mercedes Benz and drove off silently.  My husband said,”oh, really?  You know he is a drug dealer right?”  I was shocked!! I was scared too!   I grew up very sheltered. 

 I was unaware of what a drug dealer really looked like.  But I certainly did not think that the drug dealers I had heard so much about it in the news looked like this guy!  Wow!—We talk about STERO TYPES OF RACES–never,  ever underestimate the crime world—

This guy moved away abruptly one day.  I saw alot of haste in his actions.  He was dismantling his house from the inside.  He had boxes,  and bags and did alot of moving at night.  I thought it strange because I did not see a For Sale sign on the house.  I thought maybe he was going on a trip.  Then the activity stopped and the house was quiet.  I did not see the dogs,  or see the ugly Ford Taurus cars any more. 

 I told my husband,  who had been a Corrections Officer at the time—he told me,  “He got a call from a guy that he had been a partner with in the drug dealing thing that he did.  The guy was coming out of jail and was going to be looking for him!   He had a sc0re to settle–That guy was on the run!!!  I suddenly believed that a drug dealer does not have to stand on the street corner!!!  A drug dealer does not have to be obvious to the neighborhood.—-Yet this guy is helping to destroy lives. 

 But I knew like any other crime—a price must be paid….and I guess he realized that he was living on borrowed time—no matter how innocent a life he presented on that quiet tree lined,  over sized lawned block in Cambria Heights. 

Another little situation happened on that street in Cambria Heights.  A house a few doors down from that quiet American Gangster guy took his place after he left.  When I first moved to that neighborhood I noticed that this house in opposition to the “quiet gangster” down the block—this house was full of people and quite noisey!!  Those were not drug dealers in that house….What happened was that the owner had died and left it to relatives–a man to be exact.  However, this man already had a residence, so he used to rent out rooms  to young black college students. 

All of them appeared to have jobs, and cars….They were just talkative and about their personal private lives.  Well,  it seems that the man that rented the house sold it one day.  He sold it to some other guy who moved in without alot of furniture and no family that any of us could see.  The house needed some repair so it appeared that the new owner of that house broke up the drive way and side walk preparing it to be made as lovely as all the other lawns on that quiet block in Cambria Heights Queens.

  However, things took a turn for the worse.  He had a big rectangle dumpster placed in front of the house for discarding his cememt pieces from the drive way and the sidewalk.  Then I noticed a brown bag always on the top portion of this dumpster.  I would then see a bedragagled looking male or female suantering up this quiet block. 

The people that went to this guys house were more out of place than the caucasian guys who had gone to the other “drug dealers” house directly across the street before he ran/moved away.  This guy left the dumpster in front of his house for several months.  Work on the sidewalk, and drive way came to a stand still and the human traffic to this house was on the increase.  No one went into the house.—These strange, and haunted individuals would saunter up to that EYESORE of an dumpster sitting in front of the house and pick up that ridiculous brown paper bag and suanter off down the street again. 

 If they saw me exit my inlaws house they would look at me hard—-bold like—no fear or nothing!  I could feel the negative energy. 

 Soon my husband and I moved away after I had my baby and we brought our first house. 

But six months down the road my inlaws called to tell my husband what had happened….Which they really did not have to tell him—Because it was already all over the news!!! The guy with the dumpster in front of his house had a “factory operation” going on for “CRACK COCAINE” –This guy got murdered at 3 o’ clock in the morning.  A horrible drive by—but also an attack a murder spree erupted.  That guy never had a chance.  He was taken out of that house in a body bag!!!!  What a mess and I was so glad to be out of that neighborhood. 

Drugs are every where!  It is a disgusting plague of the human society in every walk of life.  I find it worse those who fill the need so that they can get paid. 

How do you live with yourself knowing that you are selling drugs to people;  some pregnant women who give birth to drug addicted babies?  How could you?  Do you know that evil deeds do have Karma Attached to them? 

 My husband used to tell me that while he worked in Rikers Island,  Solitary Confinement–HDM  a.k.a. the Bing—commonly referred to— Most inmates with twenty years to life had related stories of murder,  drug dealing,  kidnapping and the like—Most inmates who were in for crimes of that deep level explained to him,”Look,  I have done more crimes than this crap that I am in here for.”  They did not catch me for the time I held this other drug dealer and some of his people hostage and then killed them!” 

 You might think that those guys were making up glorified stories to entertain my husband—but let me be clear—people in solitary confinement—back in the 80’s would fight Corrections Officers,  and attack at any time.  This was not a place for the weak of mind or body.  To be honest with you—that is one of the reasons that my husband is missing at this very moment (for nine years to date).  The stress of that job took him away from myself and his child.  (—I will discuss that in another blog–some other time—but trust—it will be discussed.)

So in conclusion,  American Gangsters are not to be glorified….but people please talk to your children.  American Gangsters are men or women on a mission.  Except that is not a mission for the better of society.  It is a mission to supply their personal financial goals and they do not care to whom they sell and whose family it destroys. 

Talk to your children,  and educate yourself….What looks innocent is not always innocent.  What smells stinky….is most likely coming from  a source—seek the source of the stench and you will find the danger that lurks within—Watch who your children associate with.  Do not underestimate you child and your child’s friends or relatives either.

Keepin’ it  real and  raw  -riveroflifelisajoy!