Monday, November 8, 2010

for the love of Benji and Ben and Sam

I started feeling the need for a dog fix this weekend and got one of the best I could've asked for.  We're always on the lookout for cheap/free movies for Grandpa to enjoy.  Yesterday I was "just browsing" in the movie section in Target (I'm getting much better at looking with my eyes, not my wallet) and found a collection of four Benji movies for $5.  With the combination of missing my dogs, being in Target, and finding a bargain, I was in no condition to resist.  Plus, I wasn't just buying it for myself, I was buying it for Grandpa, too!

I fell in love with Benji in the mid-'70's, an adorable, loving dog who could do amazing tricks.
Today, my "crush" came back.  Grandpa and I watched the first movie, Benji (only because "Gunsmoke" was pre-empted by a movie Gpa didn't want to watch).  I'd thought this was the movie where I'd first discovered Benji, but a look at the release dates makes me think I saw the 2nd movie, For the Love of Benji.  I was in 2nd grade, and I have a clear memory of leaving the theater that night with my parents and running into my teacher and her husband.  I'd made the shocking discovery that teachers were regular people in Kindergarten when I saw that teacher pass us in traffic.  But teachers also have fun?  They go on dates?? 

Anyway, I'm a bit relieved that this first movie wasn't the one I'd loved, because the dialogue and theme song were so hokey I wouldn't have been able to stand it had I not first loved Benji as a little girl.  There's even a slo-mo scene of Benji and his new dog "girlfriend" running through the park and drinking out of the same birdbath together.  Perhaps a clever spoof, but then who wrote the rest of the movie?  (The theme song won a Golden Globe, but that was in the decade that also brought us "Feelings" and "Muskrat Love."  Okay, I was a Captain and Tennille fan then, too, and I liked "Muskrat Love," and anything sung by John Denver, especially "The Garden Song," and I liked the ice skaters on "The Donny and Marie Show" and I had huge crushes on Donny Osmond and Lee Majors [the bionic manly man!]).  Oh well.  Grandpa and I had fun watching Aunt Bee from the AG Show play "Neighbor lady with cat." 

The movie I saw 30+ years ago, For the Love of Benji, is much more sophisticated than the first one, I'm sure.  According to someone on Wikipedia, "In this film, Benji is lost and becomes a stray animal in Athens, Greece, trying to reunite with his family while secret agents pursue him, trying to get a formula which was glued to his paw in order to get it past customs."

In spite of the sap, however, I ended up teary-eyed at the end of the movie today because Benji reminds me a lot of Oliver, and he was trying to save the kidnapped children and no one was listening to him and he made gut-wrenching sad puppy-dog faces.  I hate to ruin the movie for you, but it has a happy ending, and I got some of the dog fix I needed.

Later, my friend Ben called.  Ben is 3 years old (almost 4) and is the youngest son of a very close and old (in the good way!) friend of mine.  He and his brother Sam call me Auntie Kerri, and I love it.  Ben called me a few times last week to ask me to come over and play, but I had a cold and couldn't go.  He goes to preschool right across the street from my new digs and comes over with his mom to visit sometimes after school.  Today he called and I was honestly thrilled to tell him I was all better and just about to call him, too!  We played at his house and he told me everything about Legos. 

Actually, I doubt it's everything, because Sam has the ultimate memory for facts. I need to get into his will before he goes on "Jeopardy...."  Sam is the friend who will teach me next summer how to jump off a diving board all by myself.

I love being a grownup.

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