Nothing to Do with Food, Really

Nothing to Do with Food, Really

The doorbell just rang. It was these:

Are they not insanely beautiful? They’re from S. Today is our six-month wedding anniversary, but that’s just a coincidence. S produces documentaries, and lately he’s been working insane hours. The flowers are because I’ve been doing all the cooking and cleaning (well, whatever cleaning is getting done–it’s not exactly my forte) and assisting on shoots and cheerleading when things get messed up. The reason for all the insanity: a handful of docs about The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman. Remember that film? Based on the novel by Ernest Gaines, it’s a TV movie from the early 70s, starring Cicely Tyson as a 110-year-old woman who lived from slavery all the way to the civil rights era. It’s a wonderful film, and a seminal one. Many say its success paved the way for Roots. The company that owns the rights is putting out a special edition DVD in January, and they hired S to produce all the extras. Problem is, they gave him about three weeks less time than he really needed to get it all done. But S is a bit of a magician that way–no, that makes it sound too easy. He’s a freakin’ dynamo is what he is. We’re talking 20-hour days here, for weeks. I’m in awe of his stamina, his creative ability even when nearly brain-dead, and his dedication.

Last week I helped on a shoot. He was scheduled to interview Cicely Tyson, a professor of African-American studies, and the hugely influential and revered blues, folk, and gospel singer Odetta. I took my responsibilities seriously, and baked a batch of chocolate chip cookies the day before. (Hello? Craft Services? I was so excited to post here about Cicely Tyson’s response to my cookies…) At the last minute–literally, after 7 the night before the shoot–CT canceled. Strep throat. The star of the film canceled. I would’ve been flipping out a bit, but S remained calm, juggled some schedules, and just kept moving. In the end he interviewed the professor and Odetta. She had a small role in the film, and S charmed her completely. He’d done his research, he asked intelligent, incisive questions, and he treated her with the utmost respect. At the end of the shoot, Odetta complimented him on his interview style. Oh, and the best part? The producers of the film had sent flowers for CT, and without missing a beat S tore off the card and presented them to Odetta. She loved them, as did I–in fact, I’m pretty sure they’re the inspiration for today’s delivery since it’s the same florist.

Watching my husband work made me so proud.

Now, I don’t mean to imply that I’ve been a perfectly happy housewifey-type woman these past few weeks. There have been times when my fuse was almost as short as S’s. I do not enjoy doing all that cleaning–part of my joy in cooking is knowing that someone else will do the dishes. But when I see how hard S is working, and know that my own freelance workload is flexible enough for me to handle a little more at home, I shut up and wash the damn dishes. And now, I have these lovely flowers to show for it. Since they arrived I can’t seem to get any of my own work done–I keep stopping to look at them again.

Tonight I may make something special, but I can’t think of what and it’s already after 2. I’ve got a mess of small eggplants, some broccoli, and way too much leftover spanakopita. Any suggestions?

In case you’re interested, these are some of the DVDs my husband has worked on. (Note: he doesn’t get any royalties or anything from this, so please don’t feel I’m trying to sell you anything. It’s just that, until I met S, it never occurred to me that there was so much work involved in these things and his work is just so gooooood…)

Martin Scorsese Collection (After Hours/Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore/Goodfellas/Mean Streets/Who’s That Knocking At My Door?)

The Last Waltz

Men in Black II (Widescreen Special Edition)

Hedwig and the Angry Inch – New Line Platinum Series

The Howling (Special Edition)