Sometimes as a parent we drift off at night wondering if we’ve done all we could; we second guess ourselves and we hope that in spite of our mistakes that our kids have had a good childhood and they will grow up to be happy, thoughtful, and compassionate people.
And then one day you come home from the gym and you know you’ve done a lot of things right. My living room was a disaster for the week following Christmas and I kept closing my eyes as I passed from the dining room to the den hoping that the boxes, bags, and tags would magically disappear.
Another diversionary tactic to avoid cleaning the living room or to at least forget about it was to head to the gym to get a head start on my New Year’s resolution. On one such afternoon I returned home and the boxes, bags, and tags were nowhere in sight and neither were my boys.
I entered the man cave to find two smiling young men.
“What happened to the living room?” I asked.
Their grins grew even wider.
“What a wonderful surprise, I didn’t even ask you to pick up the boxes and the living room is spotless!” I exclaimed. “What prompted you to pick things up?” I asked.
“Because we knew you’d like it,” Christian responded while Jeff continued to smile.
“Oh and remember, you said we could make a mess out of the kitchen tomorrow while we work on my graduation project,” he said.
Ah yes, the graduation project. Christian had decided to undertake the history of Silent Film through a lot of research and also by making his own movie. It was perfect timing because Jeff was able to stay in Pennsylvania the week between Christmas and New Year’s, which coincided with the timing of operation Silent Film.
I decided I’d be better off going to the gym while the boys carried out their plan to film Christian baking a cake in a style that was sure to resemble Lucy and Ethel far more than it would Martha Stewart. I hoped my errands and workout had taken up enough time that I would return home to a clean kitchen and a completed project. I’m not a neat freak but I wasn’t sure that I would be able to handle seeing the mess I overheard them brainstorming.
“Yeah, that’ll be awesome. I’ll open the bag and make the cake mix fly all over the counters and floor,” Christian said.
“And then I can throw cake mix in your face and get it all over your clothes,” Jeff responded.
“Oh, oh! And the cake needs eggs right? Wouldn’t it be funny if I…”
That was my cue to leave; I figured I was better off not knowing what was going to be said next.
I returned to hysterical laughter, cake mix on every surface of the kitchen (including on top of the coffee maker), and Jeff filming Christian who was flat on his back in the middle of the floor covered in raw eggs and cake mix. There was only one alternative, I burst out in laughter and retreated to the neatest room in the house, the living room.
Operation silent film continued the following day. I left the boys to their own devices and headed out for a bike ride, once again feeling we would all be better off if I weren’t there to witness the mess making. I was puzzled when I rode up the driveway and the car was gone.
Thankfully they left me a note, “Filming at Acme.”
After a quick discussion about how to handle the camera work for the final scene, which required footage of Jeff opening the door and greeting Christian, we all concluded that wouldn’t be a good idea to switch who was behind the camera. If I took over not only would the camera angle suddenly drop by six inches, Christian would have to work extra hard when it came to editing out random shots of the ground and clouds.
After a couple of takes, the movie was complete and they restored the kitchen to normal for the second time.
And now for your viewing pleasure, I present: The Pot Luck – A Silent Film
Outakes/Behind the scenes pics
Actor, Producer, and Film Editor: Christian Browning
Camera Man and Supporting Role Actor: Jeff Browning
Person with the Kitchen, Prop Provider, and Music Finder: Your’s Truly