The holiday season, 2007. My daughter was a week shy of three-and-a-half years old. I recall having plans this night. Grown-up plans. My editor from the Morning Call telephoned and asked me to do this quick assignment. Famous last words.
I am not a fan of Disney. I like the classic Disney films like Mary Poppins, Pete’s Dragon and maybe a Bambi or Lady and the Tramp. (Okay, maybe not Lady because I get really upset when Lady gets thrown out of the house.) Blame Hunchback of Notre Dame. I went to go see it with the man I later married. I did a “May term” in college where I traveled to Paris for three-plus weeks to study the influence of politics on the art and architecture of various periods and Hunchback/the cathedral Notre Dame de Paris were on the list. When we returned to the States, we read the various literary works in the original French. Except for Hunchback because we had worn our poor professor thin and he asked us to please read it in English over the weekend. His plan was to meet with us Monday and be done with us so he could continue with his summer.
And it would have taken us too long to read the book in French. This is my back story. It frames my anticipation for the Disney film.
I arrive in the theater. I am watching. The cathedral is on fire. Esmerelda crawls into her cot where in the book she dies. I am crying. In the book, everyone dies. Tragedy is a French necessity.
She wakes up and lives happily-ever-after.
I was very angry.
Flash forward about ten years and I’m sitting in the Crayola Factory in downtown Easton with a thousand other people waiting for a star of the Hannah Montana TV series who, like everyone else in the Lehigh Valley, got caught in traffic on our infamous highway Route 22.
And I’m waiting for a much needed date night after I file. I barely met my deadline this night, and instead of date night I treated myself to an album of French Christmas carols I downloaded from iTunes. And, to further frame the way my life often works, the album turned out to be instrumental with some children singing “La la la” where the words should be.
My husband claimed they were French “la’s.”
I have been teased mercilessly about this album.
To return to the story for one last moment, I tried to inflect some humor into it. And Mitchel Musso was a really nice guy. Not that I know/knew who he is. I barely knew the name Hannah Montana.