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Start Laughing, and Keep Going

December 1, 2014

Susan Marg

Planes_trains_and_automobilesDid you ever have a Planes, Trains, and Automobiles experience during the holidays? The 1987 movie starring Steve Martin and John Candy has become a cult classic, almost always topping the list of best Thanksgiving movies.

Steve Martin’s character is trying to return to his family in Chicago from New York City, following a meeting right before the national holiday. It’s snowing, and his flight is diverted to Wichita due to a blizzard. Due to circumstances beyond his control, this uptight and stressed out businessman is paired with John Candy’s character, a character to be sure, who personifies a oafish affability. In addition to the vehicles mentioned in the movie’s title, together they get on a bus, hail a cab, and hop in a truck for what becomes a three-day journey, squabbling and quarreling all the way home. It’s a comedy, bittersweet despite the pranks and farce.

Certainly, you’ve been in some situations that you’d just as soon forget. But don’t. Instead, write them done. They can be an enjoyable complement to your description of family rituals and holiday rites in your memoir or life history, and we’ve all been there – the time when the turkey was undercooked, the presents didn’t arrive, or the car wouldn’t start.

As Martin says upon reaching his destination, “As much fun as I’ve had on this little journey, I’m sure one day I’ll look back on it and laugh.” He continues, “Oh, God. I’m laughing already.”

© 2014 Susan Marg – All Rights Reserved

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