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  • Writer's pictureJeff South

Father of the Groom, Part 3

One of the pleasures I derived from being a parent was sharing pop culture with the kids. Movies, television, books, music, trivia, and little nuggets of info about what I was into growing up were all handed down to them over the course of their childhood and adolescence. They loved some of what I shared (Young Frankenstein, "Weird Al" Yankovic, "M*A*SH*"). Some of it didn't impress them as much. Caleb doesn't enjoy old sitcoms as much because of the laugh track. Still others became a huge part of our media consumption. The Lost Boys gets watched every Halloween. A Christmas Story and Scrooged every holiday season. Sarah and Caleb are both Billy Joel fans and enjoy watching older movies. One movie has stood out, though, as the one we have bonded over the most.

Blazing Saddles.

I first introduced them to Mel Brooks' Western spoof in 2005 or so. They were in middle school and I decided it was time to share with them what I think is the funniest movie ever made. For me, it was like watching them open a gift. I was mo re interested in their reactions than I was the film itself. Maybe I need validation. I believe that is part of why we share the things we love with others. We want them to enjoy it, sure, but we also want to know that what we love is good and universal in its appeal.

Maybe it's just me. Don't judge me.

But, I did gauge their reactions throughout. The dominant expression seemed to be glee. They'd never seen anything like Blazing Saddles and they certainly weren't accustomed to watching anything so politically incorrect with their parents. They feel in love with it. Soon after that initial viewing, we moved to the St. Louis area and as the kids made new friends they would invite them over to the house. A strange kind of indoctrination occurred. They would show their friends Blazing Saddles, eager to share with them much the way I was. Then, this ritual repeated itself upon our arrival in Tulsa in 2010. When new friends visited, they were subjected to the requisite viewing of a Mel Brooks' masterpiece. They appreciated all of his movies, especially the aforementioned Young Frankenstein, Spaceballs, and Robin Hood: Men in Tights. But, Blazing Saddles was and still remains our shared passion.

So, it stood to reason that Caleb would initiate his eventual bride Beth with a showing of the funniest movie ever made. She sat with Caleb and a couple of others friends (one of which had never seen it) and again I found myself watching them instead of the movie. One day I imagine he will pass along the joy of it to his children and I assume Sarah will do the same with her boys.

I don't know what all I've done right as a father, but I'd like to believe that introducing my kids to Blazing Saddles is parenting done right.

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