Written by David Valentine, Volunteer Coordinator
A few weeks ago I was having a conversation with Larry in the living room about his favorite movies. He mentioned a musical from the ‘70s that I had never heard of. So, while we were talking I looked for it on Netflix. I couldn’t find it but noticed his eyes light up when the film “Earthquake” appeared in the menu — a schlocky disaster movie from the same era. I hit play and we started watching.
Not long into the film Ronald rolled by and recognized the movie straight away, he detoured from wherever he was going and joined us “…just for a moment. “ Soon after, Tom came in asking if the actual earthquake had happened yet. Then, Joan followed quoting lines from the film.
By 5:30 the living room was filling up so I grabbed some extra chairs from the dining room to keep everyone socially distanced. Ann was serving dinner by this point, so we broke out the TV trays and got everybody situated. It was a full house, and by the time the earthquake stuck (complete with Sensurround TM) it was with much commentary and a lot of laughter.
I know that Larry was in a lot of physical discomfort that evening, and that Joan was not in a good headspace, but laughing with them as Ava Gardner fell out the window of her badly decorated apartment, I was reminded how powerful simply having people around can be when having we are struggling, and how the comforts of a cozy evening in with friends can be so much — it can be everything.
It was getting late, but I stayed until the end, not because I like trashy disaster movies (which I do) but because the moment felt genuinely precious, and a privilege to be part of. I loved watching folks find each other and connect in unplanned and unexpected ways. Getting to see how a real community can build itself out of a few shared memories, some great food, and an appreciation of Ava Gardner’s atrocious “acting.”
Next up — “The Towering Inferno.”