It was the summer of 1978…the end of the summer. A few days earlier, I had been deposited three and a half hours away from home at Mt. St. Mary’s College (now University).
It was the first weekend away from home and I was homesick.
There was a movie playing at the Student Union Building and I decided to go as there was nothing else to do.
The movie was the comedy, “Oh God” and an indelible mark was left on me that night. The Mount played a role in many of those moments over the years.
Transcending organized orthodoxy (doesn’t that sound smart?) the movie portrays God as a caring father type…not flowery, not mean…just “God-like”
Aside from the classic, missunderstanding/ misrepresentation of The Immaculate Conception, there was nothing in the movie that conflicted with my Catholic faith… at least as I see it.
George Burns and John Denver had a great chemistry in the movie and although it is a comedy, the story is compelling and moving. Burns also reminds me of my great uncle Charlie…the glasses, the fishing hat… the tone of his voice…the persona. Charlie has been dead for just over fourteen years now, but he was one of the most important men in my life as I grew up. I cannot think of him without thinking of this movie and vice versa.
Why am I posting this you may ask?
I owned copies of this movie, first on VHS and then on DVD. Several years ago, I loaned my DVD to a friend and it was never returned. I often thought about getting a new copy, but kept putting it off. Then a few weeks ago, my daughters were asking what I wanted for my birthday and without hesitating, I mentioned replacement DVD of “Oh, God”. It had to be ordered and being the frugal kids I’ve taught them to be, (most of the time) free ground shipping would do, even if it meant delivery would be almost a week after my birthday.
When I got home from a very frustrating and tough day at the office this evening, the movie was on the kitchen table waiting for me.
I watched it while I prepared dinner, as my wife was getting home after me and I unwound and became lost in the comedy and seriousness of this movie. Tears and laughing at the same time. Filled with one liners and snappy responses, the hour and a half flew by.
The climatic courtroom scene…watch to the end.
Sometimes, God just knows what you need and when you need it.