Thank You, Mrs. Ainslie

From Mary Dell:

Airplane trips offer few comforts – no food, uncomfortable seats, dreary in-flight entertainment. Last week, however, on a flight with my family, American Airlines provided a movie that I watched with interest.  One of the main characters was a disagreeable woman who nagged her husband, complained about everything, and feared leaving the hotel to which they had traveled.

Thank you, Mrs.  Jean Ainslie, of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, for being the type of woman I never want to be.

Perhaps you have already seen the movie? Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson, and Maggie Smith headline the outstanding cast of vintage English actors. Mrs. Ainslie is played by Penelope Wilton, familiar to fans of Downton Abbey as Isobel Crawley, the somewhat pushy but kindly mother of heir-in-the-making, Matthew. While she is a sympathetic character in that miniseries, in this film she is a royal pain in the arse.

My reason for thanking her now?  We are on a family vacation and my husband is a terrible sitter.  I am an excellent sitter and that creates a tiny conflict as he picks adventure and I am content with a stack of magazines and books.  However, in watching the less than rosy outcome for Mr. and Mrs. Ainslie at the Marigold Hotel, I have been inspired me to get off my own arse and join in the family adventures.

Yesterday the three of us headed to the beach.  The relaxing chairs on the sand called to me, but I resisted as the explicit goal was to try paddle boarding. Perhaps you have seen pictures of bikini clad women standing upright regally gliding through water with a paddle gently dipping into the surf.  This was not me. But, with Mrs. Ainslie’s shrewish barks in my ear, I pushed myself to try it and, to my great surprise, I stayed upright and actually did passably well for a non-athletic person with mediocre balance.

The moral of the movie’s story for me was this – don’t self declare that you are past peak, unable to learn, explore and evolve.  Your spouse, partner or friends want your companionship. Your children most definitely prefer to see you active and Lord only knows that any future grandchildren will simply want you to get on the floor and play.

Mrs. Ainslie is my guide.

About Grown and Flown

Parenting from the Empty Nest
This entry was posted in Empty Nest, family, Middle Age, travel and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Thank You, Mrs. Ainslie

  1. Best movie I’ve seen in years. It’s so funny you mention “Jean” … ugh, I know a real life “Jean” who sadly would not recognize herself in that character.

  2. momshieb says:

    Alas, I fear that I may have a bit of “Jean” in me…thanks for the nudge!

    • It’s a challenge for all of us who love to read and write to prefer those things over more active pursuits. She was such a nag – something I cannot imagine you ever being!

  3. Loved that movie and hated Mrs Ainslie. The only good thing she did was dump her husband in the middle of that Bombay traffic jam. He was too noble to end that sorry marriage himself. I want to be Judi Densch on the motorcycle with him!

  4. Isn’t it wonderful when we see a character that makes us realize life has a lot to offer, and not to complain about it — I too love to sit and read and blog – but I will, with you, get off my duff more often and join in the fun.

  5. Teresa Cleveland Wendel says:

    A paddleboard? That’s so amazing (and inspiring) that you’d try something like that. This is my favorite of your essays yet!

  6. Grace says:

    I recently re-watched Best Exotic and Mrs Ainslie stood out more for me too the second viewing. You are so right – it is easy to sit and read but so much more satisfying to try something new, even if the outcome is likely to be embarrassing!

  7. Regine says:

    Nice essay MD.And true. Looking forward to seeing the movie.


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