For her birthday yesterday, I took Jos to see the play “Driving Miss Daisy” with James Earl Jones and Vanessa Redgrave. Over the years, we’ve tried to see about one play per year. I’ve never seen the movie but we’ll watch it now over the Christmas holidays with the kids.
Jones plays “Hoke”, an African-American driver for “Miss Daisy”, an elderly Jewish widow (Redgrave). Following their relationship, the play touches on various social issues in America from the late 40’s to the early 70’s. Set in Atlanta, the play reminded me of my childhood growing up in South Carolina, Florida and Alabama. The “Piggly Wiggly“, ice tea and that Southern drawl brought back memories from days gone by.
Two lines in the play stuck in my mind as we rode home on the tube. In one scene, Miss Daisy refuses to let Hoke stop the car on a long road trip so he can urinate because he wasn’t allowed to use the restrooms at the petrol station. In the ensuing argument, Hoke yells at Miss Daisy, “I am a man!” His dignity challenged, Hoke lets her know the truth. Then towards the end of the play, Miss Daisy, the rich yet lonely woman, tells Hoke, “You’re my best friend.”
The dignity of all people and our need for relationships – two key truths that “Driving Miss Daisy” affirmed. Two key truths that the Bible affirms when it states that we all are made in the image of God (Gen 1). In my mind, art is well done when it reflects truth about the world while engaging the emotions. “Driving Miss Daisy” is good art; reflecting truth and touching the heart.