Mariann Main: ‘Joy’ and loss in the same week


“Joy” is a word aligned with the Christmas celebratory splendor of last month, but often overlooked in normal life. I aspire for more of my clients to be “joyful” versus the technology-tethered, under-motivated, emotionless adolescents who often visit the agency’s offices.

However, “Joy” has recently received a verbiage make-over with the Christmas Day release of a movie titled by that one word, but promoting a much different emphasis.

Joy Mangano’s life is the focus of this film. For most readers, she has minimal name recognition unless someone knows of her inventive spirit, multitude of patents, and rise from poverty and family dysfunction to QVC star. Mangano’s first invention of shopping-channel notoriety was the “Miracle Mop.”

Jennifer Lawrence portrays Mangano in her early years as a single mother, fired Eastern Airlines employee, and the motherlode of all co-dependents. Lawrence adeptly fills the evolving role as Mangano matures into a titan business woman and multi-millionaire.

The movie opens with Mangano’s multi-divorced father, played by Robert DeNiro, being delivered to Mangano’s shabby front door by another soon-to-be-ex-wife. Her father is quickly is added to the household mix that already shelters Mangano’s mentally skewed yet humorous mother, her stalwart grandmother, her basement-dwelling lounge-singer ex-husband, and their two young children.

The movie is an unlikely premise of upending life events and overcoming adversity. The stellar cast also includes Diane Ladd, Virginia Madsen, Isabella Rossellini, Bradley Cooper and Edgar Ramirez, who plays Mangano’s charming, but minimally ambitious ex-spouse, all thrown together into a humorous mix of dysfunction.

Many women stuck in such a catastrophic family unit would have collapsed under the weight of responsibility and unpaid bills. Yet somehow Mangano perseveres and “births” her first patented invention through a firestorm of challenges and unforeseen financial, legal and personal disasters.

Surprisingly with Cooper installed as the QVC “magician” studio manager, the movie offers no romance between Lawrence and the heart-throb star. Also, it has no inappropriate scenes and minimal foul language. Mangano is portrayed as a “woman on a mission,” and Lawrence keenly locks into the role.

The movie is both the “semi-biographical” story of Joy Mangano, but also brings “joy” to the audience that childhood dreams can come true. It is a “feel good” movie that gives hope when despair is the dominator.

Sadly, there is a void of any “joy” in the nearby Knox County hamlet of Danville, with the Jan. 18 death of Officer Thomas Cattrell. This was the first 2016 death of an Ohio police officer. Comprised of just six police staff members in the town of 1,020, Cattrell’s accused killer has a lengthy criminal record and was an April 2015 parolee.

Another “police” death was mourned just a day earlier in Canton, Ohio, with the fatal shooting of Jethro, a K-9 member of that city’s police department. The specially bred Belgian Malinois had been a Canton K-9 member for three years.

The Jan. 15 CBS “On the Road” segment by correspondent Steve Hartman was a poignant reminder of the invaluable service of K-9 police members. The interview with Jethro’s human partner, Officer Ryan Davis, was heartbreaking, especially since Davis had raised Jethro during the dog’s early police training, and remained his 24-hour devoted caretaker.

Jethro’s funeral filled the Canton Memorial Civic Center on Jan. 14. founder Beth Philley was an attendee. Her goal of raising funds for another K-9 Canton police member has surpassed $30,000, far beyond the initial goal of $10,000. “Because of Jethro,” Canton Mayor Thomas Bernabei said during the funeral, “other officers were able to return home safely that night.”

For any reader who lacks familiarity with canine companionship, this last segment of today’s column might seem unworthy. Yet for dog lovers, the personal pain experienced by Davis is inconsolable.

Within the next few months, my beloved Abigail will be promoted to “doggy heaven.” She has been my companion for 17 years, after being rescued from a hotel parking lot by me.

I was a former cat-only owner, and Abigail was my first dog. She now shares canine status with Dylan, another rescued mutt, but her special notoriety will always be that of “top dog.”

Should you be considering a four-legged friend, cats require less maintenance and are more independent, but nothing can equal a dog’s love for their human owner, as I and Officer Davis both know.

Per Carol Girberd, director of the Humane Society of Delaware County, 25 dogs, 56 adult cats and six kittens currently are awaiting a “forever home” locally. Girberd became the director on Sept. 1, 2014, after serving in other roles with the nonprofit.

Girberd mentioned a newly implemented training program, which pairs six of the shelter’s dogs with Marion Correctional Facility inmates. After the Dec. 9 placement of the first six dogs for 12 weeks of basic behavior training, they will return to the shelter for adoption. Other dogs will substitute for this first class of “graduates” in early April. What better way to save a life, and promote a worthy program benefiting both area inmates and Delaware County canines?

Mariann Main

Local Answers to Life’s Questions

Mariann Main is a Delaware native, lifelong animal lover and a graduate of The Ohio State University school of journalism. She is also a graduate of Georgia State University and is 100 hours away from completing 2,000 clinical hours for full licensure as a counselor. She can be reached via [email protected].

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