23 May 2011

Word Count Blogathon Day 23: Love of the Land

Land is the only thing in the world that amounts to anything,
for 'tis the only thing in this world that lasts.
Tis the only thing worth working for, worth fighting for -- worth dying for.
~ Gerald O’Hara, Gone with the Wind

The only thing in this world that lasts.”  I never knew how much in common I had with Scarlett O’Hara until this past Saturday. 

I gathered together about ten of my closest girlfriends and invited them down to my childhood home for an afternoon tea celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the publication of “Gone with the Wind.”  Any excuse to dress up, eat and spend time with friends!

The menu consisted of fried chicken, ham biscuits, green beans [with pork fat of course!], mashed potatoes and gravy, chocolate-pecan pie, southern tea cakes and a Kentucky Jam Cake, a quartet of wine-based sorbets, and plenty of Southern sweet tea, fresh made lemonade and mint juleps.

After our repast, we retired to the living room where I had set up a projector and a white bed sheet ~ we Southerners make do ~ and watched Scarlett and her entourage live through a heart-wrenching and momentous era in our nation’s history.  Even if you weren’t blessed to be born in the land of soft, Southern drawls and the smell of fried chicken and fresh biscuits, you can still appreciate the writing brilliance of Margaret Mitchell and the amazing vision of David Selznik.

Getting in Touch with My Inner Scarlett
When I first watched the movie, I was very young.  I admired the all the beautiful dresses and the broad expanse of land of Tara and the mannered yet manly gentlemen and wept over the burning of Atlanta.  Other than that, I didn’t understand much of it.  As the older, wiser me watched the movie, I still oohed and ahhed with my girlfriends over Scarlett’s famous green muslin “Twelve Oaks BBQ” dress, her green velvet “curtain” dress and her daring red “Ashley’s Birthday” outfit.  But a theme that I had missed as a child kept coming up to haunt me.

There is a scene, after the war is over and Scarlett is trying to save Tara from her old overseer.  She goes to Ashley to get his advice.  But poor Ashley is stuck like Lot’s wife, looking back at the life that once was and will never be again and has no practical advice to give.  At one point, Scarlett throws herself into his arms and states that they should run away because there’s nothing to keep either of them there.  But he points out that [besides his wife and son], there is something that Scarlett loves more than even him.  He picks up a handful of dirt and places it in her hand.

And that is when it struck me how like Scarlett I am ~ at least when it comes to an attachment to the land.  It gets in your blood.  No matter how far away you may go, or how many times your heart gets broken, or how many jobs you’ve lost, the pull of the land is always there.  And I realized that Gerald O’Hara was right: land is the only thing that lasts, the only thing worth fighting and dying for.

It is always difficult to leave the peace of the country and come back to the noise and indifferent city.  But this time it I felt like my arm had been amputated.  What this means for the future, I have no idea.  But I do know that our land, though nothing on scale of Tara, will always be an anchor and a priority for me and I’d rather die than let it go.

What about you?  What from your childhood still has a hold on you?  Has it had a negative or positive impact on you?

Oremus pro invicem,
~ Mikaela

P.S. I admit I can be as tenacious as Scarlett, and yes, a little pouty at times. But I can say without reservation, that if a Rhett Butler came into my life, I would hold on to him with both hands! Fiddle-dee-dee!

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