Best Movie Ever...

Bonnie and Natalie (who will always be Dawg to me) decided that we needed to have a Mom/Daughter date today, and that we needed to watch The Greatest Movie Ever, which is, of course, Gone With the Wind.  So Bonnie, Dawg, Belinda ("Dawg Mom") and I gathered in the Jacoby's family room with a supply of pop and snacks, and watched the Blu-Ray version on their super-cool new 55-inch TV.  The Blu-Ray made it almost TOO realistic.  Wow!  At one point I said that it was so real, it was like there were slaves picking cotton in the Jacoby's garage (which is right behind the TV).  In some ways, I wish there were, because then we would have had someone to send to Sonic.  Inappropriate, Susie.  Sheesh.

The first time I saw GWTW, Lori Graham (from elementary school... wonder whatever happened to her!) invited me to see it.  I was in fifth grade.  For some reason, they were screening it in a school cafeteria, and we paid a dollar to get in.  Best dollar ever spent.  I loved everything about it.  During the Intermission (yes, there was an actual intermission!), Lori filled me in on some of the other details, and soon my Mom loaned me her copy of the book.  That was when the real fascination began.

Wow.  Not only the Best Movie Ever, but also the Best Book Ever.  Gone With the Wind is what caused me to love Civil War history, and to love that period in general.  For several years in a row, I read GWTW every summer.  Sitting on the front porch in a lawn chair with my feet up on the post and a glass of RC Cola next to me, holding that thick blue book in my lap, absorbing the persona of Scarlett O'Hara of Tara... thoughts of it can carry me back, to the point that I can feel the sun on my legs, hear my Mom rustling around in the kitchen behind me, and smell the tang of the cut grass and the slightly musty odor of the book that was already old when it was given to me.  My bookmark was a florist's business card, which my Mom had left in the book from when she read it in her own teen years.  Ahhh, memories.

My love of all things GWTW was pretty legendary.  My brother bought me the Scarlett O'Hara Madame Alexander doll... so, so pretty in her white dress from the first scene of the movie.  She was displayed in my room, along with other GWTW memorobilia (including a dollar bill with Clark Gable's face where George Washington's face should be) in a corner cabinet that now lives at my Kacy's house.  In an age where every girl had posters of rock stars and teen heart-throbs on their bedroom walls, my only two posters were a huge GWTW movie poster on the wall, and a full-sized, six foot tall poster of Rhett Butler gracing the back side of my door.

I don't like to say that my baby Bonnie was named after the Bonnie in GWTW, because, well... Bonnie Blue Butler didn't exactly live a long and full life. But that, and a grade school friend named Bonnie, are what made me start loving the name. 

Rhett.  Yes.
Ashley.  No.
We weren't too far into the movie today when (my) Bonnie said, "I can't quite decide if I'm Team Rhett or Team Ashley."  I suggested that she wait a little longer into the movie to decide.  If she had chosen Team Ashley, I might have disowned her.  Thank goodness, by Intermission, we had all completely agreed that we are making Team Rhett t-shirts, and will wear them proudly.

About ten years ago, when I was still with CNN Online, we had a conference in Atlanta.  My parents drove there, and after I had finished my conference, we embarked on what Mom and I called our "Gone With the Wind Tour" of the South.  We saw antebellum mansions, former plantations, took tours of Savannah, Charleston, and other points.  But the coolest thing (besides just an awesome, memory-making trip with my beloved parents) was what happened on our very first day.  We went to Stone Mountain, Georgia, and toured their plantation exhibit.  Meanwhile, there was a Civil War reenactment going on there.  But then, like some sort of a miracle, we went into this building, and they just happened to be hosting a traveling Gone With the Wind exhibit!  What?!?  We had no idea it would be there, and we'd been calling this our GWTW Tour the whole time we'd been planning the trip.  It was just so cool.  They had props and costumes from the movie, and tons of other cool stuff to see.  I will always treasure that day, indeed the entire trip, with my Dad (who was in charge of driving and paying) and my precious Mama, who was the one who first gave me my GWTW book.

My love of this movie and book is all wrapped up with my love of my mother, and her love of the movie and book, which, incidentally, was written the year she was born.  I'm just so glad that my girls also love the movie along with me.  It feels right.  Now if I can just get them to read the book!


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