A 75th Anniversary and giving Thanks

Last night, I caught one of the many showings of Gone With the Wind on AMC. They were having an all-day marathon of the movie in celebration of the 75th anniversary of the publication of Margaret Mitchell’s book.

75 years. I have to admit, I have only just started reading the book, but I’ve seen the movie countless times. Just the bit I’ve read, I know there is a TON of stuff that was left out of the movie. But I still love the movie. I even went to see it in the theater on the 60th anniversary. Having only seen it on a  19 inch screen to that point I was amazed and awestruck at what David O. Selznick accomplished back in 1939. I guess I have a love for it also because my mother named me after Mrs. Melanie Hamilton Wilkes.

For a moment, I want to focus on dear Katie Scarlett. The women reviled by those in “genteel” society. A woman who once faced with adversity is not afraid to get her hands dirty and fight for not only her family but what she wants out of life. For some reason, I was especially thoughtful after last night’s viewing. Could be because it was the night before Thanksgiving and home by myself. There are lessons to be learned from Miss Scarlett.

1) Be grateful for what you have instead of pining for what you don’t.  For Scarlett, these things would be money to keep her beloved Tara and to show up the rest of society and the perpetual infatuation with Ashley Wilkes. Instead of loving Rhett or Charles Hamilton or even Sueann’s Mr. Kennedy, she constantly pines for the school girl crush and misses out on her chance to have true love.

2) No matter how down and out you are, you must be able to make decisions that enable you to live with yourself. Scarlett doesn’t realize this until the very end. And truthfully, I don’t think she fully realizes just how hurtful and destructive her actions have been. In the movie she still says, “I need to get him back” not I need to apologize or Oh, how I’ve hurt this caring man. It’s still all about her.

3) My favorite line – “I’ll think about it tomorrow.” Ah, procrastination. But, in the sense of Scarlett’s world, it is a good philosophy. How many of us dwell on what’s happened and let it hinder our tomorrows? In a sense, she recognizes what’s she’s done but refuses to let her guilt or greed or shame or even hunger stop her from her ultimate goals. She doesn’t let these instances in life keep her down.

So I guess in a way, Scarlett got me thinking about being thankful. There have been tragedies in my life, as there have been in others. Most people don’t know how many unless I tell them. But I try not to let them bring me down. On the backside of 30, I still try to have a child-like enthusiasm when it comes to certain things. I still dream big knowing I’ll fail big . That’s the beauty of it though.  When I’m stuck in a wheelchair or a bed or hopefully in a rocking chair, I can look back and say “At least I tried. And I’m thankful I had the opportunity.”

If you have the opportunity to say you love someone, do it. If it’s giving a stranger a few extra coins at the checkout when they’re short, do it. Be thankful for what you have because if you pine for what you don’t, you’ll never appreciate any of it. Give your friends a hug, kiss your loved ones and just be thankful.

I want to say thanks to those of you who have found me online and encouraged my writing journey this past year. I’ve been truly amazed at how many wonderful people out there who are willing to support a stranger who happens to have similar goals as themselves. My fellow writers, keep at it and if you ever need a cheerleader, you can find one here.

Melanie.

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3 thoughts on “A 75th Anniversary and giving Thanks

  1. Oh, and I meant to comment on Scarlet. I love that book, and I frequently have to tell people not to judge her so harshly because she comes across much softer in the book. Her fascination with Ashley was as much a grasping at the life they knew before the war. She didn’t really love him, and it wasn’t until Mellie died that she realized it. It was almost as though if she could be with Ashley all the horrible things would be gone and that spoiled, pampered life without responsibility would be back. She’s only 16 at the beginning of the book. By the time she’s 19 she’s a widow and her world has collapsed around her. All she can think about is getting back to Tara and her mother (whom she worshiped). If she could get back home, people would take care of her. She really wasn’t prepared to be in charge. When she gets home, her beloved mother is dead and her strong father is an emotional cripple. Even the servants who used to boss her around when she was younger are suddenly looking to her to know what to do. So she does what she can, about the only thing permitted to a woman in those days in that culture. She’s only 28 at the end of the book.

    I think it’s interesting that when Vivian Leigh was asked if she thought Scarlet gets Rhett back, she said no. But when Clark Gable was asked if he thought she got him back, he said yes. I’m going with the guy. Besides, in the book Scarlett has two other children–one by each of her husbands. Little Wade is 11 at the end, and Rhett really liked the boy. I think Scarlett is smart enough to figure out ways to get Rhett to come back. They have a lot in common, and at the end of her book Scarlett had suddenly been freed of her chains that bound her to her life before. She has the chance to grow. And I think the book Scarlet has it in her to do it.

    You can’t tell I’ve read this book several times, can you? 😉

  2. What a lovely post, Melanie. This especially struck me:

    I still dream big knowing I’ll fail big . That’s the beauty of it though. When I’m stuck in a wheelchair or a bed or hopefully in a rocking chair, I can look back and say “At least I tried. And I’m thankful I had the opportunity.”

    I love your sentiments about reaching out. I tend to go through life with blinders on, and I think I miss too many opportunities. I’m married to probably the kindest most givingest of men, so I’m epic fail in comparison. But he’s helped me to look beyond, too.

    I’m grateful for you and the kindness you’ve shown me with my writing. I so want to put your comment on my book jacket. =D

    Have a wonderful holiday.

    1. Thanks Donna! That was sweet. I have a great man also who tends to ground some of the crazier ideas because he cares. But he also supports me.

      I would be honored to give a quote for your book jacket. I enjoy your writing and you’ve been so helpful with mine. 😀

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