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They're certainly entitled to think that, and they're entitled to full respect for their opinions... but before I can live with other folks I've got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience.
~Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, Chapter 11, spoken by the character Atticus
A steep, treacherous cliff shoots down on the right side of the car. Inhaling I grip the seatbelt and lean towards the middle of the seat. I do not want to see the depth of the sheer dropoff if the car were to swerve ever so slightly, I do not want to think of the danger below. The curves wind as we journey towards Monroeville, as we head to shop at the Vanity Fair factory store and spend the day at the Pecan Festival. My tiny fingers grip the book in my lap, my eyes closed tight until we reach an area of flat road. I release the breath I did not realize I was holding and turn the page.
I continue reading, my nine year old brain accepting the words but bookmarking phrases to ask my mother. She drives carefully as the 45 minute drive to Monroeville comes to a close. I am excited to wander the vendors at the festival. I have new wicker furniture in my room and I want a few things to match the unicorn blanket on my daybed. The words "footwashing" Baptists brings me pause. This is a phrase I cannot just bookmark. My mind sees what a child would consider the definition to be and in my gut I know I am mistaken. That this will be a question for discussion at lunch. We plan to go to Radley's Deli - I LOVE their grilled cheese and root beer. The idea of a day with just me and my mother makes me grin.
The minutes fly by and we are soon at our destination. The festival wraps around the courthouse. The streets smell of kettle corn, hot dogs and cotton candy. Vendors talented with woodwork, paint brushes, quilting surround the brick building. Across the street at the light murals depicting scenes of Scout & Boo peeking around a tree and the subject of the book now laying on the seat of the car watch over the residents and visitors. The temperature is cool, an Alabama fall is magical and here where characters live and breath there is no comparison...
We window shop, we purchase, we laugh, we argue over the worth of a small pillow in the shape of a unicorn and whether or not I will finish the red candied apple that has stained my lips. Lunch comes quickly and with it the reminder of the phrase in the book. I ask my mother and she sighs. I read things well beyond my years she says and it becomes harder and harder for her to explain things to me. I tell her that I am a big girl, that I want to read everything! She laughs and begins to tell me not just what the phrase means but of the author, of the book and how there are pages yet to come when I may ask more questions.
She touches my hand and asks me a very important question: "Courtney, are you any more important than the waitress?" Standing near the cashier is a young woman. She appears to be much older (meaning in her late teens). At first I think how I am a princess (seriously I took this title pretty highly as a kid - not like I do now *wink*) but then I shake my head. She asks me what I see when I look at the young woman. I describe her clothes, her hair, even her smile, my mother grins when I remember the chocolate of her eyes, and how she's very nice because she gave me extra cherries for my root beer. I never once mentioned the dark brown of her skin.
My mother nods and does not speak at first. Then she tells me she loves me, that she is proud of me and that yes I am big now and that I will enjoy the book even more after I finish it. I blush forgetting the quiz only enjoying the praise. I do not realize yet what she is getting at and to be honest it is years later when the memory slams me in the gut.
She was in many ways testing me. Trying to see if I had somewhere in my few years learned of a horrible judgment, whether or not the story would be something I would cherish and love or something that I would find fault with its ending. She knew then how Atticus, Jem, Boo, & Scout lived amongst the pages, she knew of the themes threaded amidst the setting; how they could be construed - how some might think Atticus wrong or that things should have turned out differently for the characters. She was merely trying to settle her own mind about the way her daughter was being raised, about whether or not the lessons on loving people had seeped into my young heart and if I had let them take root.
For those of us in South Alabama, the story is as famous as any. Nelle Harper Lee wove a tale that speaks of the way things happened and how many people should have handled situations, how parents should talk with their children, listen to their children, have faith in their children and how the color of your skin does not tell the color of your heart. 50 years ago she wrote a story that still stands the test of time, that still resonates in any town, in any state, in any country. For me it is a story of great love, of courage, of conviction and of understanding. I often looked for Atticus in my own father & was ever more pleased to find even more traces of that wonderful character in the living breathing version who kissed me goodnight.
I love this book and have read it many times, each time discovering some snippet that I must tuck away, some dialogue that I must etch into memory. Nelle gave us a gift and every year the tiny town that neighbors my own celebrates it, even if she feels all the hub bub is a bit silly, I hope that Nelle realizes how much she molded my life and so many others...
So when I journey down there for the celebratory festival this year ( July 8 - 11, 2010 ) I will walk the square. remember the story, the day I made my mother smile and the lessons I have learned even since...
I think there's just one kind of folks. Folks.
~Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, Chapter 23, spoken by the character Scout
So folks in honor of this marvelous novel I would like to give away a prize package...
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One copy of To Kill A Mockingbird (50th Anniversary edition)
by Nelle Harper Lee
The DVD version of To Kill a Mockingbird starring Gregory Peck
Sur-prize from the Monroeville County Heritage Museum
Open to US & Canada only...sorry Internationals ;o)
CONTEST ENDS JULY 28 at 11;59 CST
I will announce the winner on August 1st
(Harper Lee's birthday is April 28, so why not choose that numeric ;o)
Adopting is awesome. It's a beautiful journey that is filled with every emotion possible. We are just beginning this trip, this adventure towards expanding our family. This journey is also VERY expensive. The cost of adopting is from $25,000 to $40,000.00 just to bring our sweet child home. For us, no monetary amount is unreachable with faith, work and the loving support of the 'village' around us. We will be fundraising like crazy over the next months. There will be fun giveaways, donuts, exciting events and the ongoing production of my Art for Adoption personal projects. The Etsy store I have created (a work in progress itself) is linked above. We also have added the Donation link above - there will be some pretty cool events linked to it coming up. We also will be adding links to some other sites that aid in fundraising for adopting families. As those appear so will more information. For now, we thank you for visiting our Kingdom and for supporting our journey. Your prayers & thoughts are blessings we never expected, are grateful for and excited to share with the child we will bring home to us all.
I am a writer looking to see my name in a bookstore one day! I am cheerful to a fault. People actually think that I am on some sort of medication that makes me perky most of the time, Building my bridges, not ripping them down.
I treasure my friends, they are my family. To me my closest friends are always referred to as Darl'n, Gorgeous, Cutie, or Beautiful. I love to read just about anything and pride myself on a well versed vocabulary. I love shopping & am an impulse shopper: purse,shoes & jewelry. I love my family and strive to forge close relationships with them as often as possible. I have a weakness for animals.
Alabama Football is a religion in my house, that on Saturdays, I faithfully attend every fall.
I love to cook, working during the week limits the experiments but on the weekends watch out!Southern heritage in all forms tends to make me very nostalgic. I have an emotional connection to my surroundings that is astounding to myself sometimes.
Im a Disney fanatic!!! Lived there, love it there, want a house there!! We got married there :) O