Pinky Pie

The Constitution, my aunt, Gone With the Wind & Me

Posted on: July 14, 2010

Frankly, my dear, I do give a damn.

If my 85-year-old aunt happens to see this blog, which she might through her granddaughter, I want her to know that I love her. I think she knows I don’t love her politics, and I know she doesn’t love mine. But I do love her.

As a little girl, my aunt was so clever and funny that it was wonderful when the family got together. She could tell a story like no one else I had met at that point. She still can.

What I remember most fondly was her taking me to see Gone With the Wind. She loved that movie so much that she saw it over and over again. She had probably seen it a couple dozen times before she took me to see it at the fabulous Fox Theater in St. Louis. When that ornate, palatial theater opened in 1929, it was described this way:

“No longer need residents of St. Louis look beyond their own city for the finest entertainment.” This statement was coined by the William Fox Circuit of Theatres in 1929 for the opening of their newest, most exotic temple of amusement, and it still holds true! (

My aunt loved to tell what happened when she took one of her sons to see it for the first time. Just as Rhett was hauling Scarlet up the stairs to have his way with her, he said very loudly in the theater, “What’s he going to do, Mommy?” She finished the story with, “I thought I’d die.”

I loved the movie and especially her taking me to it in downtown St. Louis. It was almost like I had been initiated into her GWTW club. With my son and his girl friend moving to Atlanta in August to go to grad school, I bought a copy of GWTW for them along with a couple books related to the film.

I think my aunt and I are alike in many ways, including the comment she made that when she goes, she wants people to tell funny stories about her. I’ve said that many times and long before I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I assume such an event is a long way away. It will also be a very long event because there are so many stories of goofy me.

And my aunt and I are alike in still another way – liking to boldly insert political comments into the conversation that we know will get the other person going. And so she brought up our president on Saturday when I visited her in St. Louis, saying she believes him to be born in Kenya, a Moslem and someone who is destroying our country.

I suggested we talk about something else several times, but she kept bringing the conversation back.

“I believe in the Constitution,” she said.

And later, she added, “I don’t have a liberal bone in my body.”

I do to both. I absolutely believe in the Constitution and every bone in my body is liberal.

So how do you talk about this stuff? We are polarized politically, just like the country is.

I think one of the challenges generally in our country is that we confuse facts and opinions. Most of us consider what we say to be fact while what the other person says is an opinion. We see brilliance in those who agree with us.

I once read a comment following a column on the La Crosse Tribune opinion page, wondering if it was against the law for a journalist to write something with bias, meaning an opinion, on the opinion page.

By definition, an opinion is a personal view, a conclusion, a belief, a judgment, an attitude. And everyone has the right to his or her own opinion.

So even if we don’t agree, I’m hoping my aunt and I can still visit again and laugh together.  We go back a very long way.

But next time I’m bringing a copy of Gone With the Wind with me. I’m pretty sure we’d be on the same side in that movie.


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