roots and wings

I like the movie Sweet Home Alabama, because it treats Southern culture both with respect and humor. It also deals with the struggle to come to terms with the past, with all its mess and chaos. And I like that the character of Mel, is practically unlikeable in the way she treats the men in her life and her old friends. I think that in moving on, putting a tragedy or trauma or humiliation or some other thing we want to forget behind us we often forget about the people we leave behind. When we have to face them we become embarassed and ashamed of how we've treated them that we do just about anything to make ourselves feel better about it, including attempting to shame and embarass others. The scene in the bar exhibits this really well. While my trip to Alabama did not include any such run ins, I have been thinking a lot about what "home" means and how to reconcile with where I'm from with where I've been and where I want to go. Whenever I visit Alabama I always feel torn. I love the South; I miss the South. When I am there, things make sense in the way things don't make sense. But because I've been away, because I have changed, it isn't exactly home. I've made a place for myself in Illinois, a place I like, one where I'm comfortable and happy. I suppose that's why the scenes where Melanie explains how she loves the life she has but the South "fits too" resonate with me. And the line Jake delivers when he tells her, "You can have roots and wings" makes so much sense.

Here are some things I (re)learned in Alabama:

For some things, no explanation is necessary; none would make sense anyway.
Tea CAN, in fact, be too sweet.
No one is a stranger for very long. I miss feeling that kind of freedom of expression.
No time is a good time to work outside in June.
There's no such thing as lunch, only dinner and supper.
You can't enter or leave town without everyone knowing.
Meals are long, because you have to "visit."
You can get anything fried.
Always try the hushpuppies, even if you think you can't eat another bite.
The sound of crickets and frogs at night can be soothing.
Never try to tell a story if you don't have time to listen to the ones that will follow from everyone else.
The past is always a step away.
Almost any act is forgiveable. Almost.